Heilshorn Biomaterials Group

Materials Science & Engineering Department
Stanford University

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Instructor: Professor Sarah Heilshorn
Office: McCullough 246
E-mail: heilshorn AT stanford DOT edu

Engr 50M: Introduction to Materials Science: Biomaterials Emphasis
Taught: annually Winter quarter, also offered online every quarter for Stanford students studying abroad in Berlin, Florence, and Paris
Prerequisites: high school chemistry, physics, and pre-calculus
Course Topics:
  • Relationship between atomic structure and macroscopic properties of man-made and natural materials
  • Mechanical and thermodynamic behavior of surgical implants including alloys, ceramics, and polymers
  • Materials selection for biotechnology applications such as contact lenses, artificial joints, and cardiovascular stents


MatSci 190/210: Organic & Biological Materials

Taught: annually, Spring quarter
Prerequisites: Introduction to Materials Science or equivalent
Course Topics:
  • Unique physical and chemical properties of organic materials and their uses
  • Relationship between structure and physical properties
  • Techniques to determine chemical structure and molecular ordering
  • Examples include
    • Liquid crystals
    • Dendrimers
    • Carbon nanotubes
    • Hydrogels
    • Biopolyers such as lipids, protein, and DNA


MatSci381/BioE361: Biomaterials in Regenerative Medicine

Taught: alternating years, not offered in 2013-14
Prerequisites: none
Course Topics:
  • Materials design and selection for regenerative medicine
  • How materials interact with cells through micro- and nanostructure, mechanical properties, degradation characteristics, surface chemistry, and biochemistry
  • Examples include
    • Novel materials for drug and gene delivery
    • Materials for stem cell proliferation and differentiation
    • Tissue engineering scaffolds


MatSci 81N: Bioengineering Materials to Heal the Body (Freshman Seminar)

Taught: alternating years, not offered in 2013-14
Prerequisites: none
Course Topics: In this class we will explore how scientists and engineers are designing new materials to heal the body.  We will discuss how cells (both those already in the body and transplanted stem cells) can "communicate" with these implanted materials.  Using real-world examples, we will evaluate several materials that are being developed for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine therapies.  Finally, as a class we will identify a clinically important disease or injury that requires a better material, research possible approaches to the problem, and debate several possible engineering solutions.


Materials Science & Engineering DepartmentStanford University

Updated 5/13