Research on Cardiovascular Biology, Mechanics and Disease

graph of stiffness in cells.

Seeking undergraduate assistants to work on an exciting research project studying effects of substrate stiffness on vascular cell function and molecular players involved in the vessel stiffening process. (Learn new techniques; 3D Bioprinting and Atomic Force Microscopy)

Project description

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the main cause of death globally. Arterial stiffness is associated with many CVDs. The molecular mechanisms governing arterial stiffening and the phenotypic changes in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) associated with the stiffening process are key areas in cardiovascular biology, mechanics and disease. Evidence suggests that arterial stiffening can drive aberrant migration and proliferation of VSMCs within the vessel wall. Yet, the underlying mechanisms regulating vascular stiffening and the molecular changes within VSMCs associated with the stiffening process remain unclear. While medications reduce hypertension, none specifically target pathways directly related to arterial stiffness. The overall goal of work in my lab is to address this gap in our understanding by investigating how changes in arterial stiffness affect VSMC function and fundamentally contribute to the progression of CVD.

Our lab is actively looking for undergraduate assistants for a research project studying effects of substrate stiffness on VSMC functions and molecular players involved in the process. The assistant(s) will be required to learn and perform several basic and advanced lab techniques such as cell culture, western blot, PCR, immunofluorescence, 3D bioprinting, atomic force microscopy, etc. Prior experience of some or all of these techniques is preferred but not required.

Project outcome

The specific outcomes of this project will be identified by the faculty mentor at the beginning of your collaboration. 

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment Year-long (10-12 months)
Start time Anytime
In-person, remote, or hybrid?
Level of collaboration Small group project (2-3 students)
Benefits Academic Credit, Work Study
Who is eligible All undergraduate students
Goldwater and the National Science Foundation

Students participating in this project might be interested in and eligible for the Goldwater Scholarship and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Connect with the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships to learn more.

Project mentor

Yongho Bae

Assistant Professor

Pathology and Anatomical Sciences

955 Main Street, Room 4262

Phone: (716) 829-3523


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  • Read and synthesize research articles related to cardiovascular disease 
  • Attend workshops or orientations as outlined through consultation with the project mentor
  • Lab safety training


Pathology and Anatomical Sciences