I am a graduate student in Dr. Lonnie Shea’s group investigating biomaterials for regenerative medicine. I have just completed my first year of graduate school in the department of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern University. I did my undergraduate studies at Iowa State University, majoring in Biochemistry. I would like to further the understanding of how a follicle interacts with its environment by creating synthetic matrices with biomaterials. I will be considering both mechanical and biological signaling between the follicle and its environment. The influence of mechanical signaling (called mechanotransduction) is a relatively new area of study, so a lot of exciting new discoveries in the field of mechanotransduction are happening! My “big-picture” goal is to apply these findings to the creation of in vitro models of fertility and infertility, and to improve the follicle culture system for the clinical applications of the Oncofertility project.