Primary Mentor: Harald Ott, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital.
Secondary Mentor: Lauren Black, PhD, Tufts University.
Research Project: Development of a Tissue Engineered Embryonic Heart Tube Morphogenesis Model. Profile: Dr. Joshua Gershlak received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Under the direction of Dr. Glenn Gaudette, his dissertation focused on addressing the key issues limiting the clinical translation of a tissue engineered cardiac patch. To address the need for vascularization, Dr. Gershlak developed the highly innovative approach of using decellularized spinach leaves as pre-vascularized scaffolds for the tissue engineered myocardium. To aid in the electrical integration of a tissue engineered patch, he developed a conductive biofiber that showed ability to bridge the inherent cardiac electrical signal in vivo. Dr. Gershlak continues his postdoctoral studies under the combined mentorship of Dr. Harald Ott at Massachusetts General Hospital and Dr. Lauren Black at Tufts University where he is working on a tissue engineered model of embryonic heart tube morphogenesis. This tissue engineered model can serve to better understand cardiac development which could lead to insights into engineering improved mature heart tissue and better understanding of mechanisms for the formation of congenital heart defects.