Gateway 4012
Affiliated Department or Office
BS Chemical Engineering University of Massachusetts – Amherst 2006
PhD Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 2012
Postdoc Biomedical Engineering Tufts University 2012-2016

The overall objectives of my research are to develop clinically translatable tissue regeneration and drug delivery strategies, and three-dimensional, in vitro human disease models using biologically-derived biomaterials. We will utilize techniques from engineering, chemistry and biology to address these research areas, including chemical modifications to alter drug-material interactions, small molecule and macromolecule conjugates to direct cell fate, and multi-cellular tissue/disease systems for paracrine signaling and direct cell-cell interactions. My research is focused on biomaterials and their applications in tissue engineering and drug delivery. During my PhD, I worked with photo-crosslinked PEGDA hydrogel systems to study repair strategies for articular cartilage diseases. I also developed low density, bioactive-electrospun fiber scaffolds for repair of articular cartilage defects. My postdoctoral research used silk fibroin proteins from Bombyx mori silkworm cocoons for (1) drug delivery systems for oncology therapeutics and HIV treatment/prevention and (2) tissue regeneration of the kidney and pancreas. In the lab and the classroom, I truly enjoy teaching. I am especially excited to mentor students on their Major Qualifying Projects. I strive to ensure that students are able to (1) apply theoretical concepts to practical applications and (2) fully understand the tasks being performed.

Scholarly Work

Ornell KJ, Mistretta KS, Ralston CQ, Coburn JM. (2021) Development of a stacked, porous silk scaffold neuroblastoma model for investigating spatial differences in cell and drug responsiveness. Biomaterials Science. 9:1272-1290. 2021

Ornell KJ, Mistretta KS, Newman E, Ralston CQ, Coburn JM. (2019) Three-dimensional, scaffolded tumor model to study cell-driven microenvironment effects and therapeutic responses. ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering. 5(12): 6742-6754. 2019

Abbott A, Bond K, Chiba T, Sims-Lucas S, Oxburgh L, Coburn JM. (2021) Development of a mechanically matched silk scaffolded 3D clear cell renal cell carcinoma model, Materials Science and Engineering: C. 126:11214. 2021

Phan NV, Wright T, Xu J, Coburn JM. (2020) In vitro biocompatibility of decellularized cultured plant cell-derived matrices. ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering. 6(2): 822-832. 2020

Ornell KJ, Taylor JS, Zeki J, Ikegaki N, Shimada H, Coburn JM, Chiu B. (2020) Local delivery of Dinutuximab from silk protein biomaterial for treatment of orthotopic neuroblastoma model. 2020

Montoya NV, Peterson R, Ornell KJ, Albrecht DR, Coburn JM. (2020) Silk particle production based on silk/PVA phase separation using a microfabricated co-flow device. MDPI Molecules. 25(4): 890. 2020

Professional Highlights & Honors
2021 Trustee Award for Outstanding Academic Advising, 2021

2020 WPI Sigma Xi Outstanding Junior Faculty Award , 2020

2020 Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigators, Royal Society of Chemistry,

2019 - 2020 WPI BME Teacher of the Year Award,

Ruth L. Kirschtein NIH/NIA Predoctoral Fellowship (2010-2012),


Spectrum News 1
WPI professor developing transparent wound dressing from kombucha

Spectrum News 1 spoke with Jeannine Coburn, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, about her $600,000 National Science Foundation CAREER Award to develop a transparent wound dressing that traces its origins to her homemade kombucha. Spectrum 1’s Louisville, Ky., outlet also featured Coburn’s research.