Biological and Biomimetic Materials and Mechanics (BioMnM) Lab

Current Research Projects

coming soon!

Past Research Projects

Collagen Fiber Mechanics of Sclera

Sclera, the outer shell of our eyes, consists of a dense fibrous structure of collagen fibers. Here, we are developing a fibrous finite element (FFE) model of sclera to investigate the role of collagen structure in sclera biomechanics in glaucoma. It is a novel macro-scale sclera model that directly includes microscopy-derived collagen fibers and fiber-fiber interactions. The FFE model provides novel insights into multi-scale sclera biomechanics connecting fiber-scale deformation to macro-scale tissue response. 
Related publications:
  1. SB3C 2022 (Link)

Nanoindentation of Soft Tissues

Viscoelasticity is a universal property of soft tissues that affects cellular processes and tissue pathologies. Characterizing tissue viscoelastic properties is crucial but remains challenging, especially at the cellular length scale. We developed an indentation-based experimental and theoretical framework to characterize the viscoelasticity of soft tissues. We implemented the framework to measure the micromechanical viscoelastic and poroelastic properties of murine heart, kidney, and liver tissues. 
Related publications:
  1. J of Biomechanics 2020 (Link)

Micromechanics of Fibrous Structures in Biology

Fibrous structures are ubiquitous in biology. Examples include extracellular matrices of collagenous tissue, cell cytoskeleton, and blood clots. Here, we study three mechanics problems of biological fibrous structures- (i) Strain stiffening and nonlinear Poisson effect in fibrous collagen structures [1,2], (ii) how cell-like inclusions affect mechanics of fibrous collagen structures [3] and (iii) failure of fibrous structures [4]. 
Related publications:
  1. J of Applied Mechanics 2018  (Link)
  2. J of Biomechanical Engineering 2018  (Link)
  3. Physical Review E 2019 (Link)
  4. Int. J of Solids and Structures 2019 (Link)

Multi-Scale Mechanics of Hydrogels

Mechanical properties of hydrogels are important for their biomedical applications as biomaterials. In this work, we are using multi-scale mechanical testing to characterize macro mechanics, viscoelasticity, and poroelasticity of hydrogels. We have established a rational strategy to design hydrogels with tissue-like viscoelasticity. We further developed a composite hydrogel that simultaneously provides excellent toughness and poroviscoelasticity, suitable for tissue engineering applications. 
Related publications:
  1. J of Materials Research 2021 (Link)
  2. Experimental Mechanics 2021 (Link)

Mechanics of Fungal Mycelium

Mycelium is the fibrous root of fungi that can be engineered to develop low density and self-growing material. In this work, we explore mycelium mechanics through an integrated experimental and computational approach. The experimental work [1] has established mycelium as a novel biofoam material with strain dependent hysteresis and cyclic softening effect. A multi-scale stochastic continuum model [2,3] is developed which captures its nonlinear mechanical behavior. 
Related publications:
  1. Scientific Reports 2017  (Link)
  2. Materials & Design 2018  (Link)
  3. Journal of Materials Science 2019 (Link)