My research aims to use biomaterial approaches to understand outside-in-signaling of cells. Extracellular signals such as stiffness of the environment, presence of proteins, and tensile/contractile forces can guide cells in a variety of functions such as cell growth, migration, and stem cell differentiation. My goal is to research how these extracellular signals propagate into the nucleus and influence the epigenetic landscape in order to change gene expression.

  • Influence of substrate stiffness on epigenetics

    The primary objective of this project is to explore how matrix mechanics and geometric confinement influence histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity in fibroblast culture.

    The propagation of mechanochemical signals from the extracellular matrix to the cell nucleus has emerged as a central feature in regulating cellular differentiation and de-differentiation. I wish to explore how mechanotransduction influences the activity of chromatin modifying enzymes that direct gene expression programs, specifically histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity.

     

  • Engineered biomaterials for somatic cell reprogramming

    The aim of this project is to design biomaterials to understand somatic cell reprogramming

  • Traction force microscopy for live cell imaging

    The aim of this project is to develop a new TF technique for measuring traction force in real time

     

     

In addition to my Ph.D research, I have a special interest in engineering education. My research is focused on curriculum development and increasing the representation of minorities in STEM.

  • Effective programming for increasing female representation in academic focused careers in engineering

    The goal of this project to develop effective programming to increase competitiveness of female engineering graduate students in careers in academia

  • Rubric design for laboratory courses

    The aim of the project is to design effective rubrics for decreasing TA grading variability

  • Engineering focused rhetoric course

    The goal of this project to develop a course to improve technical writing and communication skills of freshmen in engineering