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Sara Roccabianca

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Associate Professor

Mechanical Engineering

428 S. Shaw Lane
Engineering Building, Room 2463
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824







Ph.D. in Engineering of Civil and Mechanical Structural Systems

    As a faculty member of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Michigan State University (MSU), my goals are: (a) to perform transformative research in the field of soft tissue biomechanics; (b) to offer excellent education to both graduate and undergraduate students, through quality course offerings and student mentoring; (c) to edify the local and broader scientific communities through my effort in re-search and STEM education.

    My research focuses broadly on integrating experiments with modeling of the biomechanics of soft tissues. Biomechanics identifies a growing field of science that aims to understand the role played by mechanical stimuli (physical forces and deformations) in biological processes.

    First, I aim to quantify experimentally the changes – mechanical, microstructural, and chemical – that can be observed in soft tissues in response to “abnormal” mechanical stimuli, such as increased blood pressure in hypertension, or increased urine storage in type II diabetes. Henceforth, I will refer to this process as adaptive or mal-adaptive remodeling.

    Second, I aim to formulate mathematical models to describe and predict adaptive remodeling, my goal is to formulate and implement models that will predict how tissue characteristics change as a function of the mechanical and chemical environment. Specifically, my research focuses on two soft tissues the left ventricle and the urinary bladder.


     I was born and raised in Verona (Italy), where my family still lives. I received my B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Trento (Italy). I received my Ph.D. in Structural and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Trento in 2011. I then was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University, in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, working on cardiovascular mechanics. I joined MSU in 2014 as assistant professor and was promoted to the role of associate professor in 2020. I live in East Lansing with my husband, Andrea, and my two amazing Siberian huskies, Mowgli and Leeloo.