William Polacheck UNC

William J Polacheck - PI

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Member, Cell Biology and Physiology Curriculum, UNC Medicine

Member, McAllister Heart Institute, UNC Medicine

Bill was born in the Harrisburg area of Pennsylvania and first learned about Microfluidics while in Brian Kirby's lab at Cornell. He moved to Cambridge, MA to study Mechanical Engineering at M.I.T. as an NSF graduate research fellow under the guidance of Roger D. Kamm, then moved across the river to Boston to work as an NIH postdoctoral fellow at The Wyss Institute at Harvard University and at The Biological Design Center at Boston University. He worked under the guidance of Chistopher S. Chen where he developed biomimetic models for the blood vasculature to study endothelial cell mechanotransduction.


In 2018, Bill moved to Chapel Hill begin his appointment in the UNC/NC State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering. 

Honors & Awards:

2008-2011 - National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

2015-2016 - NIBIB T32 Fellowship, Organ Design and Engineering

2016-2018 - Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award

2018 - Wallace H. Coulter Translational Partnership Award for translational research

2021 - American Heart Association Career Development Award

2021-2026 - NIGMS Maximizing Investigator's Research Award


9206B Mary Ellen Jones

116 Manning Drive

Chapel Hill, NC 27514-7575


Wen Yih Aw, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow in BME, UNC

  • B.S., Molecular Biosciences, University of Kansas, 2011

  • Ph.D., Molecular Biology, Princeton University, 2018

Wen recently completed a Postdoc at the UNC Catalyst for Rare Disease. She is our lab's molecular biology expert and is working to understand the role of Notch receptor signaling in mechanotransduction. 


Gihun Lee, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow in BME, NC State

  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Chung-Ang University, 2012

  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Chung-Ang University, 2014

  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Chung-Ang University, 2019

Gihun recently completed his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Chung-Ang University in Seoul, Republic of Korea. He is the lab's resident maker and fabrication expert, working to develop new models for the lymphatic system. 


Mitesh Rathod, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow in BME, UNC

  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Mumbai University, 2008

  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, 2011

  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Seoul National University, 2019

Mitesh recently completed his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Seoul National University, Republic of Korea. He is a master at computational fluid dynamics and in the clean room. He's working on organ-on-chip models to understand the role of hemodynamics in chronic kidney disease. 


Stephanie A Huang

PhD Candidate in BME, UNC

  • B.S., Polymer Science and Engineering, Case Western Reserve, 2018

  • NIH NHLBI T32 Training Fellow, Integrative Vascular Biology, 2020-Present

Stephanie Huang graduated with a BS in Polymer Engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 2018 where she performed research on artificial platelets to enhance hemostasis. She is currently studying how shear stresses and interstitial flow drive vasculogenesis. Outside of the lab, Stephanie enjoys playing video games, crafting, and baking.


Elizabeth Snyder-Mounts

PhD Candidate in BME, UNC

  • B.S.E., Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, 2019

  • NIH NHLBI T32 Training Fellow, Integrative Vascular Biology, 2020-Present

Elizabeth graduated in 2019 with a BSE in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University, where her research focused on investigating the use of induced pluripotent stem cells for disease modeling using tissue engineered blood vessels. Her current research focuses on fabricating and optimizing microfluidic devices for vascular disease modeling in conjunction with the Rare Disease Catalyst. Outside of lab, Elizabeth enjoys being active, playing board games, and watching college basketball with friends.


Sarah Kubik

Research Technician

  • B.S., Biomedical Engineering, UNC/NCSU, 2020

Sarah is a technician and artist. She's working on making systems to pattern vascular cells and extracellular matrix, while also helping to make sure everything in the lab goes smoothly. 


Anne Hope Cooper

2020-2021 UNC BME Abrams Scholar

Anne Hope is an undergraduate student in the UNC-CH/NCSU joint department of biomedical engineering. She is currently working on quantifying experiments with in vitro vascular networks.


Grace Krohn

UNC BME Undergraduate

Grace is an undergraduate in the UNC-CH/NCSU joint department. She is working on patterning matrix adhesion ligands to understand the role of extracellular matrix structure in the progression of vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.


Sara Meehan

UNC BME Undergraduate

Sara is an undergraduate student applying into the UNC-CH/NCSU Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering from the Biology Department. She is currently working on microfluidic approaches to interrogate pressure-strain relationships in the microvasculature. Her work will provide valuable insight into how fluid pressures regulate vascular endothelial biology. 


Emily Warren

2020-2021 UNC BME Abrams Scholar

2021 Undergraduate Research Award Winner

Emily is an undergraduate in the UNC-CH/NCSU joint department of biomedical engineering. Her current research focuses on characterizing the extracellular matrix structure in Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome using computational image analysis. Her work seeks to understand how differences in extracellular matrix structure can be related to the mechanical failure observed in vEDS patients.


Harry Wang

UNC BME Undergraduate

Harry Wang is an international student of UNC-CH class 2023, double majored in Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science (and minored in math). He is currently working on the image processing of the microvascular network to better characterize different networks.