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Personal profile


"Computational modeling has critically advanced our understanding of growth and remodeling of engineered cardiovascular tissues."

Research profile

Sandra Loerakker is an associate professor at the TU/e department of Biomedical Engineering (research group Soft Tissue Engineering and Mechanobiology). Her expertise is in modeling the mechanobiology of native and engineered tissues using integrated computational and experimental methods. The ultimate goal of her research is to obtain a fundamental understanding of the biological mechanisms responsible for soft tissue development, homeostasis, and disease, and to translate those findings into novel therapies in the field of regenerative medicine. She primarily focuses on understanding how mechanical factors drive soft tissue growth and remodeling at different spatial and temporal scales.

Examples of her research include the computational analysis of growth and remodeling of native cardiovascular tissues; the analysis and prediction of in vivo remodeling of engineered cardiovascular tissues; systematic investigations of the potential impact of implant design on the remodeling of engineered tissues; the establishment of in vitro platforms to experimentally analyze soft tissue growth and remodeling; and the development of computational models to understand and predict the interplay between mechanics and cell-cell signaling in growth and remodeling.

Academic background

Sandra Loerakker was trained in Biomedical Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) where she obtained both her BSc and MSc degrees cum laude. Her MSc project concerned the development of a computational model to analyze flow fields in a failing heart supported by a ventricular assist device. In 2007, she started her PhD research on the etiology and early detection of deep pressure ulcers in skeletal muscle, using a combination of computational and experimental methods. She performed part of this research at Northwestern University (USA) and in collaboration with the University of Alberta (Canada). After defending her PhD thesis at TU/e in 2011, she continued as a postdoctoral researcher in heart valve biomechanics and mechanobiology. In 2015, she was appointed as assistant professor in Modeling in Mechanobiology at the TU/e department of Biomedical Engineering, focusing on understanding the mechanobiology of native and engineered tissues using integrated computational and experimental methods. From May 2016 – April 2017, supported by a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship, she was a visiting assistant professor at Stanford University (USA). She received an ERC Starting Grant in 2018 to explore the interplay between mechanics and cell-cell signaling in the context of cardiovascular regeneration. In 2019, she was promoted to associate professor.

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  • 26 Similar Profiles
Tissue Engineering & Materials Science
Heart Valves Medicine & Life Sciences
Collagen Engineering & Materials Science
Muscle Engineering & Materials Science
Pressure Ulcer Medicine & Life Sciences
Stress Fibers Medicine & Life Sciences
Tissue engineering Engineering & Materials Science
Wounds and Injuries Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2007 2020

7 Downloads (Pure)
Open Access
Tissue Engineering
Tissue engineering
Gastrin-Secreting Cells
11 Downloads (Pure)

A computational model to predict cell traction-mediated prestretch in the mitral valve

van Kelle, M. A. J., Rausch, M. K., Kuhl, E. & Loerakker, S., 18 Nov 2019, In : Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering. 22, 15, p. 1174-1185 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Structural properties
5 Downloads (Pure)

Biomechanics and modeling of tissue-engineered heart valves

Ristori, T., van Kelle, A. J. M., Baaijens, F. & Loerakker, S., 9 Apr 2019, Advances in heart valve biomechanics: valvular physiology, mechanobiology, and bioengineering. Sacks, M. & Liao, J. (eds.). Cham: Springer, p. 413-446 34 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

Tissue engineering
Heart valve prostheses
1 Citation (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)

Increased cell traction-induced prestress in dynamically cultured microtissues

van Kelle, M. A. J., Khalil, N., Foolen, J., Loerakker, S. & Bouten, C. V. C., 12 Mar 2019, In : Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. 7, 11 p., 41.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
8 Downloads (Pure)

Vimentin regulates Notch signaling strength and arterial remodeling in response to hemodynamic stress

van Engeland, N. C. A., Suarez Rodriguez, F., Rivero-Müller, A., Ristori, T., Duran, C. L., Stassen, O. M. J. A., Antfolk, D., Driessen, R. C. H., Ruohonen, S., Ruohonen, S. T., Nuutinen, S., Savontaus, E., Loerakker, S., Bayless, K. J., Sjöqvist, M., Bouten, C. V. C., Eriksson, J. E. & Sahlgren, C. M., 27 Aug 2019, In : Scientific Reports. 9, 1, 14 p., 12415.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Vascular Smooth Muscle
Transcriptional Activation
Smooth Muscle Myocytes


Predicting cardiovascular regeneration

S. Loerakker (Recipient), 2018

Prize: ERCStartingScientific

Tissue Engineering
Heart Valves
Biocompatible Materials
Population Groups


Numerical analysis of continua

1/09/13 → …


Project Biomechanics

1/09/14 → …


Press / Media

Student theses

A constitutive material model to describe the mechanical behavior of human skin in shear, tensile and indentation tests

Author: Rooijakkers, T., 31 Aug 2017

Supervisor: Oomens, C. (Supervisor 1), Loerakker, S. (Supervisor 2), Lopata, R. (Supervisor 2) & Soetens, J. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master

Biochemical muscle damage markers for early detection of deep pressure ulcers: a pilot study and a kinetics model

Author: Huisman, E., 28 Feb 2010

Supervisor: Baaijens, F. (Supervisor 1), Oomens, C. (Supervisor 2), Bouten, C. (Supervisor 2), Loerakker, S. (Supervisor 2), Seelen, H. (Supervisor 2) & Glatz, J. F. (External person) (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master

Causes and consequences of collagen architecture remodeling in human native heart valves: temporal changes from the fetal to the adult heart valve

Author: Oomen, P., 31 Mar 2014

Supervisor: Baaijens, F. (Supervisor 1), Bouten, C. (Supervisor 2), Loerakker, S. (Supervisor 2), Bovendeerd, P. (Supervisor 2) & van Donkelaar, C. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master

Development of a finite element spine model to simulate different scoliosis treatment scenarios

Author: van der Meer, R., 30 Apr 2016

Supervisor: van Rietbergen, B. (Supervisor 1), Ito, K. (Supervisor 2), Arts, J. (Supervisor 2), Roth, A. (Supervisor 2) & Loerakker, S. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master

Effects of mechanical constraints on cell-generated stress and collagen remodeling in statically cultured tissues

Author: van Kelle, A., 30 Apr 2014

Supervisor: Bouten, C. (Supervisor 1), Baaijens, F. (Supervisor 2), van Rietbergen, B. (Supervisor 2), Loerakker, S. (Supervisor 2) & van Loosdregt, I. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master