Zaruhi Karabekian, PhD

Adjunct Lecturer

Zaruhi (Zara) joined CSE as an Adjunct Lecturer in 2022.  Z. Karabekian received a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Eastern Virginia Medical School and Old Dominion University in 2001. She spent next twenty-one years in the USA working at the National Institute of Health’s, Tolergenics startup and The George Washington University. Upon returning to the Motherland, she applied herself as teacher at Ayb High school and a Head of the Immunology and Tissue Engineering Laboratory at the Orbeli Institute of Physiology of NAS RA. Her current research interest is immunological assessment of newly generated tissues and/or organs. Combination of decellularization techniques or 3D printing with conditioning with mesenchymal stem cells following recellularization results in unique tissues that have never been assessed for their viability, durability, and immunogenicity.

Higher Education

2001, PhD in Biomedical Sciences

Eastern Virginia Medical School and Old Dominion University

1992, MS in Biology

Yerevan State University

1989, BS in Biology

Yerevan State University

Courses taught: 

  • Immunology
  • Human Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Basics of Tissue Engineering


  1. Moghrovyan A., Parseghyan L., Sevoyan G., Darbinyan A., Sahakyan N, Gaboyan M, Karabekian Z, Voskanyan A. Antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, and cytotoxic properties of Origanum vulgare essential oil, rich with β-caryophyllene and β-caryophyllene oxide. Korean J Pain. 2022 Apr 1;35(2):140-151.
  2. Arestakesyan H., Muselimyan, Posnack N., Sarian A., Grigorian V., Ayvazyan N., Voskanyan A., Sarvazyan N., Karabekian Z. The functional alteration of rat neonatal cardiomyocytes and cardiac fibroblasts caused by Macrovipera lebetina obtusa venom. Submitted to CBP part 2. Manuscript # CBPC-S-20-00548
  3. Ayvazyan N., Ghukasyan G., Ghulikyan L., Kirakosyan G., Sevoyan G., Voskanyan A., Karabekian Z. The contribution of phospholipase A2 and metalloproteinases to the synergistic action of viper venom on the bioenergetic profile of Vero cells.  Submitted to BBA-Bioenergetics. Manuscript # BBABIO-20-154
  4. Karabekian. Z., Sarvazyan N. “Stem cells and basics of immunology”. Chapter 7. Basics of Tissue engineering: Protocols and Practical Exercises. Edited by Narine Sarvazyan. 2019. Springer publishing (English version in press) and Asoghik Publishing house (Armenian version ISBN 978-9939-1-0991-6)
  5. Darbinyan A.A, Antonyan M.V., Koshatashyan H.R., Gevorgyan S.S., Arestakesyan H.V., Karabekian Z., N.M. Ayvazyan, A.V. Voskanyan. Changes in microglia activity of rat brain induced by Macrovipera lebetina obtusa venom. Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflamation 2018; 5:41.
  6. H.V.Arestakesyan, Z.I.Karabekian. Adhesion properties of cardiomyocytes and cardiac fibroblasts are affected by Macrovipera lebetina obtusa crude venom. Issues in Theoretical and Clinical Medicine, Journal of Scientific and Practical Medicine, 2017, Volume 20, № 3 (113), p. 53-58.
  7. Karabekian Z, Ding H, Stybayeva G, Ivanova I, Muselimyan N, Haque A, Toma I, Posnack N, Revzin A, Leitenberg D, Laflamme M, Sarvazyan N. HLA class I depleted hESC as a source of hypoimmunogenic cells for tissue engineering applications. Tissue Engineering Part A, 2015; Vol. 21.
  8. Karabekian Z, Idrees S, Ding H, Jamshidi A, PosnackN, Sarvazyan N. Downregulation of beta-microglobulin to diminish T-lymphocyte lysis of non-syngeneic cell sources of engineered heart tissue constructs. Biomedical Materials 2015, March 16;10(3).
  9. Posnack NG, Idrees R, Ding H, Jaimes R 3rd, Stybayeva G, Karabekian Z, Laflamme MA, Sarvazyan N. Exposure to phthalates affects calcium handling and intercellular connectivity of human stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes. PLoS One. 2015 Mar 23;10(3):e0121927. doi: 10.1371
  10. Horai R, Silver PB, Chen J, Agarwal RK, Chong WP, Jittayasothorn Y, Mattapallil MJ, Nguyen S, Natarajan K, Villasmil R, Wang P, Karabekian Z, Lytton SD, Chan CC, Caspi RR.Breakdown of immune privilege and spontaneous autoimmunity in mice expressing a transgenic T cell receptor specific for a retinal autoantigen.J Autoimmun. 2013 Aug;44:21-33
  11. Karabekian Z., Gillum N., and Sarvazyan N. Immunological barriers to stem-cell based cardiac repair. Stem cell Reviews and Reports, 2011,  Jun;7(2):315-25
