Kelly Clause


University of Pittsburgh Seal

Kelly Clause

Faculty Mentor: Kimimasa Tobita

Update: Dr. Kelly Clause is currently engaged in postdoctoral studies at Georgia Tech, where she is working on a lung branching morphogenesis model looking into how the extracellular matrix, fibronectin in particular, plays a role in determining the spatial and temporal arrangement of lung branching during development.

Research:Ms. Clause has three facets of her project. 1) The characterization of cardiomyocyte induction and the role of mechanical stretch, p38-MAPK and Akt on proliferation within engineered tissue, Engineered Early Embryonic Cardiac Tissue (EEECT), both in vitro and in vivo. Insights gained from investigating EEECT cardiomyocyte proliferation will be translated to a three dimensional engineered tissue construct generated from skeletal muscle derived stem cells, or MDSCs. The second, 2) being the characterization of the role of mechanical forces in cardiomyocyte induction from skeletal muscle derived stem cells in 3D culture (MDSC- 3DGB), both in vitro and in vivo. These constructs will be cultured under differing conditions, determined by the EEECT studies, to attempt to control the differentiation, proliferation, and maintain the maturation of cardiomyocytes in a three dimensional environment. The third, 3) being the characterization of the presence and role of skeletal muscle specific proteins in the developing rat heart. The goal is to translate insights gained from investigating EEECT and MDSC-3DGB towards the long term goal of developing a functioning engineered cardiac graft with the potential to subsequently reduce the disability and death associated with heart disease.


  • Clause KC, Tinney JP, Liu LJ, Keller BB, Tobita K. "Engineered early embryonic cardiac tissue increased cardiomyocyte proliferation by cyclic mechanical stretch via p38-MAP kinase phosphorylation". Tissue Engineering Part A, 15(6), 1373-1380, 2009.
  • Clause KC, Tinney JP, Liu JL, Gharaibeh B, Huard J, Kirk JA, Shroff SG, Fujimoto KL, Wagner W, Ralphe JC, Keller BB, Tobita K. "A three-dimensional gel bioreactor for assessment of cardiomyocyte induction in skeletal muscle derived stem cells". Tissue Eng Part C Methods, 2009.
  • Fujimoto K, Clause KC, Tinney J, Verman S, Wagner W, Keller B, Tobita K. "Engineered fetal cardiac graft preserves its cardiomyocyte proliferation within post-infarcted myocardium and sustains cardiac function". Tissue Engineering Part A, 2010.
  • Clause KC, Liu JL, Powell MC, Tinney JP, Keller BB, Gharaibeh B, Huard J, Tobita K. "Fast skeletal muscle myosin heavy chain is present in developing myocardium". Anatomical Records, 2010.
  • Clause KC, Liu LJ, Tobita K. "Directed stem cell differentiation: the role of physical forces". Cell Communication and Adhesion, 2010.


  • McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Annual Scientific Retreat , Uniontown , PA , United States of America , 03/2007
  • Weinstein Conference , Indianapolis , IN , United States of America , 05/2007
  • Symposium of the American Heart Association Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences: Cardiovascular Repair and Regeneration: Structural and Molecular Approaches in the Cellular Era , Keystone , CO , United States of America , 07/2007
  • Ohio Doctors Interested in Congenital Hearts (ODICH) Conference , Pittsburgh , PA , United States of America , 05/2008
  • 6th International Society for Stem Cell Research Annual Meeting , Philadelphia, , PA , United States of America , 06/2008
  • 33rd Midwest Pediatric Cardiology Scientific Session , Pittsburgh , PA , United States of America , 09/2009
  • NHLBI Symposium on Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine , Bethesda , MD , United States of America , 10/2009
  • Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Fall Meeting , Pittsburgh , PA , United States of America , 10/2009