Portrait of Sarah Calve
Associate Professor • Biomedical, Materials, Mechanics of Materials
Mechanical Engineering

Office Location: ECES 140
Lab Location: ECES 1B26

Research Interests

Mechanics of soft biological materials, musculoskeletal development and regeneration, extracellular matrix

The primary focus of Associate Professor Sarah Calve's research is to develop techniques to visualize extracellular matrix (ECM) architecture and quantify the combined effect of changes in local stiffness and cyclic loading on the material properties of soft tissues in the developing of the musculoskeletal system. Information gathered from the characterization of the mechanics and composition of assembling tissues will guide the design of more successful regenerative therapies than those based on the tissues of the homeostatic adult. She and her research group are using bio-orthogonal labeling based strategies to identify newly synthesized ECM proteins in the developing musculoskeletal system. To determine the organization of these matrix components, they are using confocal microscopy and novel decellularization and clearing protocols to visualize the 3D architecture of the ECM in the developing mouse. In addition, they established a new atomic force microscopy based method to measure how these changes in composition influence the mechanical properties of cells and ECM in the developing limb. 

Societal Impact

The long term goal of my laboratory is to fully characterize the composition, organization and mechanics of the soft tissues of the musculoskeletal system (i.e. muscle, tendon, ligament, cartilage) to guide the design of therapies that can restore functionality to damaged tissues.

Select Publications

  •  Xu, X., Li, Z., Cai, L., *Calve, S. and *Neu, C. (2016). “Mapping the nonreciprocal micromechanics of individual cells and the surrounding matrix within living tissues,” Scientific Reports, 6, 24272, DOI:10.1038/srep24272.
  • *Calve, S., Witten, A.J., Ocken, A.R. and *Kinzer-Ursem, T. (2016). “Incorporation of non-canonical amino acids into the developing murine proteome,” Scientific Reports, 6, 32377, doi: 10.1038/srep32377.
  • Leng, Y., Abdullah, A., Wendt, M.K. and *Calve, S. (2018) “Hyaluronic acid, CD44 and RHAMM regulate myoblast behavior during embryogenesis,” Matrix Biology, Special Issue on Hyaluronan Biology, DOI: 10.1016/j.matbio.2018.08.008.
  • Silva Garcia, J.M., Panitch, A.P. and *Calve, S. (2019) “Biomechanical control of skeletal muscle cell behavior using peptide-functionalized hyaluronic acid hydrogels,” Acta Biomaterialia, 84, 169 – 179.
  • Acuña, A., Sofronici, S.H., Goergen, C.J. and *Calve, S. (2019) “In situ characterization of native extracellular matrix deformation,” accepted for publication at Experimental Mechanics.

Select Awards

  • NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (2017)
  • Rising Star Junior Faculty Award, Biomedical Engineering Society’s Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Conference (2018)
  • National Academy of Engineering, Japan – America Frontiers of Engineering Symposium Invitee (2018)
  • “Spotlight on the Future” Invited Paper, Journal of Biomechanical Engineering (2018)
  • Young Faculty Travel Award, American Association of Anatomists (top 5 reviewed abstract) (2018)
  • “Young Innovator Issue” Invited Paper, Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering (2019)