headshot of Kambez Hajipouran Benam

Kambez Hajipouran Benam

Associate Professor
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Dr. Benam Associate Professor of Medicine and Bioengineering at University of Pittsburgh. He is the founder of Lung Microengineering Lab, which brings together researchers from the engineering, biology, biopharmaceutical industry, clinical and business communities with the aim of developing new technologies that recreate complex human organ pathophysiology in vitro, and applying them to discover novel therapeutics and personalized biomarkers. His research focuses on applying disruptive technologies that enable his team to elucidate cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern tissue pathology or offer protection during lung injury and host-environment interaction. Dr. Benam received his B.Sc. (Hons) in Pharmacology from the Newcastle University, UK, and his D.Phil. in Immunology from the University of Oxford, UK. He then was trained as a Technology Development Fellow at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Dr. Benam has been the recipient of multiple awards including Society of Toxicology IRSS, Baxter and Lush Young Investigator Awards as well as Science and Innovation Center Rising Star Award and Recognition of Early Academic Achievement (REAAch) Award from the American Thoracic Society. Dr. Benam's his work has received extensive press coverage (BBC, STAT News, Harvard Gazette, Washington Times, IEEE Spectrum, etc.). He has published in leading scientific journals (NATURE METHODS, NATURE PROTOCOLS, CELL SYSTEMS, JCI INSIGHT, ISCIENCE, NANO SELECT, etc.) and is a co-inventor on > 15 issued and pending patent applications, half of which have been licensed. Dr. Benam currently manages ~ $9.5 MILLION of extramural funding. He is also the Founder of Pneumax, LLC – biotech startup focused on development and commercialization of next-generation living lung organomimetic systems.


Technology Development Fellowship, Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering

D.Phil., University of Oxford

B.Sc. (Hons), Newcastle University

Allbright, K., Villandre, J., Crotty Alexander, L.E., Zhang, M., Benam, K.H., Evankovich, J., Königshoff, M., & Chandra, D. (2024). The paradox of the safer cigarette: understanding the pulmonary effects of electronic cigarettes. Eur Respir J, 2301494.European Respiratory Society (ERS). doi: 10.1183/13993003.01494-2023.

Vo, Q., & Benam, K.H. (2024). Advancements in preclinical human-relevant modeling of pulmonary vasculature on-chip. Eur J Pharm Sci, 195, 106709.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.ejps.2024.106709.

Chandra, D., Bogdanoff, R.F., Bowler, R.P., & Benam, K.H. (2023). Electronic cigarette menthol flavoring is associated with increased inhaled micro and sub-micron particles and worse lung function in combustion cigarette smokers. RESPIRATORY RESEARCH, 24(1), 108.Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi: 10.1186/s12931-023-02410-9.

Thomas, S.N., Niemeyer, B.F., Jimenez-Valdes, R.J., Kaiser, A.J., Espinosa, J.M., Sullivan, K.D., Goodspeed, A., Costello, J.C., Alder, J.K., Canas-Arranz, R., Garcia-Sastre, A., & Benam, K.H. (2023). Down syndrome is associated with altered frequency and functioning of tracheal multiciliated cells, and response to influenza virus infection. ISCIENCE, 26(8), 107361.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2023.107361.

Vo, Q., Carlson, K.A., Chiknas, P.M., Brocker, C.N., DaSilva, L., Clark, E., Park, S.K., Ajiboye, A.S., Wier, E.M., & Benam, K.H. (2023). On-Chip Reconstitution of Uniformly Shear-Sensing 3D Matrix-Embedded Multicellular Blood Microvessel. ADVANCED FUNCTIONAL MATERIALS, 34(10).Wiley. doi: 10.1002/adfm.202304630.

Benam, K.H., Burgess, J.K., & Stewart, A.G. (2022). Editorial: Accelerated Translation Using Microphysiological Organoid and Microfluidic Chip Models. FRONTIERS IN PHARMACOLOGY, 12, 827172.Frontiers Media SA. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2021.827172.

Bogdanoff, R.F., Kaiser, A.J., & Benam, K.H. (2022). Protocol for the operation of a breathing and vaping biomimetic robot to delineate real-time inhaled particle profile of electronic cigarettes. STAR Protoc, 3(4), 101885.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.xpro.2022.101885.

