B.S. ​Chemical Engineering, University of Florida, 2007M.S. ​Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010​​Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2013Post-Doc ​Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, 2013-2016

"We design biomaterials to better understand how cells interpret signals from their environment during disease progression and tissue regeneration."

Steven R. Caliari, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering

Steven joined the faculty of the University of Virginia in August 2016 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering with a secondary appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Prior to joining UVA he was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Steven completed his B.S. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Florida and received both his M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His lab designs, synthesizes, and characterizes new biomaterials to explore the dynamic interplay between cells and their microenvironment, applying these platforms to address fundamental human health challenges in understanding disease and engineering tissues. Steven recently received the NIH (NIGMS) Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) and his lab is grateful for generous support from the NIH, DoD, NSF, V Foundation, and UVA-Coulter Translational Research Partnership.


  • NIH (NIGMS) Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) 2020
  • Robert A. Moore, Jr. Award in Chemical Engineering 2020
  • NIH (NIDDK) F32 Postdoctoral Fellowship 2014-2016
  • Tissue Engineering Young Investigator Council 2014
  • Mavis Future Faculty Fellowship 2012-2013
  • AIChE Bionanotechnology Graduate Student Award Session, 1st place 2012
  • UIC/UIUC Outstanding Research Award in Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, 1st prize 2011

Research Interests

  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanobiology
  • Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering
  • Materials and Advanced Manufacturing for Biological Applications

Selected Publications

  • 'Spatiotemporal control of viscoelasticity in phototunable hyaluronic acid hydrogels,' Biomacromolecules, 20(11): 4126-4134, 2019. ABS E. Hui, K.I. Gimeno, G. Guan, S.R. Caliari
  • 'Engineering biomaterial microenvironments to promote myelination in the central nervous system,' Brain Research Bulletin, 152: 159-174, 2019. ABS D.B. Unal, S.R. Caliari, K.J. Lampe
  • ‘Matching material and cellular timescales maximizes cell spreading on viscoelastic substrates,’ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 115(12): E2686-E2695, 2018. ABS Z. Gong, S.E. Szczesny, S.R. Caliari, E.E. Charrier, O. Chaudhuri, X. Cao, Y. Lin, R.L. Mauck, P.A. Janmey, J.A. Burdick, V.B. Shenoy.
  • 'Mechanically dynamic PDMS substrates to investigate changing cell environments,' Biomaterials, 145: 23-32, 2017. ABS Y.C. Yeh, E.A. Corbin, S.R. Caliari, L. Ouyang, S.L. Vega, R. Truitt, L. Han, K.B. Marguiles, J.A. Burdick.
  • 'N-cadherin adhesive interactions modulate matrix mechanosensing and fate commitment of mesenchymal stem cells,' Nature Materials, 15(12): 1297-1306, 2016. ABS B.D. Cosgrove, K.L. Mui, T.P. Driscoll, S.R. Caliari, K.D. Mehta, R.K. Assoian, J.A. Burdick, R.L. Mauck.
  • ‘Dimensionality and spreading influence MSC YAP/TAZ signaling in hydrogel environments,’ Biomaterials, 103: 314-323, 2016 ABS S.R. Caliari*, S.L. Vega*, M. Kwon, E.M. Soulas, J.A. Burdick, (*co-first authors).
  • ‘Gradually softening hydrogels for modeling hepatic stellate cell behavior during fibrosis regression,’ Integrative Biology, 8(6): 720-728, 2016. ABS S.R. Caliari, M. Perepelyuk, E.M. Soulas, G.Y. Lee, R.G. Wells, J.A. Burdick.
  • ‘A practical guide to hydrogels for cell culture,’ Nature Methods, 13(5): 405-414, 2016. ABS S.R. Caliari, J.A. Burdick.
  • ‘Stiffening hydrogels for investigating the dynamics of hepatic stellate cell mechanotransduction during myofibroblast activation,’ Scientific Reports, 6: 21387, 2016. ABS S.R. Caliari, M. Perepelyuk, B.D. Cosgrove, S.J. Tsai, G. Lee, R.L. Mauck, R.G. Wells, J.A. Burdick.
  • ‘Collagen scaffolds incorporating coincident gradations of instructive structural and biochemical cues for osteotendinous junction engineering,’ Advanced Healthcare Materials, 4(6): 831-837, 2015. ABS S.R. Caliari, D.W. Weisgerber, W.K. Grier, Z. Mahmassani, M.D. Boppart, B.A.C. Harley.
  • 'Collagen scaffold arrays for combinatorial screening of biophysical and biochemical regulators of cell behavior,' Advanced Healthcare Materials, 4(1): 58-64, 2015. ABS S.R. Caliari, E.A. Gonnerman, W.K. Grier, D.W. Weisgerber, J.M. Banks, A.J. Alsop, J.S. Lee, R.C. Bailey, B.A.C. Harley.
  • ‘Composite growth factor supplementation strategies to enhance tenocyte bioactivity in aligned collagen-GAG scaffolds,’ Tissue Engineering Part A, 19(9-10): 1100-1112, 2013. ABS S.R. Caliari, B.A.C. Harley.
  • 'The development of collagen-GAG scaffold-membrane composites for tendon tissue engineering,' Biomaterials, 32(34): 8990-8998, 2011. ABS S.R. Caliari, M.A. Ramirez, B.A.C. Harley.
  • 'The effect of anisotropic collagen-GAG scaffolds and growth factor supplementation on tendon cell recruitment, alignment, and metabolic activity,' Biomaterials, 32(23): 5530-5540, 2011. ABS S.R. Caliari, B.A.C. Harley.
  • 'The generation of biomolecular patterns in highly porous collagen-GAG scaffolds using direct photolithography,' Biomaterials, 32(16): 3949-3957, 2011. ABS T.A. Martin*, S.R. Caliari*, P.D. Williford, B.A. Harley, R.C. Bailey, (*co-first authors).

Courses Taught

  • Tissue Engineering (BME/CHE 4417, CHE 5562/BME 6550) Spring
  • Transport Processes I: Momentum Transfer (CHE 3321) Fall