Mechanical Engineering and Biological Engineering
Director, Biological Engineering
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5070
American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME); American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE); Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)
Early CAREER Award, National Science Foundation; Young Faculty Award, DARPA; Denice Denton Leadership Award, Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology
Pruitt's interests lie at the intersection of mechanobiology, microfabrication, engineering and science and her lab specializes in engineering microsystems and biointerfaces for quantitative mechanobiology. Pruitt’s research group collaborates across science and engineering to develop and apply fundamental technologies for high-throughput single-cell assays, mechanobiology assays, microfabrication of cell culture devices, and biomaterials characterization. Research in the Pruitt lab seeks to understand the role of mechanics in biology and force sensitive pathways in cell-to-cell adhesion and subcellular organization, the role of mechanical environment on the structure and function of stem cell derived cardiomyocytes as biophysical models of health and disease, and to develop models of mechanical signaling underlying the sense of touch and hearing. This research in cell biomechanics and mechanobiology includes development and application of custom microfabricated sensors and systems, new diagnostic tools and analysis systems, and robust manufacture and application of force sensors in harsh environments. Leveraging microscale tools, researchers in the Pruitt lab seek to answer open questions in the areas of physiology, biology, stem cells, neuroscience and cardiology with an eye toward quantitative and fundamental biophysics.