  12. Mattapallil MJ, Silver PB, Mattapallil JJ, Horai R, Karabekian Z, McDowell JH, Chan CC, James EA, Kwok WW, Sen HN, Nussenblatt RB, David CS, Caspi RR.  Uveitis-associated epitopes of retinal antigens are pathogenic in the humanized mouse model of uveitis and identify autoaggressive T cells. J Immunol. 2011 Aug 15;187(4):1977-85.
  13. Karabekian Z., Gillum N., Wong E., and Sarvazyan N. Effects of N-cadherin overexpression on adhesion properties of embryonic stem cells. 2009, Cell Adhesion and Migration, Vol.3, 305-10.
  14. Gillum N., Karabekian Z., Swift L., Brown R., Kay M., and Sarvazyan N. Clinically relevant concentrations of Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) uncouple cardiac syncytium. 2009. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Vol. 236 :25-38
  15. Bakunts K., Gillum N., Karabekian Z., Sarvazyan N. Formation of cardiac fibers in Matrigel matrix. 2008. BioTechniques, Vol. 44. p. 341-8.
  16. Karabekian, Z., Lytton S., Silver P.S., Sergeev Y., Jonathan P. Schneck and Rachel Caspi. Antigen/MHC Class II/Ig Dimers for Study of Uveitogenic T Cells: IRBP p161–180 Presented by both IA and IE Molecules.2005.  Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 46:3769–3776.
  17. Liang, W., Karabekian, Z., Xu, Q., Viley, A. M. and David W. Scott. B cell delivered gene transfer of human S-Ag Ig fusion protein protects from Experimental Autoimmune Uveitis 2006.Clinical Immunology, Volume 118:35-41.
  18. Karabekian Z, Hanson L.K., Slater J.S., Krishna N., Bolin L.L., Julie A. Kerry, and Ann E. Campbell. Complex formation among murine cytomegalovirus US22 proteins encoded by M139, M 140, and M141 2005. Journal of Virology, 79:1-11.
  19. Pennesi G., Mattapallil M.J., Sun Sh., Avichezer D., Silver P.S., Karabekian Z., David Ch.S., Hargrave P.A., McDowell J. H., Smith W. C., Wiggert B., Donoso L. A., Chan Ch., Caspi R.R. A humanized model of experimental autoimmune uveitis in HLA transgenic mice. 2003. Journal of Clinical Investigations, 111:1171-1180.
  20. Ciocco-Schmitt G.M., Karabekian Z., Godfrey E.W., Stenberg R.M., Campbell A.E., and Julie A. Kerry. Identification and characterization of novel murine cytomegalovirus M112/113 gene products, 2002. Virology, 294:199-208
  21. Hanson, L. K., Slater J.S., Karabekian Z., Ciocco-Schmitt G., and A. E. Campbell. Products of US22 genes M140 andM141 confer efficient replication of murine cytomegalovirus in macrophages and spleen. 2001. Journal of Virology, 75:6292-301.
  22. Hanson L.K., Slater J.S., Karabekian Z., MacDonald M.R., Virgin IV H.W., Biron Ch.A., Ruzek M.C., van Rooijen N., Ciavarra R.P., Stenberg R.M., and A.E. Replication of murine cytomegalovirus in differentiated macrophages as a determinant of viral pathogenesis.  1999. Journal of Virology, 73:5970-5980.
  23. Hanson, L.K., Dalton B.L., Karabekian Z., Farrell H.E., Rawlinson W.D., Stenberg R.M., and A.E. Campbell. Transcriptional analysis of the murine cytomegalovirus Hind III I region: Identification of a novel immediate early gene region. Virology, 260:156-164.

Research database ID:



2011 - 2014 Scientist Development Grantfrom American Heart Association, “Creating immune-silent donor cells for cardiac repair”

2010 –2011 Beginning Grant-in Aid from American Heart Association, “Preventing immune rejection of stem cell derived cardiac grafts”.

2007-2010 NIH/NHLBI F32 Research Fellowship Award,” The role of N-cadherin in stem cell engraftment to cardiac muscle”. Grant Number 1F32HL087529-01A1,

2001-2003 Intramural Research Fellowship, National Eye Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA

2000 Virology Focal Group Award, Research Day, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA, USA

1997 Graduate Student Research Paper Award, American Society for Microbiology, Virginia Branch Annual Meeting. Charlottesville, VA, USA

1997 Best Graduate Student Poster Presentation, Research Day, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA, USA

1997 Travel Award, Research Day, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA, USA

1996-97 Eastern Virginia Medical School graduate student scholarship, Norfolk, Virginia, USA

1996 Awarded American Society of Microbiology membership

Office location: 317W/PAB

Office hours: T - 13:00-14:00