Eric Qiao

Graduate Student

Co-Advised with Sanjay Kumar

Previous Education:

BS in Chemical Engineering at Caltech

Project Title:

The Role of Stress Relaxation Properties in Directing Stem Cell Fate


Stem cells sense and respond to the mechanical properties of their environments. For example, neural stem cells can be influenced to differentiate towards one fate or another solely by altering the stiffness of their culture environment. Studies suggest that stem cells exhibit mechanotransduction of viscoelastic cues as well as stiffness cues. I am using neural stem cells and engineered hydrogels with tunable stress-relaxation properties to study how stem cells integrate viscoelastic cues, with the goal of developing materials capable of controlling stem cell fate in culture.


Volleyball, hiking, playing trombone