Soft Tissue
Biomechanics Lab

Biomechanics and Mechanobiology
of Musculoskeletal Soft Tissues

Spring quarter lab meetings: Tuesdays @ 2pm, 520-231

Tissue Mechanics

Musculoskeletal tissues have primarily mechanical functions, and the mechanical properties of these tissues are important measures of their integrity.

Cell and Tissue Culture

We use cell and tissue culture models to study the roles of specific environmental factors in tissue health and degeneration.

Medical Imaging

We develop and apply new MRI and CT imaging strategies to characterize joint and tissue mechanical behaviors.

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  • Research

    Research in the Soft Tissue Biomechanics Laboratory addresses the function, degeneration and repair of musculoskeletal soft tissues, with a focus on meniscal fibrocartilage and articular cartilage.


    Cartilage Implant Bonding

    Cartilage Implant Bonding

    The goal of this project is to apply photochemical protein bonding to achieve rapid and stable bonding between articular cartilage implants and the surrounding host cartilage.

    Meniscus Structural Imaging

    Meniscus Structural Imaging

    Degradation of radial tie sheaths of the knee menisci are believed to predispose the menisci to degenerative tears. We are developing MRI techniques to image the radial tie sheaths and track their deformation under loading.

    Weight-Bearing CT Imaging

    Weight-Bearing CT Imaging

    We are determining in vivo knee cartilage strains during free-standing weight-bearing using a cone beam CT system that allows for flexible and fast image acquisition.

    Meniscus Tissue Mechanics

    Meniscus Tissue Mechanics

    We are studying the contributions of meniscal tissue composition and heterogeneity to macroscopic tissue properties to better understand normal and diseased tissue behaviors and develop targets for detecting early degeneration.

    Versatile Mechanical Bioreactor

    Versatile Mechanical Bioreactor

    The goal of this research is to support long-term human health in space by developing a compact, mechanically versatile bioreactor capable of producing desired local mechanical environments to stimulate optimal stem cell proliferation, differentiation and tissue formation for a wide range of regenerative medicine applications in microgravity.

    Solute Diffusion via CT

    Solute Diffusion via CT

    Measuring diffusion of a contrast agent into cartilage could provide important information on cartilage degradation at early stages. We are trying to measure diffusion of a contrast agent into articular cartilage in vivo and in cartilage samples using the Seimens Artis zeego CT system.


    Lab Members

    Marc Levenston

    Marc Levenston

    Benevolent Overlord
    Marc is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and, by courtesy, of Bioengineering and of Radiology.

    Contact Marc



    Morale Officer


    Albert Arvayo

    Albert Arvayo

    Ph.D. Student
    Albert earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Arizona. Albert's research focuses on applying photochemical crosslinking methods to enhance integration of articular cartilage implants. Simultaneously, Albert is attempting to kick an addiction to bad, instant coffee.

    Contact Albert

    Gaby Baylon

    Gaby Baylon

    Ph.D. Student
    Gaby earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, San Diego, and her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford. Gaby is interested in structure-function relationships in fibrocartilage tissue, including the contributions of osmotic swelling to macroscopic tissue properties.

    Contact Gaby

    Marianne Black

    Marianne Black

    Ph.D. Student
    Marianne earned her BASc in Engineering Physics and MASc in Biomedical Engineering from the University of British Columbia. Marianne's research focuses on using medical imaging strategies to gain insight into normal and osteoarthritic knee joint biomechanics, with a focus on the knee menisci.

    Contact Marianne

    Aliyeh Mousavi

    Aliyeh Mousavi

    Ph.D. Student
      Aliyeh earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rutgers University and her M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford. Aliyeh is interested in the develompent of novel mechanically active bioreactors and microphysiologic systems for ground- and space-based research on cell behaviors, with applications to space medicine and engineered tissue repair.

      Contact Aliyeh



      Very Senior Graduate Student
        Jack's been around. Don't mess with Jack.
        Mary Hall

        Mary Hall

        Ph.D. Student
        Mary earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southern California. Mary's research involves using cone-beam CT scanning to characterize cartilage deformation and contrast agent diffusion in vivo, with applications to the early detection of osteoarthritic changes in the knee.


        Contact Mary

        Mona Eskandari

        Mona Eskandari

        Ph.D. Student (collaborative)
        Mona, a member of Ellen Kuhl's Living Matter Lab, received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Arizona. Mona studies airway mechanics, and performs experimental measurements of airway viscoelastic properties in collaboration with the STBL.

        Contact Mona

        Hollis Crowder

        Hollis Crowder

        M.S. Student
        Hollis earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics from the University of Portland. Hollis is working with Drs. Garry Gold and Nick Giori, performing analysis of musculoskeletal MRI scans.

