• Title of project: Soft Tissue Mechanics of Contracting Cells
  • Funding agency (Optional): National Science Foundation
  • Description: Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine hold the promise of rebuilding organs for transplants and reconstructing diseased tissues.  A critical challenge for tissue engineering is the ability to design them to mimic mechanical properties of the tissues they replace. Biological cells are not passive but actively alter their surroundings by reaching out, grabbing onto the protein-based scaffold around them and contracting.  Cell-generated stresses are an important consideration in human health and disease because they alter mechanical and failure behavior of tissues.  The goal of this project will be to measure and model the effect of living cells as they contract and continuously alter mechanical properties of engineered tissues. Computational bio-composite models that quantify the contributions of cell contraction to the constitutive response of engineered tissues will be developed. Consolidated experimental and modeling results will highlight design differences based on gel, cell shape, cell density, and cell contraction with the goal of providing new guidelines for customizing properties of tissues for healthcare applications.
  • Restrictions/Constraints: N/A
  • Knowledge and skills needed: Students with interest in mechanics and modeling preferred.  Independent thinkers with some knowledge of biological systems are appreciated.
  • How to apply: Send an email to Dr. Sarntinoranont with a copy of your CV and statement of interest.
  • Faculty contact/webpage: Malisa Sarntinoranont,,