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  1. Science & Research (NCTR)

Ayesha Arefin Ph.D.
Leadership Role

Staff Fellow — Division of Systems Biology

Ayesha Arefin

Ayesha Arefin, Ph.D.
(870) 543-7121

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About  |  Publications


Dr. Ayesha Arefin received a B.Sc. degree in genetic engineering and biotechnology from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh where she investigated antibiotic properties of soil microbacteria to treat local fish pathogens as her undergraduate project. She received an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in nanoscience and microsystems from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. For her graduate work she designed and realized human alveolar microphysiological system that can provide cell-cell interaction, liquid flow, and cell stretch of physiological relevance. She developed a novel cell culture compatible polymeric substrate, optimized femtosecond laser system to drill micron-sized holes into the polymeric cell culture substrate and engineered a liquid pressure based dynamic microenvironment for mimicking human breathing phenomena. Following this she was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship from the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education and carried out her training at the Division of Applied Regulatory Science at FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. She led research efforts to evaluate an in vitro cellular model-engineered heart tissue system that combines stem cell technology with microfabricated platforms to recreate physiological cell microenvironments for its ability to generate human-specific drug toxicity response. In January 2021 she was hired as a staff fellow at FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) in the Division of Systems Biology to co-lead research efforts to establish an adaptive stress response model in a human liver microphysiological system under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement.

She will be leading the research effort to investigate whether sex differences in the cardiotoxic effects of chemotherapies can be modeled via contractility measurements utilizing engineered heart tissues generated from human induced-pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes. This proposal received high scores from the FDA and external reviewers and was selected for funding from the Office of Women’s Health for fiscal year 2022.

Research Interests

Dr. Arefin’s interests lie in performing prioritized research to bridge the gap between in vivo and in vitro drug development, drug safety, disease modeling and personalized medicine.

Current interests:

  • Developing imaging in human liver microphysiological systems to detect biomarkers for acetaminophen induced adaptive stress response.
  • Developing an imaging assay to predict drug-induced liver injury with matured human hepatocyte-like cells cultured in microphysiological systems.
  • Developing a human-based in vitro cardiac contractile assay to investigate the role of sex differences in response to oncologic drugs.
  • Determining context of using engineered heart tissue for bridging studies that would address non-clinical to clinical animal-to-human translation.

Professional Societies/National and International Groups

FDA Alternative Model Working Group
2021 – Present

Selected Publications

Characterizing the Reproducibility in Using a Liver Microphysiological System for Assaying Drug Toxicity, Metabolism, and Accumulation.
Rubiano R., Indapurkar A., Yokosawa R., Miedzik A., Rosenzweig B., Arefin A., Moulin C., Keri Dame K., Hartman N., Volpe D., Matta M., Hughes D., Strauss D., Kostrzewski T., and Ribeiro A.
Clinical and Translational Science. 2020, 14, 3, 1049-1061. 

Micromachining of Polyurethane Membranes for Tissue Engineering Applications.
Arefin A., Mcculloch Q., Martinez R., Martin S.A., Singh R., Ishak O.M., Higgins E.M., Haffey K.E., Huang J.H., Iyer S., and Nath P.
ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering. 2018, 4, 10, 3522–3533.

A Microfluidic Method to Measure Bulging Heights for Bulge Testing of Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and Polyurethane (PU) Elastomeric Membranes. 
Huang J.H., Haffey K., Arefin A., Akhadov L.E., Harris J.F., Iyer R., and Nath P.
RSC Advances. 2018, 8, 21133-21138.

Fabrication of Flexible Thin Polyurethane Membrane for Tissue Engineering Applications.
Arefin A., Huang J.H., Platts D., Hypes V.D., Harris J.F., Iyer R., and Nath P.
Biomedical Microdevices. 2017, 19, 98.

Facile, High Quality Sequencing of Bacterial Genomes from Small Amounts of DNA.
Vuyisich M., Arefin A., Davenport K., Feng S., Gleasner C., McMurry K., Parson-Quintana B., Price J., Scholz M., and Chain P.
International Journal of Genomics. 2014, 2014:434575.

Contact Information
Ayesha Arefin
(870) 543-7121
Technology & Discipline
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