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We Welcome New Members!

Abigail, Alexis, Phillip, Wesley, Ziyu

February 2024

  • Our graduate students presented at the Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology “Stem Cell Models for Embryology”:

Kamyar Keshavarz Farajkhah: Building to understand multiorgan function of human yolk sac tissue in vitro

Joshua J. Hislop: Modeling Post-Implantation Human Development to Yolk Sac Blood Emergence

January 2024

  • Welcome to new undergraduate students starting research in our lab: Alexis DiNapoli
    (Bioengineering), Abigail Glezer (Biology/Business), and Phillip Santos (Molecular Biology).

December 2023

  • Our paper “Modeling Post-Implantation Human Development to Yolk Sac Blood Emergence” is
    published in Nature!
    Hislop J, Song Q, Keshavarz F K, Alavi A, Schoenberger R, LeGraw R, Velazquez J, Mokhtari
    T, Taheri MN, Rytel M, Chuva de Sousa Lopes SM, Watkins S, Stolz D, Kiani S, Sozen B, Bar-
    Joseph Z, Ebrahimkhani MR. Modeling post-implantation human development to yolk sac blood
    emergence. Nature. 2023 Dec 13. doi: 10.1038/s41586-023-06914-8. Epub ahead of print.
    PMID: 38092041.

   Press Review:

November 2023

  • Great sessions and valuable meetings at the AASLD The Liver Meeting in Boston.
    Dr. Ebrahimkhani moderated a session ‘Basic Research Workshop: Humanized Models: Tools
    to Advance Liver Disease Research’.

October 2023

  • Dr. Ebrahimkhani participated in the ‘Virtual Human Development Workshop’ in Toronto/Canada with other researchers from Canada and the US.

July 2023

  • New preprint (in review at Nature) resulting from great collaborative work under the lead of
    Joshua Hislop “Modelling Human Post-Implantation Development via Extra-Embryonic Niche
    doi: 10.1101/2023.06.15.545118. PMID: 37398391; PMCID: PMC10312773.

  • New publication in Stem Cell Reports “Platform-agnostic CellNet enables cross-study analysis
    of cell fate engineering protocols.”

  • Dr. Ebrahimkhani traveled to Japan for a couple of exciting meetings:
    Workshop at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Biology, Kyoto University
    “Towards engineering embryonic development”
    Annual Meeting of Japanese Society of Developmental Biologists, Sendai International
    Center (Symposium Engineering Development - Latest advances in reconstituting and analyzing
    embryonic development in vitro)
    Seminar at Osaka University
    Japan Science and Technology Agency International Symposium on Dynamics of Cellular Interactions in Multicellular Systems, Kyoto

June 2023

  • Welcome to the new undergraduate students in our lab for different summer research
    opportunities: Akash (Summer Undergraduate Research Program), Alex (international Health
    Sciences Research Fellow), and Sonia (Summer Undergraduate Research Program


  • Our new preprint was released on using genetically modified induced pluripotent stem cells to
    form embryonic and extraembryonic tissues in the cell clusters.

May 2023

  • Ryan LeGraw won a poster award on Liver Research from the Pittsburgh Liver Institute.

  • Dr. Ebrahimkhani contributed to a preprint “Genetically engineering endothelial niche in human
    kidney organoids enables multilineage maturation, vascularization and de novo cell types.”

February 2023

November 2022

  • Elena joined our lab .She is also spending her time in medical school at University of Pittsburgh!

  • Akash joined us . He is an undergraduate at University of Pittsburgh Bioengineering program.

October 2022

  • Armin joined us after finishing his medical school at Tehran University!

  • Kamyar joined the lab after finishing his master studies in France! He also joined Bioenginering graduate program.

September 2022

  • Yuda joined the lab as visiting student through University of Pittsburgh Tsinghua Scholar Research program.

June 2022

  • We sent off Matt to his next stop at NYU MD-PhD program!  It was such a great pleasure having him in the team! Good luck Matt!

  • We welcome new undergraduate students for different opportunities including Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) in the lab. Welcome David, Jennie, and Ashley!

May 2021

  • Jeremy is now Dr. Velazquez! He successfully presented at his thesis defense meeting! Congratulations Jeremy!

March 2022

January 2022

  • We welcome Amanda Suda from ISB program to the lab!

