Principal Investigator

Cynthia A. Reinhart-King, PhD

Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Vanderbilt University

Adjunct Professor
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Cornell University


  • S.B. Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000
  • S.B. Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000
       Minor in Biomedical Engineering
  • Ph.D. Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, 2006
       Advisor: Daniel Hammer, PhD
  • Postdoctoral Work: Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine, 2006-2007
       Advisor: Bradford Berk, MD, PhD

More about Professor Reinhart-King

Vanderbilt University Bio

Cornell Engineering Bio

Cynthia Reinhart-King, PhD

PhD Students

Lauren Hapach

Lauren Hapach

Hometown: New Brighton, PA
B.S. in Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, 2014

My project involves characterizing the molecular and cellular traits contributing to invasive and noninvasive phenotypes in cancer cells using an in vitro tumor spheroid invasion model as well as a murine spontaneous metastasis model.  I enjoy attempting to rock climb in my spare time.

Danielle LaValley

Danielle LaValley

Hometown: Ware, MA
BS in Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2009

My research investigates how tumor-specific microenvironmental cues affect angiogenesis. Specifically, I study the integration of both chemical and mechanical factors in mediating new blood vessel growth and integrity. In my free time I enjoy playing sports, hiking, and being outdoors.

Joe Miller

Joe Miller

Hometown: San Diego, CA
BA in Physics and Economics, UC Berkeley, 2010

I am interested in building reversibly mechanically dynamic tissue scaffolds to investigate cancer invasion and cell-ECM interactions.  I employ various microscopy techniques to achieve this, but specifically focus on the use of polarized light to quantify stress, strain and alignment within the ECM.  When I'm not in the lab, I enjoy time riding horses with my wife, playing sports, and indulging in scotch.

Jenna Modier

Jenna Mosier

Hometown: Arlington, TN
BS in Biological Engineering, Biomedical Concentration, Mississippi State University, 2018

Outside of the lab, I enjoy painting, running, and playing piano.

Adam Munoz

Adam Muñoz

Hometown: San Diego, California 
BS in Chemical Engineering, UC San Diego, 2015

My research interests are in the areas of angiogenesis and cancer metastasis. My current project involves developing and utilizing a microfabricated device to investigate the relationship between tumor vasculature and metastatic cell migration. Outside of the lab, I have enjoyed exploring Nashville, discovering new local beers, and drinking Joe's scotch.   

Aniqua Rahman

Aniqua Rahman

Hometown: Dhaka, Bangladesh
BS in Biomedical Engineering, CCNY, 2013

My research project is based on understanding the unidirectional mode of cancer cell migration during cancer metastasis. I create in vitro, microfabricated systems to study the molecular mechanisms of metastatic cell movements. Other than performing scientific work, I really enjoy baking and doing crafts in my leisure time.

Samantha Schwager

Samantha Schwager

Mequon, WI
BS in Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia, 2017

My research interests are in the areas of cancer heterogeneity and metastasis. My current projects investigate the contribution of the tumor microenvironment to cancer heterogeneity. Outside of lab, I enjoy piano, knitting, trying new restaurants, and traveling. 

Paul Taufalele

Paul Taufalele

Hometown: Warminster, PA
BSE in Biomedical Engineering, University of Iowa, 2017

I am interested in how mechanical information from the tissues guides angiogenesis both at the cellular and molecular level.  Specifically, I am investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying matrix stiffness-dependent endothelial cell behaviors.  Away from lab, I enjoy basketball, snowboarding, and am a sauna enthusiast.

Jacob Vanderburgh

Jacob VanderBurgh

Hometown: Rochester, NY
BS in Biomedical Engineering and Biological Sciences, University of Rochester, 2014

My project is focused on understanding the impact of complex mechanical cues on endothelial cell behaviors and their contribution to early events in atherosclerosis progression. Using microfabrication techniques, I am creating in vitro platforms that mimic in vivo vascular microenvironments to understand the impact of vascular stiffness upon endothelial cell behavior. Outside of lab, I enjoy rock climbing, hiking, and camping.

Wenjun Wang

Wenjun Wang[at]

Hometown: Xi’an, China
BS in Biological Science, Ocean University of China, 2015
MEng in Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University, 2016

My research interest is to investigate how mechanical cues modulate tumor metastasis and tumor angiogenesis. My current project is focused on studying the molecular mechanism by which matrix stiffening regulates endothelial barrier function using an in vitro polyacrylamide model as well as an ex ovo CAM model. Outside of lab, I enjoy reading and yoga.

Matthew Zanotelli

Matthew Zanotelli

Hometown: Muskego, WI
B.S. Biomedical Engineering and Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin—Madison, 2015

My research aims to investigate how the physical properties of the tumor microenvironment influence metastatic cell migration and contribute to abnormal tumor vasculature. Using biosensors and in vitro platforms, I study how mechanical cues within the extracellular matrix impact cell function and affect the energetic costs associated with cell migration and angiogenesis. When I’m not in lab, I enjoy sports and camping.

