2022 Speakers

Biomaterials Day 2022

We are thrilled to feature talks from Dr. Steve Harrington, Dr. Rebecca Wachs, Dr. John Clegg, and our keynote speaker Dr. Michelle Oyen! More information on our 2022 speakers can be found below.

Michelle Oyen, Ph.D.


Dr. Michelle Oyen

Dr. Michelle L. Oyen is the inaugural Director of the new Center for Women's Health Engineering based in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to her current appointment, she was on the faculty at the University of Cambridge (2006-2018) in the UK and then briefly at East Carolina University (2018-2021). Dr. Oyen has degrees in Materials Science and Engineering (BS), Engineering Mechanics (MS), and a PhD in Biophysical Sciences. She has worked on many problems in tissue biomechanics and biomimetic materials. She has researched engineering approaches to pregnancy and women's health for over twenty years, particularly in methods to prevent, diagnose, and intervene in preterm birth. Current research projects include multiscale modeling of placenta function, microstructural fracture models for amniotic sac rupture and physical properties of the healthy and pathological uterus.

John Clegg, Ph. D.

Dr. John Clegg

Dr. John Clegg is an assistant professor in the Stephenson School of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. Before starting at OU, he completed a post-doctoral fellowship through Harvard University and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Dr. Clegg has degrees in Biomedical Engineering from the University of South Carolina (BS) and the University of Texas at Austin (MSE & PhD). He also has a master's degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, Dr. Clegg leads the Neuro-Immuno-Engineering collective which investigates hydrogel and innate immune cell-based therapeutics for the treatment of neurological diseases and traumatic injuries. Current research projects include hierarchical synthesis of soft biomaterials for sustained release of immunomodulators, engineered brain-tissue barrier models, tandem delivery of macrophage cell-based therapeutics via immunomodulatory scaffold, and translation of therapeutics to treat brain injury and brain cancer.


Rebecca Wachs, Ph. D.

Dr. Rebecca Wachs is an assistant professor in the Biological Systems Department at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. She has degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Insitute (BS) and Biomedical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (MS). Before joining the faculty at UNL, Dr. Wachs worked for Carl Zeiss Microimaging Inc. as a 3D imaging specialist. She completed her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her dissertation focused on mechanisms of low back pain, and was completed with Dr. Eric Ledet. She then completed her post-doctoral research under Dr. Christine Schmidt at the University of Florida in neural engineering. Dr. Wachs leads the Orthopedic and Neural Engineering Lab which engineers solutions to treat painful degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis and low back pain. Current research projects include optimizing novel decellularization methods to maintain essential ECM proteins, developing injectable formulations of decellularized tissue, investigating the ability of decellularized tissue to modulate immune response, and delivering neuromodulatory molecules to enable painless disc degeneration.



Steve Harrington, Ph.D.

Dr. Steve Harrington is the Director of Hydrogel and Cell Formulation at Likarda, a biotech company developing cell therapies and enabling technologies to transform the way cell therapies are delivered an function. Likarda's foundational technology is based on cell encapsulation and delivery in hydrogels using their patented CSS(Core-Shell Spherification) system, which utilizes readily available and biocompatible hydrogel materials such as Hyaluronic Acid, PEG, and a number of other chemistries to create microcapsules that easily house cell-based therapies. Dr. Harrington has a degree in Chemistry from Emporia State University (BS) and a PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk!). He has been with Likarda since graduating from KU in 2017.