Clifton, C., Niemeyer, B.F., Novak, R., Can, U.I., Hainline, K., & Benam, K.H. (2022). BPIFA1 is a secreted biomarker of differentiating human airway epithelium. FRONTIERS IN CELLULAR AND INFECTION MICROBIOLOGY, 12, 1035566.Frontiers Media SA. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2022.1035566.

Niemeyer, B.F., & Benam, K.H. (2022). Untapping host-targeting cross-protective efficacy of anticoagulants against SARS-CoV-2. PHARMACOLOGY & THERAPEUTICS, 233, 108027.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2021.108027.

Niemeyer, B.F., Miller, C.M., Ledesma-Feliciano, C., Morrison, J.H., Jimenez-Valdes, R., Clifton, C., Poeschla, E.M., & Benam, K.H. (2022). Broad antiviral and anti-inflammatory efficacy of nafamostat against SARS-CoV-2 and seasonal coronaviruses in primary human bronchiolar epithelia. Nano Sel, 3(2), 437-449.Wiley. doi: 10.1002/nano.202100123.

Kaiser, A.J., Salem, C., Alvarenga, B.J., Pagliaro, A., Smith, K.P., Valerio, L.G., & Benam, K.H. (2021). A robotic system for real-time analysis of inhaled submicron and microparticles. ISCIENCE, 24(10), 103091.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.103091.

Si, L., Bai, H., Rodas, M., Cao, W., Oh, C.Y., Jiang, A., Moller, R., Hoagland, D., Oishi, K., Horiuchi, S., Uhl, S., Blanco-Melo, D., Albrecht, R.A., Liu, W.C., Jordan, T., Nilsson-Payant, B.E., Golynker, I., Frere, J., Logue, J., Haupt, R., McGrath, M., Weston, S., Zhang, T., Plebani, R., Soong, M., Nurani, A., Kim, S.M., Zhu, D.Y., Benam, K.H., Goyal, G., Gilpin, S.E., Prantil-Baun, R., Gygi, S.P., Powers, R.K., Carlson, K.E., Frieman, M., TenOever, B.R., & Ingber, D.E. (2021). A human-airway-on-a-chip for the rapid identification of candidate antiviral therapeutics and prophylactics. NATURE BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING, 5(8), 815-829.Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi: 10.1038/s41551-021-00718-9.

Benam, K.H., Novak, R., Ferrante, T.C., Choe, Y., & Ingber, D.E. (2020). Biomimetic smoking robot for in vitro inhalation exposure compatible with microfluidic organ chips. NATURE PROTOCOLS, 15(2), 183-206.Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi: 10.1038/s41596-019-0230-y.

Jimenez-Valdes, R.J., Can, U.I., Niemeyer, B.F., & Benam, K.H. (2020). Where We Stand: Lung Organotypic Living Systems That Emulate Human-Relevant Host-Environment/Pathogen Interactions. FRONTIERS IN BIOENGINEERING AND BIOTECHNOLOGY, 8, 989.Frontiers Media SA. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2020.00989.

Niemeyer, B.F., Kaiser, A.J., & Benam, K.H. (2020). Respiratory Pathophysiology. In Biomimetic Microengineering. (pp. 237-261).CRC Press. doi: 10.1201/9780367814809-13.

Benam, K.H., Denney, L., & Ho, L.P. (2019). How the Respiratory Epithelium Senses and Reacts to Influenza Virus. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY CELL AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, 60(3), 259-268.American Thoracic Society. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2018-0247TR.

Benam, K.H., Gilchrist, S., Kleensang, A., Satz, A.B., Willetts, C., & Zhang, Q. (2019). Exploring new technologies in biomedical research. DRUG DISCOVERY TODAY, 24(6), 1242-1247.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2019.04.001.

Logue, J., Solomon, J., Niemeyer, B.F., Benam, K.H., Lin, A.E., Bjornson, Z., Jiang, S., McIlwain, D.R., Nolan, G.P., Palacios, G., & Kuhn, J.H. (2019). Innovative Technologies for Advancement of WHO Risk Group 4 Pathogens Research. In Global Virology III: Virology in the 21st Century. (pp. 437-469).Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-29022-1_15.

