We are using our basic translational research expertise to show that patient-specific stem cells can have a significant impact on improving cardiovascular care. In particular, the iPSC platform is used to a) elucidate disease mechanism and disease modeling; b) accelerate drug discovery, toxicity testing, and drug screening; and c) implement personalized regenerative medicine.
Dr. Zeljko J. Bosnjak is a Professor of Anesthesiology and Physiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and served as the the Vice Chairman for Research in the Department of Anesthesiology between 2003 and 2017. His current research activities include cellular signal transduction pathways that are responsible for anesthetic-induced cardioprotection. In addition, he has developed and validated a clinically relevant model of cardiac preconditioning using human cardiomyocytes, derived from the embryonic stem cells, and induced pluripotent cells derived from both non-diabetic and diabetic patients. This in vitro model of human disease is enabling developmental and comparative studies of normal and diabetic cardiomyocytes to address genetic and environmental mechanisms responsible for attenuation of preconditioning efficacy in diabetics. The genome editing of stem cells allows for the opportunity to study complex human diseases without the need to recruit patients or to "cross" patients for multiple mutations.
In addition, his lab has developed an in vitro model of stem cell-derived human neural cell lines in order to test the neurotoxicity of commonly used anesthetics during intense synapse formation. The lab is expending the stem cell-derived human neuronal cell studies to include co-culturing of neurons/oligodendrocytes/astrocytes and 3-D model of CNS cells for examination of mechanisms of general anesthetic toxicity. Additional interest is centered on the following projects: 1) Pediatric clinical biomarkers and human brain imaging, 2) The use of human stem cell-derived neurons model to study the mechanisms of action, since these experiments recapitulate toxicity findings in rodents and non-human primates, and 3) Feasibility pilot on the use of apoptosis-sparing anesthetic protocol for longer surgeries in neonatal population at risk.
Dr. Bosnjak has authored more than 300 publications, book chapters, and reviews. The NIH has continually funded him since 1981. Currently, he is the Program Director on a Program Project Grant; functions as a Co-Investigator on several other R01 grants in the Department of Anesthesiology; and serves as advisor on several NIH training grants. His research has been deemed meritorious by the International Anesthesia Research Society; he received the B.B. Sankey Anesthesia Advancement Award in 1986, NIH Research Career Development Award in 1987 and the American Society of Anesthesiologists Award for Excellence in Research in 2008. His involvement in a variety of study sections and NIH committees, including Clinical Science Study Sections, Pharmacology Study Sections, and Surgery, Anesthesiology, and Trauma, attest to his scientific reputation. He has served as Chairman of the Surgery-Anesthesia-Trauma Study Section. Dr. Bosnjak has also participated on a National Institute on Drug Abuse Special Review Committees, a National Institute on Drug Abuse Contract Review Committees, National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council, President and Councilor of Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research Academy of Research Mentors in Anesthesiology, and is frequent Chairman/Member of site visit teams for the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and National Institute of General Medical Sciences.