Dr. Deva Chan

Areas of Research

soft tissue biomechanics, extracellular matrix biology, and biomedical imaging with applications focused towards orthopedic health, injury, and repair


The Chan Laboratory believes that understanding the early tissue response to injury is critical to diagnosis, assessment, and intervention in life-altering orthopedic diseases, including post-traumatic osteoarthritis. True to our biomedical engineering roots, we adopt a multi-disciplinary approach - using biomechanics, biomedical imaging, and matrix biology - to quantify this complexity in health, injury, and repair processes. We have openings for the following projects:

  • Mechanobiology of hyaluronan synthesis in chondrocytes and progenitor cell populations in the joint: Cells in the synovial joint produce hyaluronan to provide compressive strength, support lubrication, and respond to injury. This project aims to determine how biomechanical stimuli regulates the synthesis and breakdown of hyaluronan in cell populations of the joint and, conversely, how these extracellular matrix changes feed back to alter mechanical function and biological processes related to hyaluronan.
  • Noninvasive measurement of markers of degenerative disc disease: Changes to extracellular matrix content, localized changes in tissue mechanics, and loss of rotational range of motion in lumbar intervertebral discs have been linked to lower back pain. This project aims to develop a suite of small animal (7T) and large animal or clinical (3T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods that can measure changes in the structure, biochemical content, and biomechanical behavior of the disc, enabling the assessment of disease progression and treatment options.
  • Role of hyaluronan synthesis in the progression of post-traumatic osteoarthritis: Hyaluronan plays significant roles in the wound healing process and also prominent mechanical and biological functions in the joint. This project aims to probe the spatiotemporally dynamic response to noninvasively induced joint injury and how this progression is altered in the absence of genes associated with the hyaluronan-rich matrix (e.g., hyaluronan synthase 1).

Other projects, including co-advised research, are also possible based on the background and collaborative team fit.

Recruitment Needs

Creative self-starters from diverse technical and personal backgrounds to enroll as PhD students in Fall 2021. We especially encourage women, BIPOC, and first-generation academics to apply!

Please feel free to contact Dr. Chan directly.

Email: chand@purdue.edu

Website: https://engineering.purdue.edu/ChanLab