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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. 


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, 2020-2021

  • NIH NIDDK T32 Training Fellow, Nephrology Research, 2022-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 Doherty (Snyder-Mounts)

PhD Candidate in BME, UNC

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

  • NIH NHLBI T32 Training Fellow, Integrative Vascular Biology, 2020-2022

  • NIH F31 Individual Predoctoral Fellowship, 2022-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.


Chloe Whitworth

PhD Candidate in Genetics and Molecular Biology, UNC

  • B.S., Biological Sciences, University of Alabama - Huntsville, 2015

Chloe graduated in 2015 and spent the next several years working in biotechnology for G1 Therapeutics and Cell Microsystems. She is co-advised by Dr. Victoria Bautch, and she is working to understand how cells sense and communicate hemodynamic signals within the vascular endothelium. She is particularly interested in the Notch pathway, and the activation of Notch family receptors in response to mechanical forces.


Sarah Kubik

PhD Candidate in BME, NCSU

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

  • NIH T32 Training Fellow, Comparative Molecular Medicine, 2022-present

Sarah is a resident maker expert, working on microfabrication, 3D printing, and multi-mode fabrication techniques to engineer functional vasculature. She joined the lab in 2021 as a technician and artist. Outside of lab, Sarah is active in 3D printing, crafting, and aquarium building - all highly relevant hobbies to her research. 


Anushka Deshmukh

BME Undergraduate Researcher

Anushka is an undergraduate in the UNC-CH/NCSU joint department of biomedical engineering. Her current research focuses on the effects of microbubbles on human endothelial cells.


Grace Krohn

2022-2023 UNC BME Lucas Scholar

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

2022 SURF Scholar (UNC BME)

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. 


Harry Wang

2022 Johnson Scholar (UNC BME)

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.

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