The mission of the Drexel Biomaterials Laboratory Group, directed by Dr. Michele Marcolongo, is to use biomaterial and biomechanic technologies to develop treatments for damaged or diseased tissues, with the major foci being biomimetic proteoglycans & bone scaffolds.


Michele Marcolongo, Ph.D., P.E.
Evan Phillips
Alicia Kriete
Tony Yu
Tao Yang
Kathryn A. Small
Carli Moorehead
Senior Design Team
Past Students:
Michele Marcolongo, Ph.D., P.E.

Michele Marcolongo, Ph.D., P.E.

Principal Investigator
Department of Materials Science and Engineering


  • B.S. 1986: Mechanical Engineering, University of Delaware. Newark, DE
  • M.S. 1989: Mechanical Engineering, Drexel University. Philadelphia, PA
  • M.S. 1992: Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, PA
  • Ph.D. 1995: Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, PA

Professional History

  • 1986 – 1990: GENERAL ELECTRIC AEROSPACE. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    Mechanical Design Engineer (1988-1990)
    Space Technology Engineering Program (1986-1988)
  • 1990 – 1994: UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    Research Fellow (1990-1994)
    Biomechanics Laboratory Supervisor (1991-1994)
  • 1994 – 1997: DEPUY DUPONT ORTHOPAEDICS. Newark, Delaware.
    Biomedical Research Engineer
  • 2002-2004: GELIFEX. Philadelphia, PA.
    Chairman and Co-Founder.
    Sold to Synthes Spine (2004)
  • 1997 – Present: DREXEL UNIVERSITY. Philadelphia, PA
    Department of Materials Science and Engineering
    Appointments in Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering
    Assistant Professor (1997-2004)
    Associate Professor (2004-Present)
    Associate Vice Provost for Research (2006-Present, half-appointment)

Honors and Awards

  • NIH Nanotechnology in Medicine Study Section (2007)
  • Editorial Board, J. Biomed. Mater. Res (2007-Present)
  • Frontiers in Engineering (NAE) participant (2007)
  • Appointed to Presidential Advisory Council, Society for Biomaterials (2006-2007)
  • Orthopaedic Research Society, Hip Society Award: Otto Aufranc Award (2006)
  • President, Philadelphia Spine Research Society (2005-Present)
  • Synthes Spine Board Member, Non-fusion Technologies (2004-Present)
  • Chair for the Society for Biomaterials Orthopaedic Special Interest Group (2005-2006)
  • Member, NIH Center for Scientific Review, NIBIB, Biomaterials and Biosurfaces (2005-Present)
  • Drexel University, College of Engineering Outstanding Teacher Award (2003)
  • Society for Biomaterials Participation and Leadership Recognition for Program Chair for Orthopaedic Special Interest Group (2002)
  • Member, NIH Center for Scientific Review, (ZRG1 SSS-5 915) SBIR/STTR Orthopedic Medicine: (2001-Present)
  • University of Pennsylvania Research Fellowship (1990-1994)
  • GE Re-entry Systems General Manager Employee Recognition Award (1988)
  • Licensed Professional Engineer, State of PA (1998-Present)GE RE-entry Systems Cost Improvement Awards for Increased Production Efficiency (1987)
  • Pi Tau Sigma Engineering Honor Society (1985)
Evan Phillips

Evan Phillips

PhD Candidate
Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Hometown: Reading, PA
Education: B.S. Mechanical Engineering (2013), University of Delaware
Email: erp64@drexel.edu

Evan’s current research investigates the application of biomimetic aggrecan (BA) as a treatment for joint cartilage degradation, specifically in osteoarthritis.

Alicia Kriete

Alicia Kriete

PhD Candidate
Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Hometown: Stuttgart, Germany
Education: B.S. Materials Science and Engineering (2013), Drexel University
Email: asb62@drexel.edu

Alicia investigates using biomimetic proteoglycans (BPGs) to molecularly engineer urethra as treatment for stress urinary incontinence.

Tony Yu

Tony Yu

PhD Student

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Education: B.S./M.S. Biomedical Engineering (2014), Drexel University
Email: tonyu91@gmail.com

Tony’s research involves the development of synthetic bone scaffolds that mimic the natural structure of bones at the molecular level for bone regeneration applications.

Tao Yang

Tao Yang

Master’s Student
Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Hometown: China
Education: B.S. Materials Science and Engineering (2014), South China University of Technology
Email: ty323@drexel.edu

Tao investigates the impact of biomimetic proteoglycans (BPGs) on collagen fibrillogenesis kinetics and network structure during collagen self-assembly.

