• Engineering the next generation of

    cell and gene therapies

  • research

    We utilize quantitative and bioengineering methods to advance the next generation of cell and gene therapies.

    Gene Editing

    CRISPR-Cas9, nanoparticle delivery

    We develop new tools and insights into the editing of the human genome. Projects include understanding DNA repair and nanoscale assembly of nucleic acids and novel nonviral polymeric delivery agents around protein-based CRISPR systems. We are advancing two projects in the NIH Somatic Cell Genome Editing Consortium.


    Cell therapy manufacturing

    Cells are living drugs that can be difficult to generate, scale-up, and quality control. Projects include monitoring and controlling the heterogeneity during gene modification and scale-up of stem cells and T cell immunotherapies (e.g., CAR T cells). We benefit from collaborations with the national Center for Cell Manufacturing.

    Disease Modeling

    Biomaterials + gene editing to generate new cell models

    We are using customized biomaterials and genome editing to generate new human cell-based models of inherited disorders. Projects include correcting mutations within diseased cells and generate isogenic organoids that recapitulate morphogenesis and pathology seen in patients. This project exploits close collaboration with biologists and clinicians at the Waisman Center.


    Epigenomic Engineering

    Cellular reprogramming can generate important resources for regenerative medicine and drug discovery, but can proceed inefficiently and in a stochastic manner. Projects include using engineered biomaterials and novel tools for epigenetic engineering.

    Science and Technology Studies

    Science Policy/Bioethics

    We seek to understand the dynamic and heterogeneous processes by which novel bioengineered objects get embedded into law and policy. Outputs are designed to invoke reflection among practicing scientists on the social commitments behind their choices when engineering human cells, as well as to inform regulations, institutional obligations, and state policy. We leverage collaborations within Holtz STS Center, Bio+Society Collaboratory, and Forum on Regenerative Medicine.

  • meet our lab

    Members come from several programs including biomedical engineering, biophysics, molecular biology and medicine.

    Kris Saha

    Associate Professor


    Kathryn and Latimer Murfee Chair - Retina Research Foundation

    NIH Somatic Cell Genome Editing- Steering Committee

    Nicole Piscopo

    Graduate Student - Biomedical Engineering

    Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell engineering

    NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

    St. Baldrick's Summer Research Fellowship

    Amr Abdeen

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    CRISPR-Cas9 Delivery and Biomaterials

    Katie Mueller

    Graduate Student - Cellular and Molecular Biology

    Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell Engineering

    NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

    NIH T32 Training Grant

    Arezoo Movaghar

    Graduate Student - Data Sciences

    Computational Phenotyping

    Machine Learning

    Kaivalya Molugu

    Graduate Student - Biophysics Program

    Biophysical regulation of cellular reprogramming

    Kirstan Gimse

    Graduate Student - Cellular and Molecular Pathology

    Amritava Das

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell Engineering


    Micah Dombroe

    Lab Manager

    Graduate Student - Biomedical Engineering

    Graduate Student - Biomedical Engineering

    Keerthana Shankar

    Graduate Student - Biomedical Engineering

    Joshua Rawlins

    Graduate Student - Biomedical Engineering

    Shivani Saxena

    Graduate Student - Biomedical Engineering

    Giovanni Battistini

    Research Technician

    Louise Saraspe

    Undergraduate Research Assistant

    John Emory Morris Undergraduate Research Fund

    Brittany Russell

    Undergraduate Research Assistant

    Sophomore Research Fellowship

    Alex Araki

    Undergraduate Research Assistant

    Hailey Feinzig

    Undergraduate Research Assistant

  • publications

    Select publications are highlighted below. For full publication list, please see Pubmed or Google Scholar.

    Tracking and Predicting Human Somatic Cell Reprogramming Using Nuclear Characteristics

    Biophysical Journal

    Kaivalya Molugu, Ty Harkness, Jared Carlson-Stevermer, Ryan Prestil, Nicole J. Piscopo, Stephanie K. Seymour, Gavin T. Knight, Randolph S. Ashton, Krishanu Saha. 2019. [link]

    Democratic Governance of Human Germline Genome Editing

    The CRISPR Journal

    Sheila Jasanoff, J. Benjamin Hurlbut, Krishanu Saha. 2019. [link]

    A biodegradable nanocapsule delivers a Cas9 ribonucleoprotein complex for in vivo genome editing

    Nature Nanotechnology

    Guojun Chen, Amr A. Abdeen, Yuyuan Wang, Pawan K. Shahi, Samantha Robertson, Ruosen Xie, Masatoshi Suzuki, Bikash R. Pattnaik, Krishanu Saha, Shaoqin Gong. 2019. [link]

    Scarless Genome Editing of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells via Transient Puromycin Selection

    Stem Cell Reports

    Benjamin Steyer', Qian Bu', Evan Cory, Keer Jiang, Stella Duong, Divya Sinha, Stephanie Steltzer, David Gamm*, Qiang Chang*, Krishanu Saha*. 2018 [link]

    'co-first author, * corresponding author

    Assembly of CRISPR ribonucleoproteins with biotinylated oligonucleotides via an RNA aptamer for precise gene editing.

    Nature Communications

    Jared Carlson-Stevermer, Amr Abdeen, Lucy Kohlenberg, Kaivalya Molugu, Madelyn Goedland, Meng Lou, Krishanu Saha*. 2017 [link]

    * corresponding author


    Media Coverage:

    UW-Madison [link]

    Manufacturing Cell Therapies: The Paradigm Shift in Health Care of This Century

    National Academy of Medicine Perspectives

    Rachel Haddock, Sheng Lin-Gibson, Nadya Lumelsky, Richard McFarland, Krishnendu Roy, Krishanu Saha, Jiwen Zhang, Claudia Zylberberg. 2017. [link]

    National Academy of Medicine, Washington, DC.


    Related Workshop [link] and Proceedings [link]

  • social feed

  • we're hiring!

    We are seeking energetic and passionate researchers of all stages (postdocs, graduate students, undergraduates, and research associates) to join our team.


    If you are naturally curious about biomedicine, want to invent new technologies to engineer life, and enjoy working in a creative and dynamic environment, we would love to work with you! Candidates with experience in stem cells, genetics, molecular biology, biomaterials, circuit design, bioengineering, or computational biology are especially encouraged to apply. Thank you for your interest!

    Graduate Students

    Graduate students thinking about joining us should check out this link for information about what makes the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery so unique.

    Interested in the numerical side of biology? Find out more about the Quantitative Biology Initiative at UW-Madison by visiting qbi.wisc.edu

    Please send your application to ksaha@wisc.edu. Subject line must read "Grad Application". In your email, include the following:
    • CV (with a list of publications, if applicable)
    • a short summary of your present and future research interests
    • a list of two references

    Post-Doctoral Scholars

    The Saha Lab is hiring postdocs. We are looking for highly motivated scientists with great enthusiasm for gene editing and/or stem cell research and the ability to creatively solve problems.

    Please send your application to ksaha@wisc.edu. Subject line must read "PostDoc Application". In your email, include the following:

    • CV with a list of publications
    • a short summary of your present and future research interests
    • a list of three references (for postdoctoral candidates)

    Undergraduate Students

    The Saha Lab may periodically hire undergraduates according to need and availability. 

    If you are interested in joining our lab, please send your application to dombroe.wisc@gmail.com (Micah Dombroe, lab manager). Subject line must read "Undergrad Application". In your email, include the following:

    • CV/Resume
    • course transcript
    • a short summary of your present and future research interests
    • a list of two references
    All Posts