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 the dynamic reciprocity between cells and their environment during disease progression and tissue regeneration."

Steven R. Caliari, Associate 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. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2022 and named a SEAS Copenhaver Fellow in 2023. 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 has received the NIH (NIGMS) Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA), NSF CAREER Award, and was named a Young Innovator in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering. His lab is grateful for generous support over the years from the NIH, DoD, NSF, V Foundation, UVA-Coulter Translational Research Partnership, and Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation.


  • SEAS Copenhaver Fellow 2023
  • UVA Research Excellence Award 2022
  • Young Innovator in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering 2021
  • NSF CAREER Award 2021
  • NIH (NIGMS) Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) 2020
  • Robert A. Moore, Jr. Award in Chemical Engineering 2020

Research Interests

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

In the News

  • Researcher’s Dream

    Prestigious NIH Award Frees Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Investigator to Follow the Science

    The first proposal Steven Caliari submitted to a funding agency since becoming a father was a big one. He had reason to be hopeful.

    Read More
  • Crossing Domains

    Two Senior Hires and a New Assistant Professor Add Depth that Spans Barriers

    The field of biomedical engineering—which itself is a hybrid of disciplines—calls for a unique blend of skills. The BME department at UVA is undergoing a 10-plus-year program to...

    Read More

Selected Publications

  • 'Supramolecular fibrous hydrogel augmentation of uterosacral ligament suspension for treatment of pelvic organ prolapse,' Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2023. ABS B. Miller, W. Wolfe, J.L. Gentry, M.G. Grewal, C.B. Highley, R. De Vita, M.H. Vaughan**, S.R. Caliari** (**co-corresponding authors)
  • 'Hydrogel mechanics regulate fibroblast DNA methylation and chromatin condensation,' Biomaterials Science, 11: 2886-2897, 2023. ABS J.L. Sumey, P.C. Johnston, A.M. Harrell, S.R. Caliari
  • 'Development of a uterosacral ligament suspension rat model,' Journal of Visualized Experiments, 186: e64311, 2022. ABS B.J. Miller, B.K. Jones, J.S. Turner, S.R. Caliari, M.H. Vaughan
  • 'Photoreactive hydrogel stiffness influences volumetric muscle loss repair,' Tissue Engineering Part A, 28(7-8): 312-329, 2022. ABS I.M. Basurto, J.A. Passipieri, G.M. Gardner, K.K. Smith, A.R. Amacher, A.I. Hansrisuk, G.J. Christ**, S.R. Caliari** (**co-corresponding authors)
  • 'Click-functionalized hydrogel design for mechanobiology investigations,' Molecular Systems Design & Engineering, 6: 670-707, 2021. ABS E. Hui, J.L. Sumey, S.R. Caliari
  • 'Aligned and electrically conductive 3D collagen scaffolds for skeletal muscle tissue engineering,” Biomaterials Science, 9(11): 4040-4053, 2021. ABS I.M. Basurto, M.T. Mora, G.M. Gardner, G.J. Christ, S.R. Caliari
  • 'Guest-host supramolecular assembly of injectable hydrogel nanofibers for cell encapsulation,' ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, 7(9): 4164-4174, 2021. ABS B. Miller, A. Hansrisuk, C.B. Highley, S.R. Caliari
  • 'The combined influence of viscoelastic and adhesive cues on fibroblast spreading and focal adhesion organization,' Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, 14, 427-440, 2021. ABS E. Hui, L. Moretti, T.H. Barker, S.R. Caliari
  • 'Fabrication approaches for high-throughput and biomimetic disease modeling,' Acta Biomaterialia, 132: 52-82, 2021. ABS M.L. Grubb, S.R. Caliari
  • '3D hyaluronic acid hydrogels for modeling oligodendrocyte progenitor cell behavior as a function of matrix stiffness,' Biomacromolecules, 21(12): 4962-4971, 2020. ABS D.B. Unal, S.R. Caliari**, K.J. Lampe** (co-corresponding authors)
  • '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
  • '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)
  • ‘A practical guide to hydrogels for cell culture,’ Nature Methods, 13(5): 405-414, 2016. ABS S.R. Caliari, J.A. Burdick

Courses Taught

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