Kathryn A. Small

Kathryn A. Small

M.S. Materials Science and Engineering (2017)
Drexel University

Hometown: Alamogordo, NM
Education: B.E. Biomedical Engineering (2013), Stony Brook University
Email: kathy.smll@gmail.com

Kathryn investigates mathematical and 3D modeling of the molecular interactions and transport mechanisms of healthy and degraded articular cartilage.

Carli Moorehead

Carli Moorehead

BS/MS Student in Biomedical and Materials Engineering
Drexel University

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Education: B.S. Biomedical Engineering (2017), Drexel University, M.S. Materials Science and Engineering (2017), Drexel University
Email: cam472@drexel.edu

Carli’s research investigates CS (chondroitin sulphate) and HS (heparan sulphate) GAG chain BPG/PG interactions with collagen fibrils via 3D TEM imaging (electron tomography).

Senior Design Team

Novel use of biomimetic aggrecan to regenerate and molecularly repair damaged skin

Jessica Gidzinski
David Pearson
Travis Weiss

Throughout the 2015-2016 school year, the senior design team has been focused on injecting various concentrations of biomimetic proteoglycans (BPGs) into porcine skin samples and subsequently characterizing mechanical properties and diffusion behavior. To gauge skin elasticity, they have employed the piezoelectric finger (PEF) method, a technique developed by Dr. Wan Shih of Drexel’s School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems. As a means of evaluating diffusion behavior of the BPG solutions, they have cryosectioned and imaged BPG-injected skin samples under the confocal microscope as well as quantified the amount of BPGs at different locations throughout the skin. Their project ultimately aims to assess the potential use of BPGs in future wound healing applications.


Karen M. Berkowitz, MD
Drexel University
College of Medicine
Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Marco Cannella, PhD
Drexel University
College of Nursing and Health Professionals
Assistant Professor

Monika Jost, PhD 
Drexel University
College of Medicine
Assistant Professor, Office of Professional Studies in the Health Sciences
Research Assistant Professor, Dept. of Radiation Oncology

Steven Kurtz, PhD
Drexel University
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science & Health Systems 

Director, Implant Research Center
Research Assistant Professor, Thomas Jefferson University
Adjunct Professor, Temple University
Senior Managing Engineer, Exponent, Inc.
Visiting Lecturer, Princeton University

Noreen M. Robertson, DMD
Drexel University
College of Medicine
Director of Research Program Development

Brian Snyder, MD, PhD
Harvard University
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Associate Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery

Ed Vresilovic, MD, PhD
Pennsylvania State University, Hershey Medical Center
Department of Orthopedic Surgery

University of Delaware: T. Polenta, L. Vega
University of Oregon: A. Karduna
Drexel University: A. Lowman, W. SunK. Barbee
Unviersity of PennsylvaniaD. Elliott
Case Westen Reserve: C. Rimnac, M. Kraay, V. Goldberg
Thomas Jefferson University: J. Purtill, M. Risbud, I. Shapiro, P. Sharkey, J. Parvizi, W. Hozack

Past Students:

Past Students:

Katsiaryna Prudnikova
PhD, 2010

Rob Yucha

David Jamison,IV

Sarah Lightfoot Vidal
B.S./M.S, 2013

Jessica Isaacs
PhD, 2012

Denis Madende

Sumona Sarkar
PhD, 2011

Nandita Ganesh
MS, 2010

Aykan Karabudak, Elizabeth Dreher, Kim Trasatti, Krista Szymborski, Mingming Chen
Biomed Senior Design (BS), 2010

Chris Massey
PhD, 2009

 Dana Bonfiglio
Research Assistant, Summers 2008,2009

Sylvia Herbert 
Research Assistant, Summer 2009

Colin Vroome
Research Assistant, Summer 2009

Alex Martino
Research Assistant, Summer 2009

Bryce Walburn
COE Mentorship Program, Summer 2009

Anthony Mussey
Materials Senior Design (BS), 2009

Sandeep Gidvani
Research Fellow, Summer 2008

Dianne Phelan
PhD, 2008

Amy Craig, Nam Nguyen, James Thomas, Jason Thompson, Robert Yucha
Biomed Senior Design (BS), 2007

