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    Natacha DePaola, Ph.D. - Professor of Biomedical Engineering

    Natacha DePaola, Ph.D.

    Professor of Biomedical Engineering
    Carol and Ed Kaplan Armour Dean of Engineering

    Office: Suite 224 - Perlstein Hall
    10 West 33rd Street

    Phone: 312.567.3009
    Fax: 312.567.7961
    Web: IIT Armour College of Engineering


    • Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering


    • B.S., Simon Bolivar University, Caracas-Venezuela (1984)
    • M.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1987)
    • Ph.D., Harvard Medical School-Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Division of Health Science and Technology (1991)
    • Post-doctoral, Columbia University (1992)


    DePaola’s research investigates the role of physical mechanisms on cellular behavior emphasizing its importance in the understanding of human disease, the development of new therapies, and the engineering of functional tissues. A major emphasis of her research is on hemodynamic regulation of vascular cell function in early atherosclerosis, gap junctional intercellular communication, and biophysical regulation of mammalian cell function with applications to vascular and bone tissue engineering.

    Current Projects


    • IEEE Woman in Engineering Award (2012)
    • Chicago Women of Achievements (2009)
    • Carol and Ed Kaplan Armour College Dean of Engineering Endowed Chair (2009)
    • Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). Class of 2007.
    • Member of the Institute for Medicine and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania (1998-2007)
    • Frontiers Alumna, National Academy of Engineering, Frontiers of Engineering (1997)
    • NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award (1996)
    • US Delegate to the 5th Japan-USA-Singapore-China Conference on Biomechanics. Sendai, Japan (1998)


    • “Diamagnetic Force Field Bioreactor" U.S Patent, U.S. Pat. No. 7,482,154 January 27, 2009
    • "Method for the Functional Endothelialization of Implanatable Endovascular Devices" USPTO No. 10/574,388 (pending)
    • "Body Cooling Device and Method" USPTO No. 60/773,947 (pending)


    Selected Publications

    Dewey, C.F., Jr. and DePaola, N. Exploring Flow-cell Interactions Using Computational Fluid Dynamics. Tissue Engineering 14: 31-34, 1989.

    DePaola, N., Gimbrone, M.A., Jr., Davies, P.F. and Dewey, C.F., Jr. Vascular Endothelium Responds to Fluid Shear Stress Gradients. Arteriosclerosis and Thrombosis 12: 1254-1257, 1992.

    Sanmartin, J.R., Lopez-Rebollal, O., and DePaola, N. Non-periodic Driving of Coupled Oscillators: A Spherical Swing. Physica D 69:148-162, 1993.

    DePaola, N., Gimbrone, M.A., Jr., Davies, P.F. and Dewey, C.F., Jr. Vascular Endothelium Responds to Fluid Shear Stress Gradients. Arteriosclerosis and Thrombosis 13: 465, 1993.

    LeDuc, C., DePaola, N., Konath, S.L., Vroman, L. and Leonard, E.F. Adsorption of Proteins out of Plasma onto Glass from a Separated Flow. J.Biomater.Sci. Polymer Edn. 6(7): 599-608, 1994

    DePaola, N. The Effect of Shear Stress Gradients on Endothelial Cell Proliferation and Monolayer Integrity. Advances in Bioengineering 28: 321-322, 1994.

    Waters, C.M., Glucksberg, M.R., DePaola, N., Chang, J., and Grotberg, J.B. Shear Stress Alters Pleural Mesothelial Cell Permeability in Culture. J. Appl. Physiol. 81(1): 448-458, 1996.

    Waters, C.M., Chang, J., Glucksberg, M.R., DePaola, N., and Grotberg, J.B. Mechanical Forces Alter Growth Factor Release by Pleural Mesothelial Cells. American Journal of Physiology: Lung Cell. Mol. Physiol. 272(16): L552-L557, 1997.

    Davies, P.F., Barbee, K.A., Volin, M.V., Robotewskyj, A., Chen, J., Joshep, L., Griem, M.L., Wernick, M.N., Jacobs, E., Polacek, D.C., DePaola, N., and Barakat, A.I. Spatial Relationships in Early Signaling Events of Low-Mediated Endothelial Mechanotransduction. Annual Review of Physiology 59:527-49, 1997.

    Davies, P.F., DePaola, N., and Polacek, D.C. Hemodynamic Forces and Vascular Cell Communication. Atherosclerosis XI:943-948, 1998.

    DePaola, N., Davies, P.F., Pritchard, W.F., Florez, L., Harbeck, N., and Polacek, D.C. Spatial and Temporal Regulation of Gap Junction Connexin 43 in Vascular Endothelial Cells Exposed to Controlled Disturbed Flows In Vitro. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 96(6): 3154-3159, 1999.

    Davies, P.F., Polaceck, D.C., Handen, J.F., Helmke, B.P., and DePaola, N. Mechanotransduction and the Focal Origin of Atherosclerosis: A Spatial Approach to Gene Expression Profiling. Trends in Biotechnology, 17: 347-351, 1999.

    Phelps, J.E., and DePaola, N. Spatial Variation in Endothelial Barrier Function in Disturbed Flows In Vitro. American Jounal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 278: H469-H476, 2000.

    DePaola, N., Phelps, Florez, L., J.E., Keese, C.R., Minnear, F.L., Giaever, I., and Vincent, P. Electrical Impedance of Culture Endothelium under Fluid Flow. Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 29: 648-659, 2001.

    Davies, P.F., Shi C., DePaola, N., Helmke Brian, P., and Polacek, D.C., Hemodynamics and the focal origin of atherosclerosis: A spatial approach to endothelial structure, gene expression, and function. Ann. New York Acad. Sciences, 947: 7-17, 2001.

    Haberstroh, K., Kaefer, M., DePaola, N., and Bizios, R., A Novel In Vitro System for the Simultaneous Exposure of Bladder Smooth Muscle Cells to Mechanical Strain and Sustained Hydrostatic Pressure, Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 124: 208-213, 2002.

    Birukov, K. G., Birukova, A. A., Dudek, S., Crow, M., DePaola N., and Garcia, J.G.N. Shear Stress-Mediated Cytoskeletal Remodeling and Cortactin Translocation In Pulmonary Endothelial Cells. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, 26: 1-12, 2002.

    Rizzo, V., Morton, C., DePaola, N., Schintzer, J.E. and Davies, P.F. Recruitment of Endothelial Caveolae into Mechanotransduction Pathways by Flow Conditioning In Vitro. American Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 285: H1720-H1729, 2003.

    Burns, M., and DePaola, N. Flow–Conditioned HUVEC Support Clustered-Leukocyte Adhesion by Coexpressing ICAM-1 and E-Selectin. American Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 288: H194-H204, 2005.

    Shikata, Y., Rios, A., Kawkitinarong, K., DePaola,N., Garcia, J.G.N., and Birukov, K.G., Differential Effects of Shear Stress and Cyclic Strain on Focal Adhesion Remodeling, Site-specific FAK Phosphorylation and Small GTPases in Human Lung Endothelial Cells. Experimental Cell Research, 304: 40-49, 2005.

    Ebong, E.E., Kim S., and DePaola N. Flow Regulates Intercellular Communication in HAEC by Assembling Functional Cx40 and Cx37 Gap Junctional Channels. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 290(5):H2015-23, 2006.

    Professional Society Memberships