kiani 2020

The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine welcomes new affiliated faculty member Samira Kiani, MD.

Dr. Kiani is an Associate Professor in the Liver Research Center of the Department of Pathology in the School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.  Prior to joining the University of Pittsburgh in 2020, she held appointments at Arizona State University, School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Ira. A Fulton Schools of Engineering, and at the Mayo Clinic Gastrointestinal Cancer Center in Phoenix.

Dr. Kiani received her medical doctorate degree from Tehran University of Medical Sciences. She completed her postdoctoral training in the Center for Synthetic Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she worked on developing synthetic gene circuits to reprogram the function and behavior of mammalian cells based on the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 technology. Cas9 protein is a DNA cleaving enzyme that can be targeted to any DNA sequence by means of a small guide RNA (gRNA) and can be adapted both for gene editing and gene regulation.

Her research interests include:

  • CRISPR and gene editing tools, toxicity and immunogenicity of the CRISPR technology,
  • predicting on/off target activity of CRISPR on human microphysiological systems including liver chip,
  • developing safety switches for CRISPR to protect germ cells,
  • epigenetic reprogramming using the CRISPR technology,
  • regulating immune homeostasis using CRISPR,
  • synthetic gene circuits using the custom DNA binding proteins, and
  • in vivo CRISPR-based gene and epigenetic therapies.