Christopher S. Chen


Skirkanich Professor of Innovation in Bioengineering

School of Engineering and Applied Science


Ph.D. in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

M.D., Harvard Medical School


Chris’ research interests include the application of microfabrication and nanotechnology to engineering cells and regeneration.  His lab has developed approaches to control the nanoscale adhesive interactions between cells and their surrounding scaffolds, and uses them to control cell function.  Chris is particularly engaged in understanding how to engineer stem cell function and tissue vacularization, and the relationship between tissue architecture and tissue function.







Jason A. Burdick

Wilf Family Term Assistant Professor of Bioengineering

School of Engineering and Applied Science


Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, University of Colorado


Jason's research focuses on the development of novel polymeric biomaterials for applications in tissue regeneration and drug delivery.  He and his group seek to advance synthetic chemistry and materials processing to provide solutions to organ and tissue shortages.  Through precise control over polymer chemistry and structure, Jason and his colleagues manipulate the properties of materials both spatially and temporally through material patterning and degradation, in order to explore advanced techniques for the regeneration of complex tissues, controlling stem cell behavior, and promoting triggered drug delivery.





John C. Crocker


Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

School of Engineering and Applied Science


Ph.D. in Physics, University of Chicago


John’s research concerns the mechanical properties of small objects, ranging from single molecules to living cells.  His work is centered on self-assembly, growing useful devices and structures from smaller parts in a biology-inspired, organic fashion.  John uses DNA as a programmable adhesive, directing microscopic parts to spontaneously form a crystal-like ordered pattern.  His lab has pioneered new methods for quantifying the mechanical response of both single molecules and cells to small forces.







Kurt Hankenson


Associate Professor of Cell Biology

School of Veterinary Medicine


MS in Orthopaedic Biology, Purdue University

PhD in Extracellular Matrix Biochemistry, University of Washington

DVM (Veterinary Medicine), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


The goal of Kurt’s research is to better understand cellular and molecular mechanisms of bone remodeling and regeneration. With this knowledge we will be better equipped to develop treatments to restore bone mass in osteoporosis and enhance regeneration of bone defects and non-unions. This research focus has developed around two intersecting themes: (1) the regulation of bone cell function by extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, and (2) the regulation of marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) quiescence, proliferation, fate determination, and differentiation.







Kathleen J. Stebe


Richer and Elizabeth Goodwin Professor of Engineering and Applied Science


Chair, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering School of Engineering and Applied Science

Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, The City University of New York


Kate is interested in complex fluids, surface tension, surfactants, and non-equilibrium interfaces, with applications ranging from microfluidics to nanotechnology. Specifically, one aspect of her research program focuses on using microfabrication, microfluidics and surface functionalization techniques to construct 2-D and 3-D structures to study the response of a cell to its bounding environment.  These structures are exploited by her cellular engineering collaborators in studies of ranging from cellular adhesion dynamics, stem cell differentiation, to cell signaling.







Paul Janmey


Associate Professor, Depts of Physiology, Physics, Bioengineering School of Medicine


PhD in Chemistry, University of Wisconsin


Paul’s lab studies the physical effect of forces and the stiffness of the extracellular matrix on cell structure, differentiation, and growth. In related work, we measure the structure and mechanics of cytoskeletal polymers using a variety of imaging, scattering, and rheologic methods. Forces are generally sensed and transduced at the plasma membrane, and transmembrane receptors linked to signaling pathways involving polyphosphoinositides are key elements in mechanotransduction. Other projects in his lab study how changes in cell membrane structure mediated by inositol phospholipids lead to production of signals that remodel the cytoskeleton.







Robert L. Mauck


Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

School of Medicine


Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University


Rob’s research program focuses on the engineering of musculoskeletal tissues, with a particular focus on articular cartilage, the knee meniscus, and the intervertebral disc. His group uses rigorous mechanical and molecular analyses to understand the emerging functional properties of engineered tissues, to precisely define the criteria and routes toward ‘success’ from native tissue structure and function, and to focus technology development on improving these critical features in engineered constructs. Specifically, this work employs adult mesenchymal stem cells, custom mechanobiologic culture conditions, and novel scaffolding technologies to enhance and direct functional tissue development.






Casim A. Sarkar


Assistant Professor of Bioengineering

School of Engineering and Applied Science


Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Casim's research focuses on elucidating fundamental principles that underlie individual biomolecular interactions as well as molecular networks within cells.  At the molecular scale, Casim mimics principles of Darwinian evolution in the laboratory in order to rapidly engineer better protein therapeutics. At the cellular scale, he examines how natural and synthetic protein networks can be manipulated to predictably tune cell decision-making.  Through the integration and application of these approaches, Casim and his colleagues are developing novel therapies for cancer, diabetes, and tissue regeneration.







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