Graduate Research Assistant
NSF Graduate Research Fellow
Stem Cell Biomanufacturing IGERT associate
Project Title:
“Morphogen sequestering via biomaterials to direct stem cell differentiation”


Denise graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from the University of South Carolina in 2011. Her undergraduate project at USC focused on the use of biomaterials to create a novel insulin delivery system for diabetic patients. Her contribution focused on optimization of the encapsulation of insulin producing cells . She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Georgia Tech and Emory University. She will be investigating the use of incorporated biomaterials within stem cell aggregates to understand ESC response to  signaling molecules and their surrounding environment.  


Bachelor of Science, Biomedical Engineering
University of South Carolina

Research Interests

Engineering ECM-like materials that actively sequester proteins and bioactive signals have gained significant interest. As one component of the ECM, glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) function to form morphogen gradients during early embryonic development by sequestering secreted growth factors, thus directing the pattern of tissue morphogenesis.  Denise is currently developing GAG based microparticles for incorporation within embryoid bodies. She is interested in understanding how GAGs function to sequester and present endogenously secreted growth factors to direct and control ESC differentiation.  


UNCF-Merck Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowship - 2014

Alfred P. Sloan / Georgia Institute of Technology University Centers of Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM) Scholarship - 2013

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship - 2011-2014

Georgia Tech President's Fellowship - 2011

NSF IGERT Stem Cell Biomanufacturing Associate - 2011

Won Outstanding Poster Presentation at ABRCMS  - 2010

USC Magellan Scholar Recipient - 2009

Recent Publications: