Bio


I am PhD candidate in Professor Ellen Kuhl's Living Matter Lab. I study how we can leverage physics-informed machine learning to automate the process of determining which models best fit experimental stress-stretch data.

Honors & Awards


  • EDGE-STEM Doctoral Fellowship, Stanford VPGE
  • NSF GRFP, NSF

Education & Certifications


  • M.S., Stanford University, Mechanical Engineering (2022)
  • B.S., Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Biomedical Engineering (2019)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


biomechanics, machine learning, computational modeling

Lab Affiliations


All Publications


  • Discovering the mechanics of artificial and real meat COMPUTER METHODS IN APPLIED MECHANICS AND ENGINEERING St Pierre, S. R., Rajasekharan, D., Darwin, E. C., Linka, K., Levenston, M. E., Kuhl, E. 2023; 415
  • Principal-stretch-based constitutive neural networks autonomously discover a subclass of Ogden models for human brain tissue Brain Multiphysics St. Pierre, S. R., Linka, K., Kuhl, E. 2023; 4
  • Automated model discovery for human brain using Constitutive Artificial Neural Networks Acta Biomaterialia Linka, K., St. Pierre, S. R., Kuhl, E. 2023
  • Sex Matters: A Comprehensive Comparison of Female and Male Hearts. Frontiers in physiology St Pierre, S. R., Peirlinck, M., Kuhl, E. 2022; 13: 831179

    Abstract

    Cardiovascular disease in women remains under-diagnosed and under-treated. Recent studies suggest that this is caused, at least in part, by the lack of sex-specific diagnostic criteria. While it is widely recognized that the female heart is smaller than the male heart, it has long been ignored that it also has a different microstructural architecture. This has severe implications on a multitude of cardiac parameters. Here, we systematically review and compare geometric, functional, and structural parameters of female and male hearts, both in the healthy population and in athletes. Our study finds that, compared to the male heart, the female heart has a larger ejection fraction and beats at a faster rate but generates a smaller cardiac output. It has a lower blood pressure but produces universally larger contractile strains. Critically, allometric scaling, e.g., by lean body mass, reduces but does not completely eliminate the sex differences between female and male hearts. Our results suggest that the sex differences in cardiac form and function are too complex to be ignored: the female heart is not just a small version of the male heart. When using similar diagnostic criteria for female and male hearts, cardiac disease in women is frequently overlooked by routine exams, and it is diagnosed later and with more severe symptoms than in men. Clearly, there is an urgent need to better understand the female heart and design sex-specific diagnostic criteria that will allow us to diagnose cardiac disease in women equally as early, robustly, and reliably as in men.Systematic Review Registration: https://livingmatter.stanford.edu/.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fphys.2022.831179

    View details for PubMedID 35392369

  • Condensation tendency and planar isotropic actin gradient induce radial alignment in confined monolayers ELIFE Xie, T., St Pierre, S. R., Olaranont, N., Brown, L. E., Wu, M., Sun, Y. 2021; 10

    Abstract

    A monolayer of highly motile cells can establish long-range orientational order, which can be explained by hydrodynamic theory of active gels and fluids. However, it is less clear how cell shape changes and rearrangement are governed when the monolayer is in mechanical equilibrium states when cell motility diminishes. In this work, we report that rat embryonic fibroblasts (REF), when confined in circular mesoscale patterns on rigid substrates, can transition from the spindle shapes to more compact morphologies. Cells align radially only at the pattern boundary when they are in the mechanical equilibrium. This radial alignment disappears when cell contractility or cell-cell adhesion is reduced. Unlike monolayers of spindle-like cells such as NIH-3T3 fibroblasts with minimal intercellular interactions or epithelial cells like Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) with strong cortical actin network, confined REF monolayers present an actin gradient with isotropic meshwork, suggesting the existence of a stiffness gradient. In addition, the REF cells tend to condense on soft substrates, a collective cell behavior we refer to as the 'condensation tendency'. This condensation tendency, together with geometrical confinement, induces tensile prestretch (i.e. an isotropic stretch that causes tissue to contract when released) to the confined monolayer. By developing a Voronoi-cell model, we demonstrate that the combined global tissue prestretch and cell stiffness differential between the inner and boundary cells can sufficiently define the cell radial alignment at the pattern boundary.

    View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.60381.sa2

    View details for Web of Science ID 000703105000001

    View details for PubMedID 34542405

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8478414

  • Patterning Neuroepithelial Cell Sheet via a Sustained Chemical Gradient Generated by Localized Passive Diffusion Devices ACS BIOMATERIALS SCIENCE & ENGINEERING Li, N., Yang, F., Parthasarathy, S., St Pierre, S., Hong, K., Pavon, N., Pak, C., Sun, Y. 2021; 7 (4): 1713-1721

    Abstract

    Recent advances in human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs)-derived in vitro models open a new avenue for studying early stage human development. While current approaches leverage the self-organizing capability of hPSCs, it remains unclear whether extrinsic morphogen gradients are sufficient to pattern neuroectoderm tissues in vitro. While microfluidics or hydrogel-based approaches to generate chemical gradients are well-established, these systems either require continuous pumping or encapsulating cells in gels, making it difficult for adaptation in standard biology laboratories and downstream analysis. In this work, we report a new device design that leverages localized passive diffusion, or LPaD for short, to generate a stable chemical gradient in an open environment. As LPaD is operated simply by media changing, common issues for microfluidic systems such as leakage, bubble formation, and contamination can be avoided. The device contains a slit carved in a film filled with solid gelatin and connected to a static aqueous morphogen reservoir. Concentration gradients generated by the device were visualized via DAPI fluorescent intensity and were found to be stable for up to 168 h. Using this device, we successfully induced cellular response of Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells to the concentration gradient of a small-molecule drug, cytochalasin D. Furthermore, we efficiently patterned the dorsal-ventral axis of hPSC-derived forebrain neuroepithelial cells with the sonic hedgehog (Shh) signal gradient generated by the LPaD devices. Together, LPaD devices are powerful tools to control the local chemical microenvironment for engineering organotypic structures in vitro.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.0c01365

    View details for Web of Science ID 000640306300036

    View details for PubMedID 33751893