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Discussion, Panel I: Engineering Microenvironments for Stem Cells

Karen Christman, Shaochen Chen, Adam Engler, Sharon Presnell

October 9, 2014
21 minutes
Karen Christman, Shaochen Chen, Adam Engler, Sharon Presnell


Karen Christman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Bioengineering, UC San Diego

Dr. Christman joined the Department of Bioengineering in 2007 and is a member of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine at UC San Diego. Her lab, which is housed in the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, focuses on developing novel biomaterials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications, and has a strong translational focus with the main goal of developing novel minimally invasive therapies for cardiovascular disease. Christman is Co-founder of Ventrix and has received several awards including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator and Transformative Research Awards. Christman received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University in 2000 and her Ph.D. from UC San Francisco and Berkeley Joint Bioengineering Graduate Group in 2003. She was also an NIH postdoctoral fellow at UCLA in the fields of Polymer Chemistry and Nanotechnology.
Shaochen Chen, Ph.D., Professor, NanoEngineering & Bioengineering; Co-Director, Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering Center, UC San Diego
Dr. Chen’s primary research interests include biomaterials and 3-D bioprinting, stem cell and regenerative medicine, tissue engineering and laser and nanomanufacturing. He has published over 100 papers in top journals. Among his numerous awards, Chen received the CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research and Edward Nagy New Investigator Award from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As an active member in his professional community, Chen is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, fellow of the International Society for Optics and Photonics and fellow of the International Society for NanoManufacturing.
Adam Engler, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Bioengineering, UC San Diego
Dr. Engler is a resident scientist at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. His research interests include how extracellular matrix properties regulate stem cell differentiation, typically into skeletal and cardiac muscle and aging. He was a recipient of an NIH Innovator Award and a Young Investigator Award from the Human Frontiers Science Program. Engler holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in Engineering and was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University in the Department of Molecular Biology.


Sharon Presnell, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer & EVP of Research & Development, Organovo
Dr. Presnell has more than 16 years of experience in the leadership of product-focused research and development. As an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Presnell’s research in liver and prostate biology and carcinogenesis produced cell- and tissue-based technologies that were out licensed for industrial applications. She joined Becton Dickinson in 2001 and played a key role in the early discovery and development of cell-based tools and reagents for their life sciences portfolio. Presnell joined Tengion in 2007 and was responsible for leading the discovery and early development of Tengion’s Neo-Kidney Augment™. As the Chief Technology Officer at Organovo, Presnell has led the growth and development of the research and development organization, including evolution of the company’s technology portfolio, and has played an instrumental role in securing funds in support of corporate growth initiatives. Presenell holds a Ph.D. in Pathology from the Medical College of Virginia.