Photo of Spencer Szczesny

Spencer Szczesny

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering


  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation

425 Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Building


Personal or Departmental Website

Interest Areas:

tendon/ligament, multiscale mechanics, computational modeling, mechanobiology




  • BS, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Pennsylvania, 2003
  • MS, Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2005
  • Ph D, Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, 2015


Journal Articles

  • Lauren Paschall, Sabrina Carrozzi, Erdem Tabdanov, Aman Dhawan and Spencer Szczesny, 2023, "Cyclic Loading Induces Anabolic Gene Expression in ACLs in a Load-Dependent and Sex-Specific Manner", Journal of Orthopaedic Research
  • Krishna Pedaprolu and Spencer Szczesny, 2023, "Mouse Achilles Tendons are Resistant to Collagen Denaturation during Cyclic and Monotonic Loading to Failure", Journal of Biomechanics
  • Spencer Szczesny and David Corr, 2023, "Tendon Cell and Tissue Culture: Perspectives and Recommendations", Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 41, (10), pp. 2093-2104
  • Stanton Godshall, Krishna Pedaprolu, Erica Vasti, Faezeh Eskandari and Spencer Szczesny, 2023, "Measuring Local Tissue Strains in Tendons via Open-Source Digital Image Correlation", Journal of Visualized Experiments, 191
  • Krishna Pedaprolu and Spencer Szczesny, 2022, "A Novel, Open Source, Low-Cost Bioreactor for Load-Controlled Cyclic Loading of Tendon Explants", Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 144, (8), pp. 084505
  • Michelle Jones, Kris Noel Dahl, Tanmay Lele, Daniel Conway, Vivek Shenoy, Soham Ghosh and Spencer Szczesny, 2022, "The Elephant in the Cell: Nuclear Mechanics and Mechanobiology", Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 144, (8), pp. 080802
  • Benjamin Peterson, Rebecca Rolfe, Allen R Kunselman, Paula Murphy and Spencer Szczesny, 2021, "Mechanical Stimulation via Muscle Activity Is Necessary for the Maturation of Tendon Multiscale Mechanics During Embryonic Development", Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 9, pp. 725563
  • Benjamin Peterson and Spencer Szczesny, 2020, "Dependence of tendon multiscale mechanics on sample gauge length is consistent with discontinuous collagen fibrils", Acta Biomaterialia, 117, pp. 302-309
  • Lidya Abune, Nan Zhao, Jinping Lai, Benjamin Peterson, Spencer Szczesny and Yong Wang, 2019, "Macroporous hydrogels for stable sequestration and sustained release of VEGF and bFGF using nucleic acid aptamers", ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, 5, (5), pp. 2382-2390
  • Spencer Szczesny, Celine Aeppli, Alexander David and Robert Mauck, 2018, "Fatigue loading of tendon results in collagen kinking and denaturation but does not change local tissue mechanics", Journal of Biomechanics, 71, pp. 251-256
  • Ze Gong, Spencer Szczesny, Steven Caliari, Elisabeth Charrier, Ovijit Chaudhuri, Xuan Cao, Yuan Lin, Robert Mauck, Paul Janmey, Jason Burdick and Vivek Shenoy, 2018, "Matching material and cellular timescales maximizes cell spreading on viscoelastic substrates", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115, pp. E2686-E2695
  • S J Heo, Spencer Szczesny, D H Kim, K S Saleh and R L Mauck, 2018, "Expansion of mesenchymal stem cells on electrospun scaffolds maintains stemness, mechano-responsivity, and differentiation potential.", Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 36, pp. 808-815
  • Spencer Szczesny, T P Driscoll, H Y Tseng, P C Liu, S J Heo, R L Mauck and P G Chao, 2017, "Crimped Nanofibrous Biomaterials Mimic Microstructure and Mechanics of Native Tissue and Alter Strain Transfer to Cells.", ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, 3, (11), pp. 2869-2876
  • Spencer Szczesny, K L Fetchko, G R Dodge and D M Elliott, 2017, "Evidence that interfibrillar load transfer in tendon is supported by small diameter fibrils and not extrafibrillar tissue components.", Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 35, (10), pp. 2127-2134
  • B N Safa, K D Meadows, Spencer Szczesny and D M Elliott, 2017, "Exposure to buffer solution alters tendon hydration and mechanics.", Journal of Biomechanics, 61, pp. 18-25
  • A H Lee, Spencer Szczesny, M H Santare and D M Elliott, 2017, "Investigating mechanisms of tendon damage by measuring multi-scale recovery following tensile loading.", Acta Biomaterialia, 57, pp. 363-372
  • S Bansal, S Mandalapu, C Aeppli, F Qu, Spencer Szczesny, R L Mauck and M H Zgonis, 2017, "Mechanical function near defects in an aligned nanofiber composite is preserved by inclusion of disorganized layers: Insight into meniscus structure and function.", Acta Biomaterialia, 56, pp. 102-109
