Mo Ebrahimkhani, M.D.

  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Pathology, Experimental Pathology Unit
  • Pittsburgh Liver Research Center
  • The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Education & Training

  • M.D., 2005, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, School of Medicine
  • EASL Sheila Sherlock Fellow, 2005-2007, The UCL Institute for Liver and Digestive Health
  • Post-Doc Associate, 2008-2010, Seattle Biomedical Research Institute
  • Post-Doc Associate, 2011-2015, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Biological Engineering

Research Interest Summary

The lab aims to program self-organization and function in stem cell derived organoids using synthetic biology and genetically guided engineering.

Research Categories

Research Interests

A single stem cell can produce the whole organism through genetically encoded molecular networks hardwired in DNA that results in coordinated multicellular behavior. Inspired by this capacity for organ development and regeneration, the lab employs genetic circuits to build and direct development of complex multicellular tissues (e.g. liver, hematopoietic niche, human endoderm) from single human induced pluripotent stem cells (synthetic developmental engineering). The team has programmed stem cells towards self-vascularized human fetal and adult liver organoids with distinct cell types mimicking both native epithelial and mesenchymal cells. 

Ongoing efforts are: 1) Synthetic Maturation of human liver organoids from iPSCs through engineering genetic cascades, using synthetic biology, and computational single cell analysis. 2) Engineering synthetic fetal liver niches and designer organoids to promote hematopoiesis and blood formation in vitro. 3) Developing novel genetic tools for programming morphogenesis 4) Producing single cell atlas of human liver morphogenesis and intercellular communications in vitro.

Representative Publications

Ebrahimkhani MR, Ebisuya M. Synthetic developmental biology: build and control multicellular systems. Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2019 May 15; 52:9-15. 

Velazquez JJ, Su E, Cahan P, Ebrahimkhani MR. Programming Morphogenesis through Systems and Synthetic Biology. Trends Biotechnol. 2018 Apr;36(4):415-429.

Guye P, Ebrahimkhani MR (*equally contributed), Kipniss N, Velazquez JJ, Schoenfeld E, Kiani S, Griffith LG, Weiss R. Genetically engineering self-organization of human pluripotent stem cells into a liver bud-like tissue using Gata6. Nat Commun. 2016 Jan 6; 7:10243. 

Kiani S, Chavez A, Tuttle M, Hall RN, Chari R, Ter-Ovanesyan D, Qian J, Pruitt BW, Beal J, Vora S, Buchthal J, Kowal EJ, Ebrahimkhani MR, Collins JJ, Weiss R, Church G. Cas9 gRNA engineering for genome editing, activation and repression. Nat Methods. 2015 Nov;12(11):1051-4.

Full List of Publications