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Persoonlijk profiel


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

Research profile

Sandra Loerakker is an assistant 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). In 2018, she received an ERC Starting Grant to explore the interplay between mechanics and cell-cell signaling in the context of cardiovascular regeneration.

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Onderzoeksoutput 2007 2019

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. (redactie). Cham: Springer, blz. 413-446 34 blz.

Onderzoeksoutput: Hoofdstuk in Boek/Rapport/CongresprocedureHoofdstukAcademic

Tissue engineering
Heart valve prostheses

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 mrt 2019, In : Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. 7, 11 blz., 41

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftTijdschriftartikelAcademicpeer review

Open Access

Mechanically driven adaptation in engineered cardiovascular tissues

van Kelle, A. J., 31 jan 2019, Eindhoven: Technische Universiteit Eindhoven. 134 blz.

Onderzoeksoutput: ScriptieDissertatie 1 (Onderzoek TU/e / Promotie TU/e)Academic

Heart Valves
Blood Vessels

Computational analysis of cell-mediated remodeling of collagenous tissues

Ristori, T., 5 mrt 2018, Eindhoven: Technische Universiteit Eindhoven. 177 blz.

Onderzoeksoutput: ScriptieDissertatie 1 (Onderzoek TU/e / Promotie TU/e)Academic

Open Access
12 Citaties (Scopus)

Computational modeling guides tissue-engineered heart valve design for long-term in vivo performance in a translational sheep model

Emmert, M. Y., Schmitt, B. A., Loerakker, S., Sanders, B., Spriestersbach, H., Fioretta, E. S., Bruder, L., Brakmann, K., Motta, S. E., Lintas, V., Dijkman, P. E., Frese, L., Berger, F., Baaijens, F. P. T. & Hoerstrup, S. P., 9 mei 2018, In : Science Translational Medicine. 10, 440, 13 blz., eaan4587

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftTijdschriftartikelAcademicpeer review

Heart Valves
Tissue Engineering
Heart Valve Prosthesis


Predicting cardiovascular regeneration

Sandra Loerakker (Ontvanger), 2018

Prijs: ERCStartingWetenschappelijk

Tissue Engineering
Heart Valves
Biocompatible Materials
Population Groups


Numerieke analyse van continua

1/09/13 → …


Project Biomechanics

1/09/14 → …



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

Auteur: Rooijakkers, T., 31 aug 2017

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

Scriptie/masterproef: Master

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

Auteur: Huisman, E., 28 feb 2010

Begeleider: Baaijens, F. (Afstudeerdocent 1), Oomens, C. (Afstudeerdocent 2), Bouten, C. (Afstudeerdocent 2), Loerakker, S. (Afstudeerdocent 2), Seelen, H. (Afstudeerdocent 2) & Glatz, J. F. (Externe persoon) (Afstudeerdocent 2)

Scriptie/masterproef: Master

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

Auteur: Oomen, P., 31 mrt 2014

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

Scriptie/masterproef: Master

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

Auteur: van der Meer, R., 30 apr 2016

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

Scriptie/masterproef: Master

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

Auteur: van Kelle, A., 30 apr 2014

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

Scriptie/masterproef: Master