MEDx investigator, Samira Musah, speaks at UCI Samueli School of Engineering

By Lila Taylor

Samira Musah, PhD, spoke at a biomedical engineering seminar on Fri., Dec. 3, for UCI Samueli School of Engineering in which she detailed her work reconstituting human glomerular function by using a microfluidic organ-on-a-chip device. 

This device, with iPS-podocytes on one side and glomerular endothelium on the other, are separated by a membrane and show that molecules can be filtered across the engineered glomerular filtration membrane. Inulin was found to be selectively removed and albumin was retained, similar to the functioning in vivo kidney. This model could potentially model drug toxicities known to occur in the kidneys. 

Dr. Musah’s motivation comes from the prevalence of kidney disease; more than 10% of the world’s population and 14% of the United States population is affected by kidney disease. 

Her core research areas are directed differentiation of human iPS cells into kidney cells, mechanisms of human kidney development and disease, patient derived in vitro kidney models, and regenerative pathways for kidney development. 

Her lab additionally is exploring the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on the kidneys. Other researchers in the lab are currently uncovering SARS-CoV-2 kidney tropism and using stem cell derived kidney models to investigate the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on human kidney cells. 

Musah is currently an assistant professor at Duke University with joint faculty appointments in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Medicine (Division of Nephrology) and Cell Biology. In addition to being a Duke MEDx (medicine and engineering interface) investigator, she is an affiliated faculty member of the Duke Regeneration Center. She is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the Whitehead Scholarship in Biomedical Research, Baxter’s Young Investigator Award (top tier), MEDx Biomechanics of Injury and Injury Repair Grant, Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Incubation Fund, and Keystone Symposia Fellowship. She was named among the inaugural "100 Inspiring Black Scientists in America" by Cell Press and a Rising Star in Biomedical Engineering at MIT.

Learn more about Musah Lab