PhD: University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, 1990
Postdoctoral: Research University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1990-1993
Senior Staff Fellow: National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH, 1993-1997
- Assistant Professor: Dept. of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University, Columbus OH, 1997-2002
- Assistant Professor: Dept. of Pharmacology, Tulane Univ School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, 2002-04
- Associate Professor: 2004-2007
- Professor: 2007-present
Dr. Bruce A. Bunnell is a professor of pharmacology at the Tulane University Health Sciences Center and chairman, Division of Gene Therapy at the Tulane National Primate Research Center. He received his undergraduate education at Purdue University and his graduate training in molecular genetics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (PhD, 1990). He did his postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan, and advanced training as a senior staff fellow at the National Human Genome Research Center at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Bunnell held faculty positions at The Ohio State University (1998 - 2002). He joined the School of Medicine at Tulane University in 2002. Dr. Bunnell's research interests have focused on the development of gene and stem cell based therapies for lysosomal storage diseases (Sandhoff and Krabbe disease). His group is also interested in defining the biologic properties that control the stem-cell characteristics of mesenchymal stem cells.
Pulmonary Diseases, Critical Care & Environmental Medicine
As Director of the Tulane Center for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Bunnell's primary research interest involves basic and clinical aspects of adult stem cells. One of his primary interests is investigating the basic biology of various adult stem cell populations isolated from the bone marrow or adipose tissue. His group is currently investigating the effects of biological aging on the stem cell properties of these cells and their potential changes in medial benefit for humans as they age. Dr. Bunnell also investigates the application of stem cells for the treatment of diseases, including diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lysosomal storage disease and cancer.
In regard to pulmonary research, Dr. Bunnell's group has been investigating the potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to serve as reparative agents for lung disease. He is involved in a multi-lab collaborative effort investigating the use of MSCs for the treatment of acute lung injury (ALI). ALI is a syndrome of widespread lung inflammation and increased pulmonary vascular permeability resulting in pulmonary edema, hypoxia and may contribute to multiple organ failure and death. ALI is most commonly caused by sepsis, pneumonia, trauma or aspiration of gastric contents. Despite improvements in critical care and mechanical ventilation protocols, the mortality rate for patients with ALI is still high. Our group is elucidating the mechanisms involved in human MSC modulation of inflammation in the lung.
Dr. Bunnell's laboratory is also interested in tissue engineering and regeneration of the diseased lung. Currently, patients with end-stage lung disease are limited to lung transplantation as their only treatment option. Unfortunately, the lungs available for transplantation are few, may not match the patient's immune make-up, and require life-long immune suppression of the patient to tolerate the transplanted lung. Clearly, there is the need for alternative therapeutic strategies for these patients. Decellularization of whole lungs permits the isolation of an intact scaffold comprised of innate extracellular matrix (ECM). Our group is currently investigating lung decellularization and recellularization in rat and nonhuman primate models of disease.
Dr. Bunnell's research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and Department of Defense.
Adult Stem Cells: Mesenchymal Stem Cells (Bone Marrow and Adipose Tissue), Neural Stem Cells, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Neurodegenerative Disorder (Krabbe’s disease, Sandhoff’s disease), Diabetes and Aging, Animal Models (Mouse and Nonhuman primate), Age-related alterations in stem cells (mesenchymal stem cells and hmatopoietic stem cells).
Dr. Bunnell is interested in cell and gene therapies for lysosomal storage diseases, specifically Krabbe’s and Sandhoff’s disease. His group has isolated and is characterizing mouse and nonhuman primate mesenchymal stem cells from both bone marrow and adipose tissues. His laboratory group is currently working to define the biologic properties and differentiation potential of these distinct populations. His laboratory has also successfully isolated neural stem cells from the brain of nonhuman primates. He is presently focused on delineating the similarities and major differences between mesenchymal and neural stem cells for the treatment of these diseases in the CNS. Dr. Bunnell is also a member of the Center for Aging.
Publications & Presentations
Izadpanah R, Joswig T, Dufour J, Kirijan JC, Bunnell BA. Isolation and preliminary characterization of multipotential mesenchymal stem cells from the bone marrow of rhesus macaques. Stem Cells and Development, 14:440-451, 2005.
Cho H, Kim Y, Kim S, Bae Y, Kim J. Bunnell BA, Jung J. Endogenous Wnt signaling promotes proliferation and suppresses osteogenic differentiation in human adipose derived stromal cells. Tissue Engineering, 12:111-121, 2006.
Bunnell BA, Ylostalo J, Kang SK. Common transcriptional gene profile in neurospheres derived from pATSCs, pBMSCs, and pNSCs. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 343:762-771, 2006.
Grayson WL, Zhao F, Izadpanah R, Bunnell BA, Ma T. Effects of hypoxia on human mesenchymal stem cell expansion and plasticity in 3D constructs. J. Cell Physiol, 207: 331-339, 2006.
Davis SF, Hood JL, Bunnell BA. Isolation of adult rhesus neural stem and progenitor cells and differentiation into immature oligodendrocytes. Stem Cells and Development, 15:191-199, 2006.
View Pubmed listing of Dr. Bunnell’s research publications