Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Lab
Graduate Students

Laura McCallum

While diabetes can be treated with insulin therapy and lifestyle changes, the underlying and critical problem of physiological and metabolic changes within the diabetic patient has yet to be truly understood. Hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and hyperlipidemia within diabetic patients collectively change cellular morphology and biochemical pathways, leading to these physiological changes, compromising systems, especially the cardiovascular system. This has led to the recognition of diabetic cardiomyopathy, a ventricular dysfunction not caused by recognized sources of cardiomyopathy, such as hypertension and coronary artery disease. Laura's research focuses on understanding cellular and physiological changes that cause diabetic cardiomyopathy in diabetic patients. These findings will be the groundwork for creating a bioreactor model for diabetic cardiomyopathy for research purposes. This novel model will allow for faster drug testing and lead to greater diabetic cardiomyopathy research opportunities.

Jhilmil Duhlekar

Diabetes is a major risk factor for vascular diseases, and diabetic patients are more susceptible to damaged tissues and blood vessels. This is because in diabetes, elevated blood glucose and lipid levels interact with proteins such as collagen and elastin in the blood vessel walls, and via oxidation and cross-linking processes, result in vascular stiffening, inflammation, impaired healing, fibrosis, and calcification. The goal of Jhilmil’s research is to develop tissue engineered vascular grafts resistant to diabetes-related alterations. This will involve understanding the alterations induced by diabetes in vascular scaffolds, stabilizing the scaffolds with a polyphenol coating to reduce alterations to the vascular wall, and seeding adipose stem cells on the scaffolds to promote renewal of vascular tissue using a bioreactor. Ultimately, Jhilmil aims that when implanted into animals, these vascular grafts will show improved renewal of the tissues without any impairment to the vessel integrity and structure.

Spencer Marsh

I am a Ph.D. student studying the effects in co-culture of cardiomyocytes and cardiac fibroblasts. This will extend into matrix based co-culture as well after my initial research is completed. For my undergraduate degree, I majored in bio-engineering with a concentration in bio-materials here at Clemson university.  In my undergraduate research, I worked in Dr. Simionescu's lab and worked on differentiation of adipose derived stem cells into cardiomyocytes. Along with this, I currently hold the logistics and operations manager position for central campus activities and events; this involves managing Tillman auditorium, palmetto ballroom, bowman field, and many other venues. In my free time, I enjoy reading and spending my time outdoors. 

Anna Lu Carter

Anna Lu began working in the CTERM laboratory in 2013 as an undergraduate research assistant while pursuing her Bachelor’s in Bioengineering with an emphasis on Biomaterials. During this time, she completed her departmental honors project in 2015 investigating the effects of chemical and mechanical stimuli on tissue-engineered vascular grafts (TEVG) in diabetic environments. She is now currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Bioengineering, focusing on building a better bioreactor model to evaluate the effects of a hypertensive environment on TEVGs. In her spare time, Anna Lu enjoys indulging in her hobbies including running, swing dancing, shotgun shooting and digital arts.

David Pollard

Diabetes is an extremely prevalent disease affecting more than 400 million people worldwide. While Diabetes is a severe disease, it is also a major risk factor for other related complications including organ dysfunction, damage or failure and cardiovascular disease. Due to physiologic and metabolic changes such as inflammation, oxidation and cross-linking, blood vessels calcify and become stiffer, fibrotic and less compliant. The goal of my research is to better understand renal cardiovascular remodeling and renal failure in diabetic patients.I received my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of South Carolina and am currently pursuing an MS in Bioengineering in Dr. Simionescu's lab. In my free time, I enjoy reading, playing basketball, watching movies and hiking.


Chris Deborde

Ph.D. 2017, Bioengineering
Currently: Process Development Engineer at Humacyte

James McManus

M.S. 2017, Bioengineering

Margarita Portilla

M.S. 2016, Bioengineering
Currently: Ph.D. student in Dr. Dan Simionescu's BTRL lab

Joshua Biggs

M.S. 2016, Bioengineering

Josh Rodriguez

M.S. 2016, Bioengineering

Robert Marti

M.S. 2016, Bioengineering

Eric Wright

M.S. 2016, Bioengineering

Lisa Larrew

M.S. 2016, Bioengineering

Elizabeth Fontaine

M.S. 2015, Bioengineering

Lee Sierad

Ph.D. 2014, Bioengineering
Currently: Aptus (


Jason Schulte

Ph.D.2014, Bioengineering
Currently: Postdoctoral Associate, Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery Department,
                 Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, Louisville, KY


James Chow

Ph.D 2014, Bioengineering
Currently: Gore Medical

Satyem Patel

M.S. 2014, Bioengineering

Click HERE to see the undergraduate students

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