Elizabeth Varghese
BS/MS, 2007

Jon Thomas
PhD, 2006

Emily Ho
PhD, 2005

Shanee Allen
BS/MS, 2006

Argjenta Orana
BS/MS, 2005

Abhijeet Joshi
PhD, 2004


Cadaver Lab and Mechanical Testing Facilities

  • FluoroScan (C-arm)
  • Drill Press
  • Drill Press
  • Band Saw
  • Isomet Low Speed Saw
  • Biaxial Benchtop Intstron Model 8874 with 10kN Load Cell
  • Floor Standing Uniaxial Instron Model 1331 with 5kN Load Cell
  • Hydraulic Instron Grips
  • Large Freezers (2)

Cell Culture Facilities

  • Laminar Flow Hood
  • Incubators (2)
  • Autoclave
  • Water Bath (2)
  • Centrifuge
  • Spinning Disk Cell Detachment Apparatus
  • QCM Flow Chamber
  • Peristaltic Pump
  • Inverted Fluoresence Microscope with video camera and ImagePro Software

Polymers and Chemistry Facilities

  • Vacuum Oven
  • Vacuum Pump
  • Glove Box
  • Containment Box
  • Hot/Stirrer Plate
  • Chemical Fume Hood

General Lab Equipment

  • Shaker Bath
  • Sonicator
  • Shaker Plate
  • Rotator
  • Spectrophotometer
  • Balance
  • pH Meter
  • Vortex
  • Dessicators
  • Small vacuum pumps (2)
  • Mini Centrifuge
  • Galvanostat
  • Large Siffters
  • Dewer Flask
  • Bio-pulverizer
  • Hand Held Homogonizer


Peer Reviewed Publications

Peer Reviewed Publications

Prudnikova, K., E. J. Vresilovic and M. Marcolongo (2012). “New Strategy for Treatment of Lower Back Pain: Molecular Restoration of Intervertebral Disc Using an Injection of Biomimetic Aggrecan.” The Spine Journal 12(9): S30.

Massey, C. J., C. C. van Donkelaar, E. Vresilovic, A. Zavaliangos and M. Marcolongo (2012). “Effects of aging and degeneration on the human intervertebral disc during the diurnal cycle: A finite element study.” Journal of Orthopaedic Research 30(1): 122-128.

Kirzner, Y., M. Marcolongo and S. K. Bhatia (2012). “Advances in Biomaterials for the Treatment of Intervertebral Disc Degeneration.” Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants 22(1): 73-84.

Jost, M., K. Barbee, D. Rothstein, N. Robertson, K. Berkowitz and M. Marcolongo (2012). “Modeling L-Selectin Mediated Attachment Strength during Embryo Implantation.” Gender Medicine: The Journal for the Study of Sex & Gender Differences 9(1): S95-S96.

Green, A. P., E. Chen, K. Pourrezaei and M. Marcolongo (2011). “Accelerating Innovation: The Nanotechnology Institute.” Nanotech. L. & Bus. 8: 176.


Books – Authored, Edited 

Books – Authored, Edited 

Isaacs, J. L. and M. S. Marcolongo (2012). Micromechanics of the Annulus Fibrosus: Role of Biomolecules in Mechanical Function, Drexel University.

Ganesh, N. and M. Marcolongo (2010). Biomimetic Aggrecan Based on a Polyacrylic Acid (PAA) Core and Chondroitin Sulfate (CS) Bristles, Drexel University.

Massey, C. J. and M. S. Marcolongo (2009). Finite Element Analysis and Materials Characterization of Changes Due to Aging and Degeneration of the Human Intervertebral Disc, Drexel University.

Marcolongo, M. and A. Joshi (2006). “Spinal Implants.” Encyclopedia of Medical Devices and Instrumentation.




Marcolongo, M., E. Vresilovic, B. Jackson, S. Sarkar and C. Schauer (2013). Compositions and Methods for Treating a Disorder or Defect in Soft Tissue, US Patent 20,130,052,155.

Binetti, V. R., K. B. Kita, G. W. Fussell, A. M. Lowman and M. S. Marcolongo (2013). INJECTABLE CROSS-LINKED HYDROGELS FOR BIOMATERIAL APPLICATIONS, US Patent 20,130,012,913.

Marcolongo, M. S., A. M. Lowman and E. Y. Ho (2012). Bioactive thermogelling polymer systems and methods of their use, Google Patents.

Marcolongo, M. S., A. M. Lowman, A. J. Clemow, M. F. Keane and E. Vresilovic (2010). HYDROGEL BALLOON PROSTHESIS FOR NUCLEUS PULPOSUS, EP Patent 1,917,050.



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