Soft Tissue
Biomechanics Lab

Biomechanics and Mechanobiology
of Musculoskeletal Soft Tissues

Winter quarter lab meetings: Wednesdays @ 11am, 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.


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.


Click article title for more information, or here for a PubMed listing of articles.

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


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

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

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

      M.S. 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

      Nic Castaño

      Nic Castaño

      M.S. Student (rotating)
        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

        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 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…

        Congratulations on paper acceptance, James!

        Ph.D. alum James Nishimuta and SURI undergrad researcher Monica Bendernagel had their paper, Co-culture with Infrapatellar Fat Pad Differentially Stimulates Proteoglycan…

        Thanks, summer undergrads!

        Thanks to Francisco Lopez, Heidi Poppe and Dalia Szafer for spending your summer with us!  Hopefully, Marianne didn't permanently scare…

        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