Krishanu Saha

Assistant Professor

Room: Room 4164
Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
330 North Orchard Street
Madison, WI 53715

Ph: (608) 316-4313

Primary Affiliation:
Biomedical Engineering

Profile Summary

My interests lie in using human stem cells together with emerging engineering methods in material science and synthetic biology to make smarter therapeutics, model human disease, and advance personalized medicine.


  • Postdoctoral Fellow 2007-2012, Whitehead Institute-MIT/Harvard University
  • PhD 2007, University of California-Berkeley
  • MPhil 2002, University of Cambridge (U.K.)
  • BS 2001, Cornell University

Research Interests

  • Personalized and Regenerative Medicine
  • Biomaterials Engineering
  • Stem Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Signal transduction
  • Systems biology
  • Synthetic biology
  • Evolution & optimization of signaling proteins and networks
  • Design principles of spatial and temporal control networks in cells

Awards, Honors and Societies

  • 2014 NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award
  • 2014 Allen Institute for Brain Science Next Generation Leaders Council, Chair
  • 2014 Young Innovator Award, Biomedical Engineering Society, CMBE
  • 2013 Rising Star Award, Biomedical Engineering Society’s Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering SIG
  • 2013 Young Investigator Award at the Frontiers in Bioengineering Workshop
  • 2013 NIH mHealth Summer Institute Scholar
  • 2009-2014: Society in Science: Branco Weiss Fellow
  • 2012 Sage Bionetworks Young Investigator Award
  • 2009 Ruth L. Kirschstein Individual Postdoctoral National Research Service (F32) Award (declined)
  • 2001-2005 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow (deferred for 2002-05)
  • 2001-2002 Winston Churchill Scholar
  • 2001 J. William Fulbright Graduate Student Award for United Kingdom (declined)
  • 2000 Barry F. Goldwater Scholar


Full list of publications available at:

Google Scholar

Selected Publications:

  • Cordie T., Harkness T., Jing X., Mi X.Y., Turng L.S. and Saha K. (2014) “Nanofibrous Electrospun Polymers For Reprogramming Human Cells.” Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering. 7, 3, 379-393.
  • Gajbhiye V., Escalante L., Chen G., Laperle A., Zheng Q., Steyer B., Gong S. and Saha K. (2014)Drug-loaded nanoparticles induce gene expression in human pluripotent stem cell derivatives.” Nanoscale. 6, 521-531. PMC 24232694.
  • Saha, K., and Hogle, L.F. (2014). “Allying with Donors to Link Health and Medical Information with Stem Cell Lines Can Advance Disease Modeling while Enhancing Data Access”. Cell Stem Cell 14, 559–560. PMC 24792113
  • Saha K.*, Mei Y.*, Reisterer C.M., Pyzocha N., Yang J., Muffat J., Mitalipova M., Alexander M.R., Langer R., Anderson D.G. and R. Jaenisch. (2011) “Surface engineered substrates for improved human pluripotent stem cell culture under fully defined conditions.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. 108(46), 18714-9. PMC 22065768 [*equal contribution]
  • Saha K. and Hurlbut J.B. (2011) “Treat donors as partners in biobank research.” Nature. 478, 312-313. PMC 22012372
  • Mathews D.J.H., Graff G.D., Saha K., and Winickoff D.E. (2011) “Access To Stem Cells And Data: Persons, Property Rights, And Scientific Progress.” Science. 331, 725-727. PMC 21311015
  • Saha K. and J.B. Hurlbut (2011) “Disease modeling using pluripotent stem cells: making sense of disease from bench to bedside.” Swiss Medical Weekly. 141. PMC 21308573
  • Mei Y.*, Saha K.*, Bogatyrev S.R., Yang J., Hook A.L., Kalcioglu Z.I., Cho S.W., Mitalipova M., Pyzocha N., Rojas F., van Vliet K.J., Davies M.C., Alexander M.R., Langer R., Jaenisch R., and D.G. Anderson. (2010) “Combinatorial Development of Biomaterials for Clonal Growth of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells.” Nature Materials. 9, 768-778. PMC 20729850 [*equal contribution]
  • Hanna J., Saha K., and R. Jaenisch. (2010) “Pluripotency and Cellular Reprogramming: Facts, Hypotheses, Unresolved Issues.” Cell.143, 508-525. PMC 21074044
  • Saha K., Kim J., Irwin E., Yoon J., Momin F., Trujillo V., Schaffer D.V., Healy K.E., and R.C. Hayward (2010) “Surface creasing instability of soft polyacrylamide cell culture substrates.” Biophysical Journal. 99(12) L94-L96. PMC 21156124
  • Hanna J., Cheng A.W., Saha K., Kim J., Lengner C.J., Soldner F., Cassady J.P., Muffat J., Carey B.W., and Jaenisch R. (2010) “Human embryonic stem cells with biological and epigenetic characteristics similar to those of mouse ESCs.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. 107(20), 9222-7. PMC 20442331
  • Hanna J.*, Saha K.*, Pando B., van Zon J., Lengner C.J., Creyghton M.P., van Oudenaarden A., and R. Jaenisch (2009) “Direct cell reprogramming is a stochastic process amenable to acceleration.” Nature. 462, 595-601. PMC 19898493 [*equal contribution]
  • Saha K. and R. Jaenisch (2009) “Technical challenges in using human induced pluripotent stem cells to model disease.” Cell Stem Cell. 5, 584-595. PMC 19951687
  • Saha K., Keung A., Irwin E.F., Li Y., Schaffer D.V. and K.E. Healy. (2008)Substrate modulus directs neural stem cell behavior.”Biophysical Journal. 95(9), 4426-4438. PMC 18658232
  • Saha K.*, Pollock J.F.*, Schaffer D.V., and Healy K.E. (2007) “Designing synthetic materials to control stem cell phenotype.” Current Opinion in Chemical Biology.11(4), 381-7. PMC 17669680 [*equal contribution]
  • Saha K., Irwin E.F., Kozhukh J., Healy K.E., and Schaffer D.V. (2007) “Biomimetic interfacial interpenetrating polymer networks control neural stem cell behavior.” Journal of Biomedical Materials Research: Part A. 81A:1. PMC 17236216
  • Saha K. and D.V. Schaffer. (2006) “Signaling dynamics in Sonic hedgehog tissue patterning.” Development. 133, 889-900. PMC 16452094



Fall 2015-2016

  • BME 520 - Stem Cell Bioengineering
  • BME 990 - Research and Thesis
  • BME 890 - Pre-dissertation Research
  • BME 790 - Master\'s Research and Thesis
  • BME 699 - Advanced Independent Study
  • BME 399 - Independent Study
  • Secondary Contact

    Room 3154
    Engineering Centers Building
    1550 Engineering Drive
    Madison, WI 53706

    Profile Summary

    My interests lie in using human stem cells together with emerging engineering methods in material science and synthetic biology to make smarter therapeutics, model human disease, and advance personalized medicine.

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