  • C Loebel, Spencer Szczesny, B D Cosgrove, M Alini, M Zenobi-Wong, R L Mauck and D Eglin, 2017, "Cross-Linking Chemistry of Tyramine-Modified Hyaluronan Hydrogels Alters Mesenchymal Stem Cell Early Attachment and Behavior.", Biomacromolecules, 18, (3), pp. 855-864
  • Spencer Szczesny and R L Mauck, 2017, "The Nuclear Option: Evidence Implicating the Cell Nucleus in Mechanotransduction.", Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 139, (2)
  • S J Heo, W M Han, Spencer Szczesny, B D Cosgrove, D M Elliott, D A Lee, R L Duncan and R L Mauck, 2016, "Mechanically Induced Chromatin Condensation Requires Cellular Contractility in Mesenchymal Stem Cells.", Biophysical Journal, 111, (4), pp. 864-874
  • Spencer Szczesny, J L Caplan, P Pedersen and D M Elliott, 2015, "Quantification of Interfibrillar Shear Stress in Aligned Soft Collagenous Tissues via Notch Tension Testing.", Scientific Reports, 5, pp. 14649
  • Spencer Szczesny and D M Elliott, 2014, "Incorporating plasticity of the interfibrillar matrix in shear lag models is necessary to replicate the multiscale mechanics of tendon fascicles.", Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 40, pp. 325-338
  • E T Kichula, H Wang, S M Dorsey, Spencer Szczesny, D M Elliott, J A Burdick and J F Wenk, 2014, "Experimental and computational investigation of altered mechanical properties in myocardium after hydrogel injection.", Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 42, (7), pp. 1546-56
  • Spencer Szczesny, R S Edelstein and D M Elliott, 2014, "DTAF dye concentrations commonly used to measure microscale deformations in biological tissues alter tissue mechanics.", PloS ONE, 9, (6), pp. e99588
  • Spencer Szczesny and D M Elliott, 2014, "Interfibrillar shear stress is the loading mechanism of collagen fibrils in tendon.", Acta Biomaterialia, 10, (6), pp. 2582-90
  • T P Driscoll, R H Nakasone, Spencer Szczesny, D M Elliott and R L Mauck, 2013, "Biaxial mechanics and inter-lamellar shearing of stem-cell seeded electrospun angle-ply laminates for annulus fibrosus tissue engineering.", Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 31, (6), pp. 864-70
  • Spencer Szczesny, J M Peloquin, Daniel Cortes Correales, J A Kadlowec, L J Soslowsky and D M Elliott, 2012, "Biaxial tensile testing and constitutive modeling of human supraspinatus tendon.", Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 134, (2), pp. 021004
  • P E Matuszewski, Y L Chen, Spencer Szczesny, S P Lake, D M Elliott, L J Soslowsky and G R Dodge, 2012, "Regional variation in human supraspinatus tendon proteoglycans: decorin, biglycan, and aggrecan.", Connective Tissue Research, 53, (5), pp. 343-8
  • C S Lee, Spencer Szczesny and L J Soslowsky, 2011, "Remodeling and repair of orthopedic tissue: role of mechanical loading and biologics: Part II: cartilage and bone.", American Journal of Orthopedics, 40, (3), pp. 122-8
  • Spencer Szczesny, C S Lee and L J Soslowsky, 2010, "Remodeling and repair of orthopedic tissue: role of mechanical loading and biologics: Part I: Tendon and Ligament; Meniscus", American Journal of Orthopedics, 39, (11), pp. 525-30
  • L J Smith, J T Martin, Spencer Szczesny, K P Ponder, M E Haskins and D M Elliott, 2010, "Altered lumbar spine structure, biochemistry, and biomechanical properties in a canine model of mucopolysaccharidosis type VII.", Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 28, (5), pp. 616-22
  • N G Ibrahim, R Natesh, Spencer Szczesny, K Ryall, S A Eucker, B Coats and S S Margulies, 2010, "In situ deformations in the immature brain during rapid rotations.", Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 132, (4), pp. 044501
  • Kyungsene Lee, Bradnon Davis, Xuelin Wang, Shubham Mirg, Connie Wen, Lidya Abune, Benjamin Peterson, Li Han, Haoyang Chen, Hongjun Wang, Spencer Szczesny, Yuguo Lei, Sri-Rajasekhar Kothapalli and Yong Wang, , "Nanoparticle-Decorated Biomimetic Extracellular Matrix for Cell Nanoencapsulation and Regulation", Angewandte Chemie, 62, (31), pp. e202306583

Research Projects

Honors and Awards

  • CMBE Rising Star Award, Biomedical Engineering Society, January 2022


Service to Penn State:

Service to External Organizations:




The Department of Biomedical Engineering administers the undergraduate major in biomedical engineering, and is a part of the university-wide Intercollege Graduate Degree Program, offering both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Bioengineering. Our work combines traditional engineering principles with medicine and technology for the betterment of human health and society. 

Department of Biomedical Engineering

122 Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-863-6614