William Murphy, MS, PhD

William L. Murphy, MS, PhD

Co-Director, Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center
Harvey D. Spangler Professor, Biomedical Engineering
5009 WIMR
1111 Highland Drive
Madison, WI 53705
(608) 265-9918


  • Bachelor of Science
    Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL, 1998
  • Master of Science
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2000
  • PhD
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2002
  • Postdoctoral Fellow
    University of Chicago, IL, 2002-2004

Research Interests

Dr. Murphy's fields of interest and practice include creation of new biomaterials using bioinspired approaches, using biomaterials to define the stem cell microenvironment, the development of biomaterials for tissue regeneration (tissue engineering) and new approaches for drug delivery and gene therapy.

Active Grants


Biomaterials for local regulation of growth factor signaling

Funding Source: National Institutes of Health (5R01HL093282-04)
This proposed research program will develop a new class of materials that can be used to control the effects of growth factors during engineered tissue development, particularly vascular tissue development.

Microsphere-mediated differentiation of embryonic stem cells

Funding Source: National Institutes of Health (1R01GM088291-01 - PI: McDevitt – Georgia Tech)
This project will deliver molecules to the interior of stem cell aggregates to control differentiation and new tissue formation.

Modulation of the Immune System to Improve Ligament/Ligament Graft Healing

Funding Source:  National Institutes of Health (5R01AR059916-03)
This project is to develop local methods of delivery to modulate immune response during ligament healing. The overall goal is to reduce fibrosis and increase regeneration in rat MCL and ACL models. This is done by modulation of various phenotypes of macrophages.

Controlling Soluble Morphogen Gradients in Biomaterials

Funding Source: National Science Foundation (CBET-0745563)
This project is designed to: 1) determine the parameters that control soluble protein gradients in synthetic hydrogels; and 2) use hydrogel matrices to study the influence of morphogen gradients on adult stem cell phenotype, with the ultimate goal of using these systems to engineer tissue interfaces.

Surface engineering strategies for studying human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (hMSCs)

Funding Source: National Science Foundation-ARRA (DMR-0906123)
This project is proposed to develop model platforms that will allow for stable presentation of cell adhesion motifs over an extended time frame, to clearly address the hypothesis: ECM-derived cell adhesion ligands strongly influence osteogenic hMSC differentiation.

Silicate bioceramic structure control on Mesenchymal Stem Cell proliferation and differentiation

Funding Source: National Science Foundation (DMR-0906817)
The results of the proposed work could have a significant impact on the development of third-generation cell-and gene-affecting bioceramics with improved osteointegration properties, by providing an a priori basis for designing bioactive materials that control Si, Ca and P levels at optimized levels for hMSC proliferation, differentiation and osteoblast activity.

Regulators of cellular microenvironment and multiscale osteointegration

Funding Source: National Science Foundation (DMR-1105591)
The proposed research and alalysis will provide new insight into the rational design of biomaterials that interface with bone.

Linkage of biologics to the scaffold platform to promote large bone defect healing

Funding Source: AO Research Foundation
The proposed research is expected to result in an adaptable, biologically active scaffold, which may significantly increase the volume of bone that can be regenerated in a critical defect.

Large bone defect healing with osteogenic differentiation of stem cell aggregates via incorporated osteoinductive microspheres

Funding Source: Case Western Reserve University/AO Foundation (PI: Alsberg)
This project combines drug delivery and stem cell delivery to induce bone regeneration in large defects.

Human iPS/ES cell-based models for predictive neural toxicity and teratogenicity

Funding Source: National Institutes of Health (1UH2TR000506-01 - PI: Thomson)
This proposal develops a new approach to generate micro-tissues for drug and toxin screening.

Probing biochemical/biophysical influences on endothelial-mesenchymal transition

Funding Source: National Institutes of Health (1R21EB016381-01)
This proposal explores the effect of the culture environment on endothelial-to-mesenchymal transformation.

Osteoblast fate and cell signaling during bone regeneration

Funding Source: AO Foundation (PI – Chamberlain)
The goal of this propsal is to explore bone regeneration at a fundamental level utilizing a mouse digit regeneration model to study the molecular mechanisms. Although digit regeneration is an established model, many aspects of true bone regeneration have yet to be elucidated. We propose to use genetic tools to specifically label the bone lineage, follow their fate, and carry out molecular profiling, identifying potential regenerative targets.
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