December 2021

  • Dr. Ebrahimkhani is one of the three Pitt researchers who have been awarded Charles E. Kaufman Foundation grants! Click below to read more: 

August 2021

  • We got awarded a NSF Grant together with the Kiani lab to work on "Directed Differentiation of Human Liver Organoids via Computational Analysis and Engineering of Gene Regulatory Networks", starting in 2022.

  • Congratulations to Mohammad Naser Taheri on his Bioengineering Gerald McGinnis Graduate Fellowship in Innovative Medical Technologies Development!

July 2021

  •  Our paper "Inferring cell-cell interactions from pseudotime ordering of scRNA-Seq data" is on BioRxiv.  

        Click here for the full article

        Dongshunyi Li, Jeremy J. Velazquez, Jun Ding, Joshua Hislop, Mo R. Ebrahimkhani, Ziv Bar-Joseph

        bioRxiv 2021.07.28.454054; doi:


May 2021

  • Dr. Mo Ebrahimkhani published an article in iScience entitled, "Synthetic living machines: A new window on life."
    Ebrahimkhani MR, Levin M. Synthetic living machines: A new window on life. iScience. 2021 May 4;24(5):102505. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.102505. PMID: 34041452; PMCID: PMC8141884. Click here for the full article 

  • Dr. Ebrahimkhani published an editorial in the Journal of Hepatology, entitled, "Build to understand biliary oncogenesis via organoids and FGFR2 fusion proteins." Click here for the full article Boulter L, Ebrahimkhani MR. Build to understand biliary oncogenesis via organoids and FGFR2 fusion proteins. J Hepatol. 2021 May 21:S0168-8278(21)00341-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2021.05.006. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34029636.


  • Ebrahimkhani Lab published a paper in transplant international. The article, "Cholangiocyte Organoids as a Cell Source for Biliary Repair," can be found below. Jeremy Velazquez also contributed to this study. Click here for the full articleVelazquez JJ, Ebrahimkhani MR. Cholangiocyte Organoids as a Cell Source for Biliary Repair. Transpl Int. 2021 May 11. doi: 10.1111/tri.13902. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33977592.

  • Dr. Ebrahimkhani was interviewed on Science Rehashed Podcast. This interview, entitled, "A machine learning-enabled shortcut to engineer human liver organoids," is now airing on SpotifyApple Podcast, and Google Podcast.

April 2021

Congratulations to Rayna Schoenberger for receiving funding in the Swanson School of Engineering Summer Undergraduate Research Internship (SURI) program. Rayna will work on her project “The Implementation of Landing Pad Sites in Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells” to be conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Ebrahimkhani.

January 2021

  • We got awarded a NSF Grant together with the Kiani lab to work on "Directed Differentiation of Human Liver Organoids via Computational Analysis and Engineering of Gene Regulatory Networks", starting in 2022.

  • Congratulations to Mohammad Naser Taheri on his Bioengineering Gerald McGinnis Graduate Fellowship in Innovative Medical Technologies Development!

December 2020

  • Mo contributed to two publications: Human biomimetic liver microphysiology systems in drug development and precision medicine, published in Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol, and Multicellular systems to translate somatic cell genome editors to humans, published in Current Opinion for Biomedical Engineering.

  • "Gene Regulatory Network Analysis and Engineering Directs Development and Vascularization of Multilineage Human Liver Organoids" is published in Cell Systems, showing that stem cells can be programmed, using genetic engineering, to grow into mature liver tissue; one that when transplanted into mice with liver disease can extend the lives of the sick animals.
    Read Mo's note in The Conversation on the background and summary of this research.
    Wisconsin Public Radio interviewed Mo about the overall process of engineering stem cells to organoids and its potentials in organ regeneration.
    UPMC and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's reported the paper. The news found its way to the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Serra too.

September 2020

  • "Synthetic immunomodulation with a CRISPR super-repressor in vivo" is published in Nature Cell Biology. 
    In a collaborative work between the Kiani Lab and the Ebrahimkhani Lab, we introduce an enhanced CRISPR-based transcriptional repressor to reprogram immune homeostasis in vivo. 
    Read Pitt Wire's story for the author's thoughts as well.

August 2020

  • Joshua and Ryan received CATER (the Cellular Approaches to Tissue Engineering and Regeneration) pre-doctoral fellowship awards supported by National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) T32 program, University of Pittsburgh, and McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, for 2 years and 1 year respectively.

