The interest of this lab lies in the application of the theoretical and experimental machinery of physics and engineering to obtain a quantitative understanding of problems inspired by biological systems.

University of Maryland

Fischell Bioengineering Department

3135 Kim Engineering Building

College Park, MD 20742

P: (301) 405 8250

F: (301) 314 6868





Vesicles and Monolayers

Recent Publications

Norman, L.L., K.M. Stroka, and H. Aranda-Espinoza, 2009. Guiding Axons in the Central   Nervous System: A Tissue-Engineering Approach. Tissue Eng Part B Rev 15 (3): 291. Link


A biophysical view of the interplay between mechanical forces and signaling pathways during transendothelial cell migration. K.M. Stroka and H. Aranda-Espinoza, FEBS Journal 277 (2010) 1145. Link

Rounded Rectangle: LAB NEWS

Science walks forward on two feet, namely theory and experiment. Sometimes it is one foot which is put forward first, sometimes the other, but continuous progress is only made by the use of both...

                                                                             Robert Millikan

·  Congratulations to Sarit for winning an ASPIRE award.


· Susan Hamilla  joins the lab.   Welcome!


· Janina wins the Philip Merril presidential scholar award. Congratulations!! Link.


· The lab participates in the Mid-Atlantic Tough Mudder. Congratulations Kimberly, Janina, Heather, and friends  completing it!


·  Kimberly publishes her work on oxLDL in Journal of Biomechanics. Two to go!


· Janina Vaitkus publishes in European Journal of Biophysics. Congratulations!


· REU student, Kevin Shores, joins the lab.


· Helen Wu and Janina Vaitkus presented their work at the Amrican Physical Society in Boston. Link.


· Laura, Sarit, and Neer  join the lab, welcome!


· Carlos publishes paper in Langmuir, congratulations.


· Kimberly presented one invited and one contributed talk in China.


· Welcome to the lab Heather Hayenga.


· Congratulations to Kimberly Stroka for successfully defending her PhD thesis.


· Kimberly accepts postdoc position at the Institute for NanoBioTechnology at Johns Hopkins University.


· Carlos defends successfully his PhD proposal.


· Congratulations to Helen for winning an ASPIRE award.


· Welcome Alex, Manuel, and Andrea.


· Helim teaches summer course on Cell Biophysics in Zacatecas, Mexico.


· Congratulations to Carlos for his publication in Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces.


· Welcome Helen and Farinaz.


· Kimberly Stroka’s paper on neutrophil transmigration is accepted for publication in Blood!



· Helim has been invited to speak in the workshop on Understanding the Organization of the Intracellular Region at the University of Memphis.


· Congratulations to undergrads Tyler Keay and Natan Simhai for graduating and for their second place finish in the Capstone competition.


· Carlos Luna has been invited to speak at the XII National Biophysical School in Sonora, Mexico.


· Michael Lal wins ASPIRE award for summer research.


· Helim has been promoted to Associate Professor!


· Kimberly Stroka and Carlos Luna presented their work at the Biophysical Society in Baltimore.


· Michael Lal wins ASPIRE scholarship for undergraduate research.


· Deborah Hemmingway has been accepted to the biophysics program at UMD.


· Sruthi Rajarajan, Tyler Keay and Natan Simhai join the lab. January 2011.


· Kimberly wins travel award for ASCB 2010.


· Kimberly gives talk at Gordon Research Conference: Signaling by Adhesion Receptors. July 2010, Waterville, ME.


· Helim and Kimberly present their work at the Self Assembly in Biology and Material Science Workshop. June 2010, Huatulco, Mexico.


· Leann Norman defends her Ph.D. May 2010.


· Kimberly Stroka is awarded NIH NRSA predoctoral fellowship in December 2009.


· Carlos Luna joins lab. April 2009.


· Carlos Luna wins fellowship award from CONACYT. August 2008.


· Kimberly Stroka and Leann Matta win travel awards to present their work at the Pierre Gilles de Gennes Winter School in Cargese.




Neutrophils display biphasic relationship between migration and substrate stiffness, K.M. Stroka and H. Aranda-Espinoza. Cell Motility and Cytoskeleton 66 (2009) 328.Link


Stiff 400180

The Effect of Cholesterol on the Traction Forces and Adhesion of Endothelial Cells. L.L. Norman, R. Oetama F. Byfield, M. Dembo, I. Levitan, D. A. Hammer and H. Aranda-Espinoza. Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering 3 (2010) 151.Link

Cortical Neuron Outgrowth is Insensitive to Substrate Stiffness. L.L. Norman and H Aranda-Espinoza. Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering. 3 (2010) 398. Axons elongate independently of substrate stifness. Link

Bleb Dynamics during Cell Spreading. L.L. Norman, K. Sengupta and H. Aranda-Espinoza. European Journal of Cell Biology 90 (2011) 37. Blebs control initial cell spreading. Link

Ion Exchange and Charge Reversal at Ionic Liquid Interfaces. L. Chen, R.V. Lerum, H.Aranda-Espinoza, and H. Bermudez. Journal of Physical Chemistry B 114 (2010) 11502.Link

Cell Blebbing and Membrane Area Homeostasis in Spreading and Retracting Cells. L.L. Norman, K. Sengupta, J. Brugues, P. Sens, and  H. Aranda-Espinoza. Biophysical Journal 99 (2010) 1726. Blebs regulate membrane tension and inhibit cell spreading. Link

Effects of morphology versus cell-cell interactions on endothelial cell stiffness. K.M. Stroka and H. Aranda-Espinoza. Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering 4 (2011) 9. Degree of cell-cell adhesion affects cell stiffness. Link


February, 2013 —  Macrophages transfected with GFP-actin (left). On right is an IRM image. By Heather Hayenga..

Thermodynamics of Monolayers Formed by Mixtures of Phosphatidylcholine/Phosphatidylserine. C. Luna, K.M. Stroka, H. Bermudez, and H. Aranda-Espinoza. Colloids and Surfaces: Biointerfaces 85 (2011) 293. Ion dissociation controls the thermodynamics of charged lipids and its mixtures. Link

Endothelial cell substrate stiffness influences neutrophil
transmigration via myosin light chain kinase-dependent cell contraction
. K.M. Stroka and H. Aranda-Espinoza. Blood 118 (2011) 1632. Neutrophil transmigration through the endothelium depends on substrate stiffness. Link


OxLDL and substrate stiffness promote neutrophil transmigration by enhanced endothelial cell contractility and ICAM-1. K.M. Stroka, I. Levitan and H. Aranda-Espinoza. Journal of Biomechanics. 45 (2012) 1828. Link