Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center, 4007
Kristen L. Billiar
Understanding the mechanisms by which mechanical forces regulate the development and healing of connective tissues and the pathogenesis of disease is becoming one of the foremost problems at the intersection of biomechanics and cell biology—it has spawned the field of mechanobiology.
In our lab we use precisely engineered, two-dimensional and three-dimensional constructs as model systems to study the effects of external internal (cell-generated) forces on cell behavior, matrix biochemistry, and the biomechanics of soft tissues and biomaterials. We have developed many innovative systems to modulate the cells’ mechanical environment by applying external multiaxial strain fields, creating compliant tissue boundary conditions, and controlling the surrounding matrix stiffness.
We also study the mechanics of soft tissue for augmentation and repair. To date, tissue systems studied include skin, heart valves, coronary and carotid arteries, myocardium, lung, small intestinal submucosa, and sternum.
At the undergraduate level, I enjoy relating the fundamentals of biomechanics to students both in the classroom and through authentic laboratory experiences, mentoring students in the lab, and advising capstone design teams. At the graduate level, I derive great pleasure from seeing my doctoral and master’s students transform into independent researchers, teaching tissue mechanics and tissue engineering, and writing grant proposals. I also enjoy interacting with the community and mentoring middle school students and their teachers, in both our laboratory and their classrooms.
- Tissue Mechanics
- Functional tissue engineering
- Wound healing and regeneration
- Biomaterials characterization
- BS, Cornell University, 1991
- MSE, University of Pennsylvania, 1992
- PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 1998
- Kural MH, Billiar KL. Mechanoregulation of valvular interstitial cell phenotype in the third dimension. Biomaterials. 2014 Jan;35(4):1128-37. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.10.047.
- Rudnicki MS, Cirka HA, Aghvami M, Sander EA, Wen Q, Billiar KL. Nonlinear strain stiffening is not sufficient to explain how far cells can feel on fibrous protein gels. Biophys J. 2013 Jul 2;105(1):11-20. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2013.05.032.
- Wang L, Wu Z, Yang C, Zheng J, Bach R, Muccigrosso D, Billiar K, Maehara A, Mintz GS, Tang D. IVUS-based FSI models for human coronary plaque progression study: components, correlation and predictive analysis. Ann Biomed Eng. 2015 Jan;43(1):107-21. doi: 10.1007/s10439-014-1118-1.
- Cirka HA, Koehler SA, Farr WW, Billiar KL. Eccentric rheometry for viscoelastic characterization of small, soft, anisotropic, and irregularly shaped biopolymer gels and tissue biopsies. Ann Biomed Eng. 2012 Aug;40(8):1654-65. doi: 10.1007/s10439-012-0532-5.
- Kural MH, Cai M, Tang D, Gwyther T, Zheng J, Billiar KL. Planar biaxial characterization of diseased human coronary and carotid arteries for computational modeling. J Biomech. 2012 Mar 15;45(5):790-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2011.11.019.
- Throm Quinlan, A.M., Sierad, L.N., Capulli, A.K., Firstenberg, L.E., and Billiar, K.L., "Combining dynamic stretch and tunable stiffness to probe cell mechanobiology in vitro," PLoS ONE 6(8): e23272, 2011. (open access)
- Abu-Rub, M., Billiar, K., van Es, M., Knight, A., Rodriquez, B., Zeugolis, D., McMahon, S., Windebank, A., and Pandit, A., "Nano-textured self-assembled aligned collagen hydrogels promote directional neurite guidance and overcome inhibition by myelin associated glycoprotein" Soft Matter, 2011, 7, 2770-2781. DOI: 10.1039/C0SM01062F
- Balestrini, J., Skorinko, J., Hera, A., Gaudette, G., and Billiar, K., "Applying controlled inhomogeneous deformation for in vitro mechanobiological studies," Biomechan Model Mechanobiol, Volume 9(3):329-44, 2010. DOI 10.1007/s10237-009-0179-9; PMID: 20169395
Labs and Centers
- Fulbright Scholar, Ireland, 2009-2010
- BMES Student Activities Committee Chair, 2008-2011
- Trustees’ Award for Academic Advising
- Romeo L. Moruzzi Young Faculty Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Education
- BME 2511. INTRODUCTION TO BIOMECHANICS AND BIOTRANSPORT
- BME 3505. BONE BIOMECHANICS LABORATORY
- BME 3506. TISSUE BIOMECHANICS LABORATORY
- BME 4300. MQP CAPSTONE DESIGN
- BME 430X. MQP CAPSTONE DESIGN
- BME 4504. BIOMECHANICS
- BME 552. TISSUE MECHANICS
- BME 595. SPECIAL TOPICS IN BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING
- DR KLB. DIRECTED RESEARCH/GRADUATE
- ME 4504. BIOMECHANICS
- ME 552. TISSUE MECHANICS