May 2020

January 2020

  • All lab members settled at the University of Pittsburgh and started their benchwork.

  • We published our paper on CRISPR-based synthetic TFs in vivo in Cell Systems.

October 2019

  • Our labs moved to Pittsburgh Liver Center and Department of Pathology!

July 2019

  • We got awarded an RO1 for developing a synthetic liver niches! with many exciting applications.

October 2018

July 2018

  •  New paper through our collaboration! for more info see "An enhanced CRISPR repressor for targeted mammalian gene regulation. Nat Methods. 2018 Jul 16".

June 2018

  • Mo presented in Synthetic Biology Engineering Evolution Design SEED meeting 2018 on How to integrate synthetic biology with organoid engineering!  SEED 2018 focused on advances in science, technology, applications, and related investments in the field of synthetic biology.

Spring 2018

  • We got awarded an RO1 together with the Kiani lab at ASU from NIH NIBIB to develop novel technologies for cell engineering, genetic circuit development and applications for in vivo. 
    ​ can't wait to push this exciting collaboration :)

December 2017

  • Our paper with Cahan lab is online now @TrendsinBiotech ! Thanks to everyone involved!  It was fun and look forward to more papers to come!  
    Programming Morphogenesis through Systems and Synthetic Biology

October 2017

  •  Jeremy presented his studies in two meetings :
    BMES 2017 Phoenix!    and   AASLD 2017 in Washington DC! 

September 2017

  • Our paper published in ACS Synth Biol​: Engineered CRISPR Systems for Next Generation Gene Therapies.

    Also We Got the Cover Art ! Congrats to our lab and also Kiani's lab !

July 2017

  • Mo was appointed as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

May 2017

  • Mo gave a talk in Mayo Clinic on " Stem Cell-derived Organoids: New Technologies to Advance Human Liver Biology and Medicine".

  • May issue of Cell Systems 2017: Read in Cell Systems Voices : How we think about "Circuit Design", "Synthetic Biology" and "Encoding Collective Behavior"!  

  • Our paper entitled "A New Positive Feedback Circuit in the Fibrosis-Cancer Axis for Male Livers" was published.

April 2017

  • Suyen presented successfully her thesis. She was a student of Barrett the Honors College at Arizona State University. Her thesis was focused on self-organization of biliary organogenesis. Congratulations Suyen!

March 2017

  • Shay defended successfully for her master thesis on GATA6 and cell fate reprogramming! Congratulations Shay!

February 2017

  • We participated at Mayo Clinic Symposium on Regenerative Medicine and Surgery. 

  • Mo was awarded New Investigator Award from Arizona Biomedical Research Council. The award will help us to study regenerative processes in liver.

January 2017

  • The lab was awarded "Mayo Clinic Accelerated Regenerative Medicine award" from Center for Regenerative Medicine, Mayo Clinic. This is the renewal of our 2016 award.

October 2016

September 2016

  • ASU Academic Calendar begins as Mo begins his class: BME 494: Molecular Medicine

  • Ryan LeGraw joins the Ebrahimkhani lab and PhD program.  Ryan has researched at Northwestern University as well as the Massachusetts General Hospital

August 2016

  •  Farzaneh begins her PhD program in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering after researching at Oklahoma State University

March 2016

  • Mo co-chairs the tissue engineering session at Keystone Symposium for Stem Cells and Regeneration in Digestive Organs

  • Shay has decided to tackle a master thesis on dynamics of stem cells! She has been working at ASU Mars Space Flight Facility

  • Mo gives talks at Keystone Symposiums in tissue fibrosis and stromal cells in immunity as well as Stem cells and regeneration in digestive organs

February 2016

  • Mo discussed the lab research program at ASU Biological Engineering Seminar Series

January 2016

  • The lab was awarded " Mayo Clinic Accelerated Regenerative Medicine award" from Center for Regenerative Medicine, Mayo Clinic. 

  • Our paper published in Nature Communication!

  • Jeremy started his PhD in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering to investigate liver organoids. He joins us from MIT.

  • Sharanya joined the lab as postdoctoral research assistant. Sharanya is coming from University of Houston, center for nuclear receptors and cell signalings where she studied zebrafish liver.

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