Benam, K.H. (2018). Disrupting Experimental Strategies for Inhalation Toxicology: The Emergence of Microengineered Breathing-Smoking Human Lung-on-a-Chip. Applied In Vitro Toxicology, 4(2), 107-114.Mary Ann Liebert Inc. doi: 10.1089/aivt.2017.0030.

Benam, K.H., Konigshoff, M., & Eickelberg, O. (2018). Breaking the In Vitro Barrier in Respiratory Medicine Engineered Microphysiological Systems for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Beyond. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE, 197(7), 869-875.American Thoracic Society. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201709-1795PP.

Benam, K.H., Vladar, E.K., Janssen, W.J., & Evans, C.M. (2018). Mucociliary Defense: Emerging Cellular, Molecular, and Animal Models. ANNALS OF THE AMERICAN THORACIC SOCIETY, 15(Suppl 3), S210-S215.American Thoracic Society. doi: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.201806-439AW.

Niemeyer, B.F., Zhao, P., Tuder, R.M., & Benam, K.H. (2018). Advanced Microengineered Lung Models for Translational Drug Discovery. SLAS DISCOVERY, 23(8), 777-789.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1177/2472555218760217.

Benam, K.H., Mazur, M., Choe, Y., Ferrante, T.C., Novak, R., & Ingber, D.E. (2017). Human Lung Small Airway-on-a-Chip Protocol. Methods Mol Biol, 1612, 345-365.Springer New York. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7021-6_25.

Cole, S.L., Dunning, J., Kok, W.L., Benam, K.H., Benlahrech, A., Repapi, E., Martinez, F.O., Drumright, L., Powell, T.J., Bennett, M., Elderfield, R., Thomas, C., Dong, T., McCauley, J., Liew, F.Y., Taylor, S., Zambon, M., Barclay, W., Cerundolo, V., Openshaw, P.J., McMichael, A.J., Ho, L.P., & Investigators, M.O.S.A.I.C. (2017). M1-like monocytes are a major immunological determinant of severity in previously healthy adults with life-threatening influenza. JCI INSIGHT, 2(7), e91868.American Society for Clinical Investigation. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.91868.

Benam, K.H., & Ingber, D.E. (2016). Commendation for Exposing Key Advantage of Organ Chip Approach. CELL SYSTEMS, 3(5), 411.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.cels.2016.11.009.

Benam, K.H., Novak, R., Nawroth, J., Hirano-Kobayashi, M., Ferrante, T.C., Choe, Y., Prantil-Baun, R., Weaver, J.C., Bahinski, A., Parker, K.K., & Ingber, D.E. (2016). Matched-Comparative Modeling of Normal and Diseased Human Airway Responses Using a Microengineered Breathing Lung Chip. CELL SYSTEMS, 3(5), 456-+.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.cels.2016.10.003.

Benam, K.H., Villenave, R., Lucchesi, C., Varone, A., Hubeau, C., Lee, H.H., Alves, S.E., Salmon, M., Ferrante, T.C., Weaver, J.C., Bahinski, A., Hamilton, G.A., & Ingber, D.E. (2016). Small airway-on-a-chip enables analysis of human lung inflammation and drug responses in vitro. NATURE METHODS, 13(2), 151-+.Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi: 10.1038/NMETH.3697.

Benam, K.H., Dauth, S., Hassell, B., Herland, A., Jain, A., Jang, K.J., Karalis, K., Kim, H.J., MacQueen, L., Mahmoodian, R., Musah, S., Torisawa, Y.S., van der Meer, A.D., Villenave, R., Yadid, M., Parker, K.K., & Ingber, D.E. (2015). Engineered In Vitro Disease Models. ANNUAL REVIEW OF PATHOLOGY: MECHANISMS OF DISEASE, VOL 10, 10(1), 195-262.Annual Reviews. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pathol-012414-040418.

Cole, S.L., Benam, K.H., McMichael, A.J., & Ho, L.P. (2014). Involvement of the 4-1BB/4-1BBL Pathway in Control of Monocyte Numbers by Invariant NKT Cells. JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY, 192(8), 3898-3907.The American Association of Immunologists. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1302385.

