Bioengineer recognized for research into structure-function relationship of heart valves

Grande-Allen selected for A.J. Durelli Award by Society for Experimental Mechanics
Bioengineer recognized for research into structure-function relationship of heart valves

Special to Rice News

Rice University’s Jane Grande-Allen has been selected for the 2011 A.J. Durelli Award by the Society for Experimental Mechanics Inc. (SEM) for her significant innovative contributions of new techniques in experimental mechanics.


The award is given annually to recognize younger members of the society in honor of A.J. Durelli, one of the most outstanding experimental stress analysts in the world during the second half of 20th century. SEM will present Grande-Allen with the award during the society’s annual conference next June in Uncasville, Conn.

An associate professor of bioengineering, Grande-Allen looks at valve disease from both material and mechanical perspectives. Her investigations integrate knowledge of heart-valve physiology with precise engineering analysis to examine how continuous mechanical movement and dynamics of pressure and blood flow influence the biological function of heart-valve tissue.

For the past decade, Grande-Allen’s experimental methods to test tissue function, strength, growth and abnormalities have ranged from nano to macro lengths of scale and have sought new mechano-physico bases to forecast changes in tissues over the course of a lifetime. These studies have positioned her as a leading expert in the study of the extracellular matrix that makes up cardiac valve tissue and how its components (collagen, elastin, glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans) assemble into an intricate connective tissue network that influences normal cell-mediated tissue growth.

The research has led to numerous grants and 60 peer-reviewed publications, two book chapters and 67 invited presentations. Other awards Grande-Allen has received include the Oak Ridge Associated Universities Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Development Award (2005), Hamill Innovation (2005, 2008, 2010) and Medical Innovation (2007) awards from Rice’s Institute for Biosciences and Bioengineering, the Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the Houston Society for Engineering in Medicine and Biology (2005), the Brown Foundation Teaching Award (2006) and the Rice University Presidential Mentoring Award (2009).

Formed in 1943, SEM is composed of international members from academia, government and industry who are committed to interdisciplinary application, research and development, education and active promotion of experimental methods.

— Shawn Hutchins is a staff writer in the Department of Bioengineering.

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