Post-Doctoral Associates

Francois Bordeleau

Francois Bordeleau, PhD

Hometown: Quebec City, Canada
BEng in Physics Engineering, 2005; MSc in Physics, 2007; PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology, Université Laval 2012

My broad interest lies in understanding how the interplay between cell mechanics and physical cues can drive different biological outcomes, particularly during disease progression. I take advantage of my dual training to investigate molecular switches that could fine tune cellular mechanical properties and, in turn, the ability of cells to adapt to external cues. I used to be avid cyclist and skier, hobbies that I try to maintain in my limited free time.

Kayla Goliwas

Kayla Goliwas, Ph.D.

Hometown: Pensacola, Florida
B.S. in Biological Sciences, Florida State University, 2011; Ph.D. in Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2017

My work aims to understand the role of tumor-stroma crosstalk in the process of breast cancer collective migration. My research specifically focuses on the influence of cancer associated fibroblasts using an in vitro model of this process. Outside of the lab, I enjoy reading and doing yoga.

Lauren Griggs

Lauren Griggs, Ph.D.

Hometown: Herndon, Virginia
B.S. in Engineering Science, Nanomedicine Concentration, University of Virginia, 2012
PhD in Biomedical Engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2018

My work utilizes mouse models to elucidate the role of extracellular matrix cross-linking in tumorigenesis. Outside of research, I am dedicated to community engagement and inclusive excellence. I also enjoy crocheting, wine tasting and am a hot yoga enthusiast!

Jian Zhang

Jian Zhang, Ph.D.

Hometown: Jiashan, China
B.S. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics 2011, Peking University
Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering 2016, Carnegie Mellon University

My research interests focus on understanding the biophysical properties of collective cancer invasion. Outside of lab, I like roller skating and playing badminton.

Undergraduate Students

  • Archit Potharazu
  • Issac Richardson

Vanderbilt Alumni

  • Sophie Xie, undergraduate researcher, 2017
  • Ansley Petherick, undergraduate researcher, 2017
  • Harrison Thomas, undergraduate researcher 2017

Cornell Alumni

  • Andres Larraza BS, Materials Science and Engineering, 2018
  • Jenny Ma, Operations Research and Engineering, 2019
  • Shweta Modi, Biomedical Engineering, 2019
  • Dylan Parker BS, Biology, 2016
  • Jack PollackBS , Biological Engineering, 2016
  • Marsha Lampi, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, 2017
  • Julie Kohn, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, 2017
  • Emmanuel Lollis, MS, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2016
  • Halie Hotchkiss, Biomedical Engineering, 2018
  • Atrouli Chatterjee, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2016
  • Crystal Shan, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2016
  • Shawn Carey, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, 2015
  • Karen Martin, BS, Mechanical Engineering, 2015
  • Stephanie Cheng, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2015
  • Adeline Chen, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2015
  • Deanna Lin, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2015
  • Bryan Chan, BS, Biological Engineering, 2015
  • Katharina Fung, BS, Materials Science and Engineering, 2016
  • Michael Mazzola, BS, Biology, 2015
  • Zachary Goldblatt, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2015
  • Nicholas Deisadze, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2014
  • Allie Braun, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2014
  • Brooke Mason, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, 2014
  • Sahana Somasegar, BS, Human Biology, Health and Society, 2014
  • Peter Joe, BS, Biology, 2014
  • Saumendra Bajpai, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate, Biomedical Engineering 2011-2013
  • Dennis Zhou, BS, Biological Engineering, 2013
  • Lauren Tang
  • Brian Fleischer, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2013
  • Olivia Torre, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2013
  • Casey Kraning-Rush, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, 2013
  • Dennis Zhou, BS, Biological and Environmental Engineering, 2013
  • Viral Oza, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2013
  • Courtney Faber, MS, Biomedical Engineering, 2013
  • John Huynh, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, 2012
  • Joseph Califano, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, 2012
  • Leah Roldan, BS, Biological and Environmental Engineering, 2012
  • Princess Kara Parker-Smith, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2012
  • Daniel Kim, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2012
  • Matthew Tang, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2012
  • Kelly McBride, BS, Biological and Environmental Engineering, 2012
  • Lulu Bai, BS, Biological and Environmental Engineering, 2012
  • Joseph Shawky, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2011
  • Esther Lim, BS, Biological and Environmental Engineering, 2011
  • Na Young Kim, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2011
  • Alina Starchenko, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2011
  • Libin Yuan, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate, Biomedical Engineering, 2011
  • Jonathan Charest, MS, Biomedical Engineering, 2011
  • Monica Jackman, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2010
  • Christine Montague, PhD,  Post-Doctoral Associate, 2008-2010
  • Tracy Cheung, BS, Biological and Environmental Engineering, 2010
  • John Peloquin, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2010
  • Rafael Gonzalez-Cruz, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2010
  • Shaoyang Anthony Yeh, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2010
  • Yun-shao Peter Sung, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2010
  • Chieh-Hsiang Jason Yang, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2010
  • Joshua Horwitz, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2009
  • Katrina Shum, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2009
  • Josephine Bodle, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2008
  • Kartoa Chow, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2008
  • Samantha Spindel, MEng, Biomedical Engineering, 2008
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