Kok, W.L., Denney, L., Benam, K., Cole, S., Clelland, C., McMichael, A.J., & Ho, L.P. (2012). Pivotal Advance: Invariant NKT cells reduce accumulation of inflammatory monocytes in the lungs and decrease immune-pathology during severe influenza A virus infection. JOURNAL OF LEUKOCYTE BIOLOGY, 91(3), 357-368.Oxford University Press (OUP). doi: 10.1189/jlb.0411184.

Benam, K.H., Kok, W.L., McMichael, A.J., & Ho, L.P. (2011). Alternative Spliced CD1D Transcripts in Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells. PLOS ONE, 6(8), e22726.Public Library of Science (PLoS). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022726.

Si, L., Bai, H., Rodas, M., Cao, W., Oh, C.Y., Jiang, A., Moller, R., Hoagland, D., Oishi, K., Horiuchi, S., Uhl, S., Blanco-Melo, D., Albrecht, R.A., Liu, W.C., Jordan, T., Nilsson-Payant, B.E., Logue, J., Haupt, R., McGrath, M., Weston, S., Nurani, A., Kim, S.M., Zhu, D.Y., Benam, K.H., Goyal, G., Gilpin, S.E., Prantil-Baun, R., Powers, R.K., Carlson, K., Frieman, M., tenOever, B.R., & Ingber, D.E. Human organ chip-enabled pipeline to rapidly repurpose therapeutics during viral pandemics. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. doi: 10.1101/2020.04.13.039917.

Si, L., Prantil-Baun, R., Benam, K.H., Bai, H., Rodas, M., Burt, M., & Ingber, D.E. Discovery of influenza drug resistance mutations and host therapeutic targets using a human airway chip. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. doi: 10.1101/685552.

Benam, K.H., Kaiser, A., Salem, C., Alvarenga, B., Pagliaro, A., & Smith, K. (2022). A Robotic System for Real-Time Analysis of Inhaled Sub-Micron and Microparticles. In AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE, 205.

Benam, K.H. (2020). Organ-on-Chip Meets Immunology: Let's Start with the Lungs. In JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY, 204(1).

Benam, K., Novak, R., Villenave, R., Lucchesi, C., Hubeau, C., Nawroth, J., Hirano-Kobayashi, M., Ferrante, T.C., Choe, Y., Prantil-Baun, R., Weaver, J.C., Hamilton, G.A., Bahinski, A., Parker, K.K., & Ingber, D.E. (2017). Human Small Airway-On-A-Chip: A Novel Microphysiological System To Model Lung Inflammation, Accelerate Drug Development And Enable Inhalational Toxico-Analysis. In AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE, 195.

Benam, H.K., Villenave, R., Lucchesi, C., Hubeau, C., Varone, A., Ferrante, T.C., Weaver, J.C., Bahinski, A., Hamilton, G.A., & Ingber, D.E. (2016). Small airway-on-a-chip: a novel microphysiological system to study human lung inflammation in vitro. In EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY, 46, (p. 11).

Benam, K.H., Novak, R., Villenave, R., Lucchesi, C., Hubeau, C., Nawroth, J., Hirano-Kobayashi, M., Ferrante, T.C., Choe, Y., Prantil-Baun, R., Weaver, J.C., Hamilton, G.A., Bahinski, A., & Ingber, D.E. (2016). Human small airway-on-a-chip: A novel microphysiological system to model lung inflammation, accelerate drug development and enable inhalational toxico-analysis. In EUROPEAN RESPIRATORY JOURNAL, 48.European Respiratory Society. doi: 10.1183/13993003.congress-2016.OA4542.

Villenave, R., Benam, K., Lucchesi, C., Varone, A., Hubeau, C., Lee, H., Alves, S., Salmon, M., Ferrante, T., Weaver, J., Bahinski, A., Hamilton, G., & Ingber, D.E. (2016). A Microfluidic Small Airway-On-Chip Enables Analysis Of Human Lung Inflammation And Therapeutic Responses In Vitro. In AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE, 193.