Sept. 15, 2017
Congrats to Semih Bezci on his paper titled “Effects of Axial Compression and Rotation Angle on Torsional Mechanical Properties of Bovine Caudal Discs” being accepted for publication in the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials. In his work, Semih explores the relationship between rotation angle and axial compressive preload on torsional mechanics. The paper also provides statistical relationships between geometric parameters and mechanical properties, allowing researchers in spine biomechanics to easily account for differences in disc height or area and to compare results across various protocols presented in the literature.

Aug. 26, 2017
Congrats to Ben Werbner and Minhao Zhou on their paper titled “A Novel Method for Repeatable Failure Testing of Annulus Fibrosus” being accepted to the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering. Testing failure properties of fiber reinforced soft materials, such as the annulus fibrosus and meniscus, has been a significant challenge due to tissue specimens often failing prematurely at the grips. Ben and Minhao’s collaborative effort combined computational (finite element modeling) and experimental approaches to determine an appropriate geometry to ensure that tissue failure would occur in the mid-substance. Experimental tests validated our models with approximately 90% agreement.

Aug. 25, 2017
Congrats to Dr. O’Connell on being featured in this year’s Diablo Magazine 40 Under 40.

July 14, 2017
The O’Connell Lab has received a donation from a private donor and Berkeley alum for work with Professor Agogino on the Million Hands project. Part of this donation will also be used to expand ME178: Designing for the Human Body, which will focus on designing and prototyping prosthetics. A huge thank you from the entire lab!

July 13, 2017
Congratulations to Semih Bezci on having his paper accepted for publication in Spine. Passive diffusion is not sufficient for achieving full recovery from daily living; therefore, other mechanisms may play an important role in water absorption during an 8-hour bed-rest.
Semih’s recent research evaluated the role osmotic loading plays on time-dependent recovery behavior of the intervertebral disc following mechanical loading.

July 9, 2017
Recent work finite element modeling work by Bo Yang has been accepted for publication in Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology. In this study, Bo explores the importance of fiber angle orientation on disc mechanics in torsion, which will help researchers understand how some patients may be predisposed to more micro-damages in rotation or twisting. Read the author copy here.

July 6, 2017
Congratulations to Megan Pendleton for having her abstract accepted to the Annual ASBMR Meeting, which will be held in Denver, CO in September. Megan’s work focuses on understanding the effect of radiation on bone mechanical behavior. While her research is supported by NASA to understand what will happen to astronauts as they travel to Mars, her work can help cancer researchers understand what happens to noncancerous tissues following radiation treatment. You can find her abstract under Conference Proceedings.

June 28, 2017
The O’Connell lab welcomes two visiting students for the summer: Kai Littlejohn is an Amgen scholar from Tuskegee University and Carlos (Charlie) Osuna is visiting through the UC LEADS program from UC San Diego.

June 14, 2017
A new blog post by Dr. O’Connell on Learn more about the award receipients of the 2017 Golden Gate Section Society of Women Engineeers (GGS SWE) Scholarship.

May 16, 2017
Congratulations to the class of 2017! The following students from the O’Connell Lab received their degree this week. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!


Megan Pendleton, Mechanical Engineering


Nicole Cazares, Mechanical Engineering

Chun Err Chai, Mechanical Engineering

Shannon Emerzian, Mechanical Engineering

Haohan Gong, Bioengineering

Thomas Georgiou, Mechanical Engineering

Vyshalli Jagadeesan, Mechanical Engineering

Nupur Kaku, Bioengineering

Vishnu Koganti, Bioengineering

Michael Lee, Mechanical Engineering

Brooke Lohman, Bioengineering

Maya Mayson, Bioengineering

Viola Quach, Bioengineering

Jorge Ruiz, Mechanical Engineering

Jacob Ruprecht, Bioengineering

Taylor Shen, Bioengineering

Michael Singer, Mechanical Engineering

Minhao Zhao, Mechanical Engineering


Aran Bahl, Bioengineering

Anne Zeng, Bioengineering

Apr. 28, 2017
The O’Connell Lab has received funding from the Arthritis National Research Foundation to support a project in collaboration with Dr. Lydia Sohn of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Their work aims to develop a low-cost high-throughput method for screening viable cell sources for cartilage tissue engineering.

Apr. 26, 2017
New article on the lab’s efforts in 3D bioprinting, which represents work spearheaded by Gabriel Lopez. Read the article here.

Apr. 2, 2017
Professor O’Connell accepted the 2017 PMSE (Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering) Young Investigator’s Symposium at the 253rd American Chemical Society Meeting in San Francisco, CA.

Mar. 30, 2017
Congratulations to Bo Yang and Professor O’Connell for being awarded the Signatures Innovation Fellows Award, which supports commercialization of software.

Mar. 22, 2017
Congratulations to Semih Bezci for being recognized as an Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor for the 2016-2017 academic year!

Mar. 21, 2017
Congratulations to Bo Yang, Ben Werbner, and Minhao Zhou on having their abstracts accepted for presentation to the SB3C bioengineering conference. One of Yang’s abstracts on modeling soft tissue swelling was selected a finalist in the PhD competition! Read the abstract here.

Mar. 17, 2017
Congratulations to Shannon Emerzian on being awarded the 2017 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. The award will support Emerzian’s research over the next three years.

Mar. 16, 2017
Dr. O’Connell presents the labs research on intervertebral disc mechanics with respect to injury and swelling to scientists at The Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, CA.

Mar. 15, 2017
Drs. Alice Agogino and Grace O’Connell received the 2017 CITRIS Seed Funding Award to further develop low-cost hand prosthesis for children. The work will be performed in collaboration with Sanjay Joshi at UC Davis. CITRIS and the Banatao Institute is focused on supporting work that will create solutions for society’s most pressing challenges.

Mar. 10, 2017
Recent research from the O’Connell Lab is highlighted in this month’s UC Berkeley-UCSF Bioengineering Graduate Newsletter. Read the newsletter here!


Feb. 24, 2017
The 2017 ORS abstract titled “Herniation and Hydration Alters Quantitative MRI Parameters of the Intervertebral Disc” by Drs. Michael Wendland and Grace O’Connell was selected as a finalist for the Spine Section Member Poster Award. Read the abstract here.

Feb. 3, 2017
The lab goes bowling!

Feb. 2, 2017
Dr. O’Connell presents the labs research on intervertebral disc mechanics with respect to injury and swelling to scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA.

Jan. 17, 2017
A new review paper by Dr. O’Connell and colleagues — Drs. Jeannette Garcia from IBM and Amir Jamali from orthopaedic surgery at UC Davis — has been accepted for publication to the ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering Journal. The review article focuses on 3D bioprinting for articular cartilage repair. You can read the public access article here.