Sara S. Nunes de Vasconcelos

Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, Canada

Dr. Sara Nunes Vasconcelos is a Scientist at the University Health Network in the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute. She holds an Assistant Professor appointment at the Institute of Biomaterials Biomedical Engineering and a cross-appointment at the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. Her translational research program aims to develop regenerative medicine strategies, and use bioengineering approaches to study cardiovascular diseases and for drug testing. Dr. Nunes obtained her PhD from the State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and completed postdoctoral training under Dr. James Hoying, PhD at the University of Louisville and later with Prof. Milica Radisic, PhD at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Nunes received several awards and fellowships for her work, including the prestigious Early Researcher Award from the Ministry of Research Innovation and Science in Canada in 2018, the Scientist Development Grant from the American Heart Association, USA in 2011 and the CMBE-BMES Young Innovators in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering in 2019. She has developed new vascularization techniques to support functional tissues for organ regeneration and is pioneering the work to create mature vessels with specific arterio-venous identities in pre-vascularized, 3D engineered tissues with emphasis on how diabetes affects vascularization. Her work on human cardiac tissues-on-a-dish, named biowires, has opened a new area of research in human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte maturation and drug testing which catalyzed further mechanistic and translational research in this area worldwide. She holds funding from CIHR, NSERC, CFREF, Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, and JDRF-USA. She serves as a committee member for CIHR, and also serves as Ad Hoc member for NIH study section (myocardial ischemia and metabolism).