Principle Investigator

Rhima Coleman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
University of Michigan
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering

1101 Beal Ave.
Room 2170 LBME
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Phone: (734) 764-7740
Fax: (734) 647-4834

Graduate Students

Biming Wu – (

Reprogramming of mesenchymal stem cells for cartilage tissue engineering

Biming Wu is a fifth-year doctoral student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan. He received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Iowa in 2012.

In 2012, he joined the Cartilage Healing and Regeneration Laboratory in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan.  His research focuses on the design of synthetic gene circuits in mammalian cells and its application in cartilage repair. He is also interested in developing a 3D in vitro testing platform for mechanistic studies of chondrogenesis and cartilage mineralization. His training as cell and molecular biologist started in 2008 in the Campbell Laboratory at the University of Iowa.

Amy Blatt – (

A novel, biosynthetic 3D hydrogel system for breast cancer mechanobiology studies

Amy Blatt is a third-year PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Michigan.  She received her BSE and MSE in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan and Arizona State University, respectively.  She is interested in tissue engineering and cancer research.  Her current project focuses on creating biosynthetic models to study the effects of extracellular matrix composition and tissue mechanics on breast cancer progression.  She is an active member of the Graduate Society of Women Engineers, Tau Beta Pi, and M-HEAL, and she enjoys participating in STEM mentorship programs where she can give advice to younger students.

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Tiana Wong – (

Tiana received her Bachelors of Science in Bioengineering at University of Illinois at Chicago in 2016. She is currently working on her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at University of Michigan.  Her research interests include tissue engineering, MRI imaging, and computational analysis of cartilage mechanics. 


Peter Yao – (

Peter is a Master’s student in the Mechanical Engineering Department. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2015. His research interests include studying the wear properties of PGA biphasic scaffolds for cartilage healing. His non-research interests include baseball and movies.

Yue Qin – (

Yue Qin is a first year Master’s student in Biomedical Engineer Department. She received her Bachelor’s of Engineering in BME at Sichuan University in 2016. Her research interests include biomateials and tissue engineering. Currently her research focuses on designing a porous PGD scaffold for cartilage regeneration.


Leora Goldbloomhelzner – (

Leora graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering and a biomechanical concentration. She will be a Master’s student this Fall at the University of Michigan studying Biomedical Engineering with a biotechnology concentration. She intends to pursue a PhD in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. In the Coleman Lab, Leora will study the chondrogenic potential of neural crest cells (NCC) and limb bud cells (LBC). In her spare time, Leora enjoys listening to musical soundtracks, attending theater performances on campus, and singing at the local retirement homes.

Post-Baccalaureate Student

Chelsea Stephens – (

Chelsea graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and a minor in Biology from Syracuse University. As an undergraduate student, Chelsea participated in different summer research programs where she developed an interest in bone and cartilage tissue engineering. She is currently a part of the University of Michigan Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program and has joined the Coleman Lab where she will study the chondrogenic potential of neural crest cells (NCC); more specifically, how bone morphogenetic protein – signaling, mechanical stimulation, and the NCC microenvironment contribute to the chondrogenic potential of NCCs.

Undergraduate Students

Emily Durisin – (

Emily is a junior studying Material Science and Engineering.  She is studying the effects of hypoxia on chondrogenesis and other proteins controlled by its pathway. 

Sanjana Murali – (

Sanjana is a senior studying Cellular and Molecular Biology, and she is pursuing a minor in art through the Stamps School of Art and Design. Sanjana has been a member of the CHaR lab since 2015, and she works on the Gene Circuit Project. She is an active member of the student organization, M-HEAL, and hopes to go to medical school in the future.

Sunny Karnan – (

Sunny is a senior studying Biomedical Engineering and pursuing a minor in music. He joined CHaR lab in 2015, and works on modeling the angiogenic bone sarcoma niche in 3D hydrogels. He is an active member of Beta Mu Epsilon, the biomedical engineering fraternity, and plans on pursuing a PhD in tissue engineering after graduation.  .

Meghan Burns – (

Meghan Burns is a sophomore studying Biomedical Engineering, and she is pursuing an International Minor through the College of Engineering. Meghan joined the Coleman lab in 2014 and her research interests include tissue regeneration and bio-materials.


Bita Carrion – (

Regulation of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Multipotentiality: Interplay of Matrix Stiffness and Ligand Presentation

Bita received her Master’s in Biochemical Engineering from University of California, Irvine in 2008. She completed her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at University of Michigan in 2013. Her thesis work focused on exploring the interactions between mesenchymal stem cells and endothelial cells in engineered perivascular niches. She is interested in using tools in cellular and molecular biology, and biomaterials science to advance stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. Bita has been a fellow on the University of Michigan Tissue Engineering and Regeneration (TEAM) Grant (DE007057-37).

Thomas Davidson – (

Thomas received his Bachelor’s Degree in Bioengineering from the University of California, Santa Cruz and his Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan.  In the Coleman Lab, he studied single pathway mechanotransudction in cartilage and its manipulation for tissue engineering applications.

Evran Ural – (

Modification of proteoglycan structure during cartilage mineralization

Evran recently graduated with her Masters in Biomedical Engineering through the SGUS program at the University of Michigan. She completed her Bachelor’s in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Michigan. Her research interests include bone, cancer, and dementia. She joined the Coleman Lab in 2012.

Xiuyuan Yang – (

Finite element analysis (FEA) modeling for cartilage injury analysis and scaffold design

Xiuyuan received his Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and Biological Engineering from the Purdue University in 2014. He studied the potential of using a 3D-printed scaffold on restoring normal biomechanics at cartilage trauma. 

Haitham Maaieh – (

Modification of hydrogel-based scaffolds to enhance cartilage tissue engineering

Haithem recently graduated with a B.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering with a Minor in Applied Statistics. He plans to complete his Master’s in Biomedical Engineering. His interests include tissue engineering, social entrepreneurship, and medicine. He joined the Coleman Lab in 2013.

Victor Wang – (

Victor is currently a junior studying Biochemistry in LSA with a minor in Political Science. He plans to pursue graduate studies in chemistry. His interests chemical synthesis and characterization and social justice. He joined the Coleman Lab in 2013.


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