        Contact Hollis

        Annie Imbrie-Moore

        Annie Imbrie-Moore

        M.S./Ph.D. Student
        Annie earned her S.B. in Biomedical Engineering from Harvard University. A first year mechanical engineering graduate student and unrepentant Red Sox fan, Annie is seeking her purpose in life (well, purpose in lab...).

        Contact Annie

        Nic Castaño

        Nic Castaño

        M.S./Ph.D. Student
          Nic is a first year mechanical engineering graduate student who earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from New Mexico Tech. Nic is helping to develop a microphysiologic system for studying multi-tissue interactions in an engineered environment.

          Contact Nic

          Lauren Watkins

          Lauren Watkins

          Ph.D. Student
          Lauren is a first year bioengineering graduate student who earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Purdue. Lauren is studying the effects of subject orientation and loading on the reliability of reference CT scans for our weight-bearing CT project.

          Contact Lauren

          Former Lab Members

          Ph.D. Students

          Christopher Hunter Valerie Sitterle Stacy Imler
          Janna Mouw Eric Vanderploeg Christopher Wilson
          Ashley Palmer John Connelly Onyi Irrechukwu
          Min-Sun Son James Nishimuta Chun hua Zheng

          Postdoctoral Scholars

          Wei Sun Liqin Xie Yongnam Song
          Carrie Hang-Yin Ling Cathy (Kun) Ma James Nishimuta
          Chun hua Zheng Jang-hwan Choi

          M.S. Students

          Fabien Fuente Kathryn Brodkin Crystal Hsu
          Sarah West An Nguyen Janice Lai
          Khang Dinh Ivan Wong
          • Cartilages are spread on some parts of them [bones], such as the joints, to make them smooth, and Nature also uses cartilages occasionally as moderately yielding bodies….

            Cartilage serves as a grease for the joints.

            Galen, c. 170
          • Since the two depressions of the tibia... do not exactly match the projecting femoral heads... Nature augmented the depth of the depressions with a marvellous artifice... In addition to the slippery cartilages.. she added to each depression a single cartilage [meniscus], unconnected to the femur or the tibia by any means except by ligaments.

            Andreas Vesalius, 1543
          • By the year 2040, an estimated 78 million (26% of the projected total adult population) adults aged 18 years and older will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, compared with the 52.5 million adults in 2010-2012. Two-thirds of those with arthritis will be women.

            U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
          • If you only do what you can do, you'll never be better than what you are.

            Master Shifu

          STBL News

          Welcome (and welcome back)!

          STBL welcomes Annie Imbrie-Moore and Nic Castaño as the newest M.S./Ph.D. students in the lab, and Lauren Watkins as a…

          Welcome new students!

          We're happy to welcome two new MS students to the STBL this quarter. Hollis Crowder is working with Dr. Garry…

          Congratulations on another paper, James

          Ph.D. alum James Nishimuta's paper, Adipokines Induce Catabolism of Newly Synthesized Matrix in Cartilage and Meniscus Tissues, was accepted for…

          View from the Lab



            Garry Gold

            Department of Radiology
            JOINT Group

              Brian Hargreaves

              Department of Radiology
              BMR Group

                Ovijit Chaudhuri

                Department of Mechanical Engineering
                Chaudhuri Lab

                  Jason Dragoo

                  Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

                    Andreas Maier

                    Friedrich-Alexander Universität
                    Pattern Recognition Lab

                      Rebecca Fahrig

                      Siemens Healthineers

                        Eric Appel

                        Department of Materials Science & Engineering
                        Appel Research Group

                          Ellen Kuhl

                          Department of Mechanical Engineering
                          Living Matter Lab


                          Thank you for your interest in the STBL.

                          To inquire about graduate admissions, please contact the student services office in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Bioengineering, or other relevant department. Graduate admissions are not handled by individual laboratories or faculty members, and we generally will not respond to requests for admission. If you are considering graduate school, we encourage you to read Some Important Things Most Students Never Ask About Graduate School by Rob Candler.

                          If you are a current Stanford graduate student interested in our lab, please contact Dr. Levenston regarding possible research rotations projects. We do not typically offer assistantships to new students without research rotations. A good first step is a review of our research projects and recent publications. If our research interests you, please join us for group meetings and consider doing a research rotation in the lab.

                          Stanford undergraduates interested in research opportunities should likewise review our research and join us for group meetings. While the majority of undergraduate projects begin during the summer, there are opportunities throughout the year.

                          Please fill in the form below to contact us via email.

                          Contact Info

                          +1 650 723 6376
                          Delivery address (no USPS)
                          215 MERL Building
                          418 Panama Mall
                          Stanford, CA 94305

                          Administrative Contact:
                          c/o Doreen Wood
                          Building 520, Room 232
                          Stanford, CA 94305-4038
                          Tel: (650) 723-4133

                          PI Contact:
                          Marc E. Levenston, Ph.D.
                          Building 520, Room 225
                          Stanford, CA 94305-4038
                          Tel: (650) 723-9464