ME Professor Allen Liu's PhD student Johanna Heureaux is a recipient of the 2017 STAR (SHPE Technical Achievement Recognition) Award from the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. The STAR award honors key contributors in the Hispanic community in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.
Heureaux's research focuses on developing and testing novel mechanotransduction in mammalian cells using a bacterial mechanosensitive channel. She has successfully shown that this channel responds to osmotic pressure and induced membrane tension from cytoskeleton stress in her previous work. Her latest work is aimed at testing whether expression of this mechanosensitive channel might impact the migration of cancer cells migrating in confined 3D microenvironment. Her work represents a new direction in mechanobiology research by repurposing mechanosensitive proteins in different biological contexts.