Introducing Dr. Roshni Rainbow, Assistant Professor

Posted on April 30, 2021


An Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Dr. Roshni Rainbow's research focuses on the study of tissue development and tissue engineering.

  • Video Transcript

    0:00:00.0 Roshni Rainbow: There's just so much there that we don't know. We're working at a scale. We can't really easily test right now with what we have in front of us, and I think engineering can provide us with new ways to do that.

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    0:00:15.2 RR: I'm Roshni Rainbow. I'm an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Materials Engineering Department. I got interested in engineering. I've actually had always been interested in science. And when I was in the middle school, I joined a program at a local university, at Rutgers University, which is the State University of New Jersey, which is where I'm from. And it was a program for girls in science and engineering, and so we went to science and engineering camp at the university in the summers. They did it for three years in a row, and it really got me interested in engineering and the idea of applying math and science to doing something. And so we learned about different kinds of engineering. We participated in labs and did all kinds of really fun stuff that got me really interested in the engineering side, so the application of math and science. And I became very interested in biomedical engineering because I always liked biology specifically. So this was a way of combining biology with math and sciences to apply those principles to solving problems in biology, so kind of fit with what I was really interested in.

    0:01:19.4 RR: After I finished my master's, I worked for about six months or so in industry in a tissue engineering startup, and I thought it was really cool that they were making... The company I worked for was making a tissue-engineered product. And so they were trying to help people with a product that was in clinical trials at the time. I thought that was really interesting that they were using living systems, engineering a living organ for somebody who has a damaged organ. My research focuses on the study of tissue development and tissue engineering. So I'm very interested in morphogenesis, which is the ability for tissues to form, and we're really interested in studying that process in the development of organisms, and then how we can apply what we've learned to tissue engineering, so the ability to grow and regenerate damaged organs and tissues for some therapeutic application.

    0:02:15.8 RR: Biomedical engineering by training is a very collaborative field. The landscape is big. There's a lot of different disciplines that come together for biomedical engineering, specifically for tissue engineering. And so by its nature, I think it's a very collaborative field. And so I think in our work, we're working with clinicians, we work with physicists, we work with chemical engineers, we work with biomaterials experts, we work with stem cell biologists, and so I think it's very collaborative just by its nature. I got my degree in biomedical engineering at Brown University. After that, I decided I needed a little more biology training, so I chose the postdoc in developmental biology, which is different 'cause an engineer doesn't typically go into biology. They usually stay in engineering, so it definitely was a fish out of water. But I really felt like it was really important for me for what I wanted to study, which is how tissues form. I think it was really important to get more understanding, so I chose a postdoc in a different field so that I could learn a lot more and build my toolbox with more knowledge of biology.

    0:03:20.0 RR: And then I went in and did a second postdoc in biomaterials, which is in chemical engineering. Biomaterials is a subfield in tissue engineering where people are developing materials that can be used for all these different tissue engineering applications. And so that gave me more of the engineering side of the material engineering or material science side of things. And so I felt like I got a lot more knowledge than I had when I just finished with my PhD. So I think with the development of additive manufacturing and stem cell technologies, I see that tissue engineering and regenerative medicine has a really exciting future. I think there's a lot of new technology that we'll be able to take advantage of, to 3D print organs, to utilize stem cells in new ways that we're still learning about, and hopefully, someday, we'll be able to engineer viable clinical options for damaged joints and organs.