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Faculty and Staff Directory

Rebecca L. Heise, Ph.D.

Rebecca L. Heise, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Phone: (804) 828-3496
Fax: (804) 828-4454

Virginia Commonwealth University
School of Engineering
Department of Biomedical Engineering
East Hall, Room E1246
401 West Main Street
P.O. Box 843067
Richmond, Virginia 23284-3067


  • B.S., chemical engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2003
  • B.S., biomedical and health engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2003
  • Ph.D., bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, 2008

Research topics

  • Lung injury
  • Pulmonary regenerative medicine
  • Mechanobiology
  • Tissue engineering
  • Smooth muscle cell signaling
  • Cellular biomechanics

Classes taught

  • Senior design studio
  • Introduction to biomechanics
  • Biomaterials

Current projects

  • Mechanically activated innate immunity in ventilator-induced lung injury
  • Primary cilia mechanics in non-small cell lung cancer
  • Mechanotransduction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Cell ECM therapies for lung regeneration

Selected publications

  • Heise R.L., Stober V., Cheluvaraju C., Hollingsworth J.W., and Garantziotis S. “Mechanical Stretch Induces Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition of Alveolar Type II Epithelium Through Hyaluronan Expression and Innate Immune Activation.” (2011) Journal of Biological Chemistry. May 20;286(20):17435-44.
  • Heise R.L., Parekh A., Joyce E.M., Chancellor M.B., and Sacks M.S. “The Effects of Mechanical Stretch on Urinary Bladder Extracellular Matrix Remodeling in a Novel Ex Vivo Organ Culture System.” (2011) Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology. Epub March 8
  • Parekh A., Cigan A.D., Wognum S., Heise R.L., Chancellor M.B., and Sacks M.S. “Ex Vivo Deformations of the Urinary Bladder Wall During Whole Bladder Filling: Contributions of Extracellular Matrix and Smooth Muscle.” (2010) Journal of Biomechanics. June;43(9):1708-1716.
  • Heise R.L., Ivanova J., Parekh A., and Sacks M.S. “Generating Elastin-Rich SIS-Based Smooth Muscle Constructs Utilizing Exogenous Growth Factors and Cyclic Mechanical Stimulation.” (2009) Tissue Engineering. Dec;15(12):3951-60.
  • Parekh A., Long R.A., Iannone E.C., Chancellor M.B., and Sacks M.S. “Assessing the Effects of TGF-B1 on Bladder Smooth Muscle Cell Phenotype. I. Modulation of in vitro Contractility.” (2009) Journal of Urology. Sep;182(3):1210-15.
  • Parekh A., Long R.A., Chancellor M.B., and Sacks M.S. “Assessing the Effects of TGF-B1 on Bladder Smooth Muscle Cell Phenotype. II. Modulation of Collagen Organization.” (2009) Journal of Urology. Sep;182(3):1216-21.
  • Merryman W.D., Lukoff H.D., Long R.A., Engelmayr G.C. Jr., Krueger PM, Hopkins RA, and Sacks M.S. “Synergistic Effects of Cyclic Tension, Transforming Growth Factor- β1, and the Aortic Valve Myofibroblast.” (2007) Cardiovascular Pathology. Sep-Oct;16(5):268-76.
  • Long R.A., Nagatomi. J., Chancellor M.B., and Sacks M.S. “The Role of MMP-I Up-regulation in the Increased Compliance in Muscle-derived Stem Cell-seeded Small Intestinal Submucosa.” (2006) Biomaterials. Apr;27(11):2398-404.