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Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

From Molecules to Cells: Translating Materials for Biomedical Applications

Research in the area of Biomaterials includes drug delivery, therapeutics, diagnostics, tissue engineering, as well as classical biomedical implants.  The field of biomaterials can be broadly defined as the design, synthesis, and study of natural or synthetic materials, to either detect and image disease (diagnostics) or to repair, restore or replace lost function (therapeutics). While such materials have been around since the beginning of medicine, continuous improvements over the past decades have been in the understanding of how the body interacts with implanted materials led to the progression of this field from the use of anything which was surgically available to use of materials which were deemed biocompatible.

Recent advances have been in exploring materials which are not passive and walled off by the body but actively participate in the body's efforts to repair itself. Such biomimetic and bioactive materials are designed to more accurately interact with the body's natural structures and functions from macro to micro to nano and molecular levels.

Specific materials-related research in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University focuses on:

Drug Delivery: Developing a better understanding of therapeutic delivery to create clinically relevant delivery profiles, in situ reloading, and targeted delivery.  Applications include cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, inflammation, and ophthalmological diseases.

Tissue Engineering: Combining stem cell and biomolecule delivery approaches to create tissues in vitro and promote their integration and repair in vivo.  Applications include cardiovascular, orthopedic and neural tissues.

Nanomedicine: Creation of nano and micro platforms which are capable of delivering therapeutic payloads and respond to delivery stimulus. Applications include imaging agents, vaccines, immunotherapies, and other targeted payloads

Biomedical Implants:  Using structure/function relationships and bio-inspired approaches to develop new categories of biomaterials which better sense and/or mimic their biological environment and are capable of changing to meet the clinical need.


affiliated Labs and Centers

Case Center for Biomaterials
Institute for Advanced Materials



Eben Alsberg, Ph.D.

Biomimetic tissue engineering; innovative biomaterials and drug delivery vehicles for functional tissue regeneration and cancer therapy; control of stem cell fate decision; precise temporal and spatial presentation of signals to regulate cell behavior; mechanotransduction and the influence of mechanics on cell behavior and tissue formation; and cell-cell interactions

James M. Anderson, M.D., Ph.D.

Blood and tissue/material interactions as they relate to implantable devices and biomaterials; The cellular and humoral responses to implanted materials


James P. Basilion, Ph.D.

High resolution imaging of endogenous gene expression; definition of "molecular signatures" for imaging and treatment of cancer and other diseases; generating and utilizing genomic data to define informative targets; strategies for applying non-invasive imaging to drug development; and novel molecular imaging probes and paradigms

Jeffrey R. Capadona, Ph.D.

To develop an understanding for how the neuroinflammatory response facilitates acute and long-term neural device performance.


Steven Eppell, Ph.D.

Biomaterials; instrumentation; nanoscale structure-function analysis of orthopaedic biomaterials; and scanning probe microscopy and spectroscopy of skeletal tissues


Efstathios (Stathis) Karathanasis, Ph.D.

Cancer nanotechnology; Pediatric nanomedicine; Therapeutics for brain tumors; Targeted treatments for metastatic disease; Multi-ligand nanoparticles; Precise targeting of disease; Contrast agents for MR, CT and nuclear imaging; Molecular imaging

Zheng-Rong Lu, Ph.D.

Drug delivery and molecular imaging; novel targeted imaging agents for molecular imaging; novel MRI contrast agents; image-guided therapy and drug delivery; polymeric drug delivery systems; multi-functional delivery systems for nucleic acids

Anirban Sen Gupta, Ph.D.

Targeted drug delivery; targeted molecular imaging; image-guided therapy; platelet substitutes; novel polymeric biomaterials for tissue engineering scaffolds


Sam Senyo, Ph.D.

The Senyo Laboratory seeks to elucidate factors that regulate basal tissue injury response and early development to devise effective strategies for therapeutic regeneration, particularly in the heart. We approach this goal at several levels by integrating information derived from cross-disciplinary techniques of molecular biology, biophysics, polymer chemistry and biomimicry.

Nicole F. Steinmetz, Ph.D.

The Steinmetz Lab is developing plant virus-based nanotechnologies; through structure-function studies we are beginning to understand how to tailor these materials appropriately for applications in medicine and biotechnology. Research in the Steinmetz Lab is organized into three (3) research thrusts: synthetic virology/materials, drug delivery and imaging, vaccines and immunotherapies.

Horst von Recum, Ph.D.

Affinity-based delivery of small molecule drugs and biomolecules for applications in device infection, HIV, orthopedics, cardiovascular, ophthalmology and cancer; directed differentiation of stem cells for tissue engineering applications, such as endothelial cells, cardiomyocytes, motor neurons and T-cells


Research Faculty

Oju Jeon, Ph.D.

Development of biomaterials to create 3D Bioprinted constructs for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.


Sourabh Shukla, Ph.D.

Bio-inspired nanotechnology towards the development of innovative cancer therapeutic strategies; Pre-clinical evaluation of viral nanoparticles-based cancer therapeutic & diagnostic platforms; Cancer vaccines and immunotherapies.


Cong Truc Huynh, Ph.D.

Polymeric drug delivery systems; biomaterials for functional tissue regeneration; sustained and/or controlled delivery of bioactive molecules to control stem cell fate; cell-cell interactions; polymer synthesis and functionalization.

Mei Zhang, Ph.D.

Nanotechnology for Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment; Imaging and Manipulation of Tumor Microenvironment; Cancer Immunotherapy; Adoptive T cell Immunotherapy


Associated Faculty

Akkus, Ozan
Associate Professor

Case Western Reserve University
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

phone: (216) 368-4175
fax: (216) 368-4969

Baskaran, Harihara
Associate Professor

Case School of Engineering
Chemical Engineering

phone: (216) 368-1029
fax: (216) 368-3016

Caplan, Arnold

Case Western Reserve University
Department of Biology, Mail

phone: (216) 368-3562
fax: (216) 368-4077

Derwin, Kathleen
Assistant Professor

Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine
BME, Molecular Medicine

phone: (216) 445-5982
fax: (216) 444-9198

Exner, Agata A.
Associate Professor

University Hospitals
Department of Radiology

phone: (216) 844-3544
fax: (216) 844-5922

Graham, Linda M.

Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Department of Vascular Surgery

phone: (216) 445-3298
fax: (216) 444-9198

Gurkan, Umut
Assistant Professor

Case Western Reserve University

Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

phone: (216) 368-6447

Kottke-Marchant, Kandice

Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine
Clinical Pathology

phone: (216) 444-2484
fax: (216) 445-9444

Landis, William J.
Adjunct Professor

University Of Akron
Goodyear Polymer Center

phone: (330) 972-8483
fax: (330) 972-5290

Muschler, George F.

Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine
Orthopaedics, Molecular Medicine

phone: (216) 444-5338
fax: (216) 445-6574

Rimnac, Clare

Case School of Engineering
Mechanical Aerospace Engineering

phone: (216) 368-6442
fax: (216) 368-3007

Rowan, Stuart J.

Case School of Engineering
Macromolecular Science and Engineering, EMAC

phone: (216) 368-4242
fax: (216) 368-4202

Zborowski, Maciej
Associate Professor

Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine
BME, Molecular Medicine

phone: (216) 445-9330
fax: (216) 444-9198

Ziats, Nicholas P.
Associate Professor

University Hospitals

phone: (216) 368-5176
fax: (216) 844-8004