Center for Stem Cell & Organoid Medicine (CuSTOM)
Meet the Team

Meet the CuSTOM Team

At CuSTOM we have assembled a highly collaborative multi-disciplinary team of developmental biologists, stem cell experts, geneticists, clinicians, surgeons and entrepreneurs with complementary expertise to accelerate discovery and translation.

Advisory Board

Tracy A. Glauser, MD

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Clinical pharmacology; pharmacogenetics; antiepileptic clinical trials

Raphael Kopan, PhD

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Notch signaling; kidney organogenesis; skin organogenesis; TSLP signaling in cancer

Directors

Research Interests
Intestinal diseases research

Magdalena Kasendra, PhD

CuSTOM Director of Research and Development, Division of General and Thoracic Surgery

Takanori Takebe, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Organoid; organogenesis; stem cell biology; transplantation; drug development Visit the Takebe Research Lab.

James M. Wells, PhD

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Understanding the development of the pancreas, and gastrointestinal organs; generating 3-dimensional human tissues from pluripotent stem cells and...

Aaron M. Zorn, PhD

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Development of lung, liver, pancreas and gastrointestinal tract; vertebrate embryology Learn more about CuSTOM.

Faculty

Research Interests
Pediatric hepatology; genetic and molecular mechanism of liver development and pathophysiology
Research Interests
Craniofacial development
Research Interests
Developmental neurobiology; transcriptional control of neural cell subtype specification; neuronal circuit formation

Cristina Cebrian, PhD

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Mingxia Gu, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Development of heart, lung, and vasculature; human induced pluripotent stem cells; organoid; high-throughput drug screening; human genetics Visit the...

Ziyuan Guo, PhD

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Intestinal diseases research

Yueh-Chiang Hu, PhD

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
CRISPR; transgenic mice; gene editing; reproduction; germ cells

Makiko Iwafuchi, PhD

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Chromatin regulation; pioneer transcription factors; cell programming and reprogramming
Research Interests
Signaling in erythrocytes; erythropoiesis; sickle cell disease; reactive oxygen species

Magdalena Kasendra, PhD

CuSTOM Director of Research and Development, Division of General and Thoracic Surgery

J. Matthew Kofron, PhD

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Early vertebrate patterning; germ layer formation

Raphael Kopan, PhD

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Notch signaling; kidney organogenesis; skin organogenesis; TSLP signaling in cancer
Research Interests
To uncover gene and genome regulatory mechanisms that are relevant to developmental and disease processes.

Carolyn M. Lutzko, PhD

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Regulating human pluripotent stem cell; somatic cell reprogramming in iPSC; human embryonic stem cell physiology and differentiation; hESC; cystic...
Research Interests
Intestinal stem cells; pluripotent stem cells; neurogastroenterology; enteric nervous system; epithelial biology
Research Interests
Pluripotent stem cell biology; disease modeling with human iPSCs; hPSC-derived organoids

Kyle McCracken, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Kidney development; stem cell differentiation and organoids; tissue engineering and morphogenesis; kidney pathophysiology

Jonathan Merola, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Surgery
Research Interests
Hepatocyte Transplantation; immunosuppression monitoring; genetic modification of human allografts; CRISPR / Cas9

Yifei Miao, MBBS, PhD

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Organoids; human pluripotent stem cell; congenital cardiac and pulmonary defect; single ventricle defects; epigenetic regulation
Research Interests
Lung development and regeneration; fibroblast function in development, regeneration and fibrosis

Mattia Quattrocelli, PhD

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Muscle and heart physiology; pharmacology; epigenetics; metabolism

Nathan Salomonis, PhD

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Bioinformatics; genomics; cancer genomics; single-cell RNA-Seq analysis; alternative splicing; pathway analysis; pathway visualization; pathway...

Takanori Takebe, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Organoid; organogenesis; stem cell biology; transplantation; drug development Visit the Takebe Research Lab.

Jason Tchieu, PhD

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Autism spectrum disorders; neurodevelopmental disorders; human pluripotent stem cells; directed differentiation; astrocytes; oligodendrocytes;...

Kelli L. VanDussen, PhD

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Intestinal epithelium; inflammatory bowel disease; primary cell culture; basic research; translational research

K. Nicole Weaver , MD

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Craniofacial malformations

James M. Wells, PhD

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Understanding the development of the pancreas, and gastrointestinal organs; generating 3-dimensional human tissues from pluripotent stem cells and...

Jeffrey A. Whitsett, MD

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Lung development

William J. Zacharias, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Aaron M. Zorn, PhD

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Research Interests
Development of lung, liver, pancreas and gastrointestinal tract; vertebrate embryology Learn more about CuSTOM.

University of Cincinnati Researchers

Riccardo Barrile, PhD

University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science, Department of Biomedical Engineering

The Barrile Lab focus is on combining patient-derived stem cells and reverse engineering approaches to establish an highly translational platform designed to capture the complex and dynamic nature of brain-ischemic stroke and metastatic lung-cancer. The lab aims to explore the cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern organ-functions during the homeostasis and disease state, and how these processes can be therapeutically targeted in order to create personalized therapies.

Leyla Esfandiari, PhD

University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science, Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering

The Esfandiari Lab uses integrated bioengineering and stem cell technologies to design and fabricate nano-scale biosensors and actuators to monitor the biophysical and biochemical microenvironment of living organoids. These tools accelerate the next generation of organoid based-therapeutic screens and enable personalize medicine.

Christian Hong, PhD

Department of Pharmacology and System Physiology, University of Cincinnati

The Hong Lab investigates molecular mechanisms of circadian rhythms and their functions in other cellular processes such as cell cycle and metabolism. Currently, we focus on identifying molecular components that connect the circadian clock and cell cycle, and the consequences of this coupling in intestinal stem cell regeneration and proliferation using mouse and human organoids.

Dorothy M. Supp, PhD

Adjunct Research Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

The Supp Lab focuses on wound healing and tissue engineering. We are studying the molecular mechanisms of keloid and hypertrophic scar formation so that improved approaches for suppressing scar and promoting regenerative healing can be developed. Additionally, we are developing tissue-engineered substitutes for skin, oral mucosa, and esophagus for treatment of traumatic wounds, such as burns, and the hereditary disease Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa. These engineered tissues may be used for ex vivo gene therapy following genome editing of patient-derived epithelial stem cells, mesenchymal cells, and/or iPS cells.