George Christ

Primary Appointment

Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests

Functional Genomics

Research Description

Dr. Christ has a broad interest in muscle physiology, intercellular communication and the role of smooth muscle in the function and dysfunction of visceral and vascular tissues.
Dr. Christ's research interests are in the area of Functional Genomics, that is, establishing a verifiable link between changes in gene expression and alterations in cell/organ/tissue function/dysfunction, and then using this information to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of smooth muscle diseases/disorders. To this end, Dr. Christ has developed a multidisciplinary approach that utilizes various visceral and vascular smooth muscle tissues/organs to attempt to establish "cause and effect" relationships between molecular/genetic alterations and measurable changes in organ function, namely, contraction and relaxation of smooth muscle cells. Animal vascular and visceral tissues are studied both in vitro and in vivo. Molecular, biochemical, electrophysiological, pharmacological, immunochemical, and whole animal techniques (rat and mouse transgenics and knockouts) are all used to study the mechanistic basis for integrative tissue physiology. Parallel in vitro studies are conducted on corresponding human tissues for target validation whenever possible.
The overall goal of his work is to translate scientific discoveries into technologies that can improve human health (i.e., translational research). In this regard, Dr. Christ is a co-inventor on more than 20 patents issued or applied for related to gene therapy treatments for smooth muscle disorders/diseases, and is the Co-Founder and Directing Member of Ion Channel Innovations, LLC., a development stage biotechnology company pioneering the use of gene therapy for the treatment of human smooth muscle disorders. Recently, Dr. Christ has also focused on the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. In particular, he is interested in developing in vitro protocols and bioreactor systems for the accelerated maturation of engineered tissues; in order to further enhance their applications in regenerative medicine.


  • Basic Cardiovascular Research Training Grant
  • Biotechnology Training Grant
  • Training in the Pharmacological Sciences

Selected Publications

Christ GJ, Siriwardane ML, de Coppi P, Engineering muscle tissue for the fetus: getting ready for a strong life., 2015; Frontiers in pharmacology. 6() 53. PMID: 25914643 | PMCID: PMC4392316

Christ GJ, Saul JM, Furth ME, Andersson KE, The pharmacology of regenerative medicine., 2013; Pharmacological reviews. 65(3) 1091-133. PMID: 23818131 | PMCID: PMC3698935

Ward CL, Corona BT, Yoo JJ, Harrison BS, Christ GJ, Oxygen generating biomaterials preserve skeletal muscle homeostasis under hypoxic and ischemic conditions., 2013; PloS one. 8(8) e72485. PMID: 23991116 | PMCID: PMC3753241

Tillman BW, Yazdani SK, Neff LP, Corriere MA, Christ GJ, Soker S, Atala A, Geary RL, Yoo JJ, Bioengineered vascular access maintains structural integrity in response to arteriovenous flow and repeated needle puncture., 2012; Journal of vascular surgery. 56(3) 783-93. PMID: 22917043

Neff LP, Tillman BW, Yazdani SK, Machingal MA, Yoo JJ, Soker S, Bernish BW, Geary RL, Christ GJ, Vascular smooth muscle enhances functionality of tissue-engineered blood vessels in vivo., 2010; Journal of vascular surgery. 53(2) 426-34. PMID: 20934837