I was born and raised in Webster, NY, a snowy town on Lake Ontario. I earned my BS in Bioengineering and the University of Pittsburgh. At U of Pitt, I worked in a variety of biomechanics labs until landing in Dr. Thomas Gilbert's lab where I developed a system for pressure-controlled culture of chondrocyte-seeded, decellularized tracheal matrices. I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Bursac at the BMES conference in Pittsburgh in 2009 and joined his lab in the summer of 2010. My project focuses on the creation of biomimetic skeletal muscle constructs and their potential use for muscle replacement therapeutics and in vitro model systems. I have worked to improve the functional and structural properties of the engineered muscle in attempt to match native levels and, further, to optimize the maintenance of local muscle resident stem cells, known as satellite cells. We have shown that, with the presence of satellite cells, the engineered constructs are able to undergo self-repair in vitro and undergo continued myogenesis upon in vivo implantation. Outside of lab, I enjoy exploring the city of Durham and the triangle area, coaching/playing basketball, and traveling as much as my wallet lets me.
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My project is engineering biomimetic, highly-functional skeletal muscle tissues capable of self-repair in vitro and survival, vascularization, and maturation in vivo.