Photo of Spencer Szczesny

Spencer Szczesny

Assistant Professor


  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation

228 Hallowell Building


Personal or Departmental Website

Research Areas:

Interest Areas:

tendon/ligament, multiscale mechanics, computational modeling, mechanobiology





Journal Articles

  • 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
  • S J Heo, Spencer Szczesny, D H Kim, K S Saleh and R L Mauck, 2017, "Expansion of mesenchymal stem cells on electrospun scaffolds maintains stemness, mechano-responsivity, and differentiation potential.", Journal of orthopaedic research : official publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society
  • 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, 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.", 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
  • Ze Gong, Spencer Szczesny, Steven Caliari, Elisabeth Charrier, Ovijit Chaudhuri, Xuan Cao, Yuan Lin, Robert Mauck, Paul Janmey, Jason Burdick and Vivek Shenoy, , "Matching material and cellular timescales maximizes cell spreading on viscoelastic substrates", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Spencer Szczesny, Celine Aeppli, Alexander David and Robert Mauck, , "Fatigue loading of tendon results in collagen kinking and denaturation but does not change local tissue mechanics", Journal of Biomechanics

Research Projects

  • July 2016 - August 2017, "Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship," (Sponsor: National Institutes of Health).

Honors and Awards


Service to Penn State:

  • Evaluator, Course Evaluation, November 2017
  • Judge, Capstone Design Project Showcase, December 2017
  • Co-Organizer, Annual Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation Research Symposium, November 2017
  • Committee Member, Bioengineering Graduate Admissions Committee, December 2017

Service to External Organizations:

  • Moderator, Session Moderator, Orthopaedic Research Society, March 2018
  • Committee Member, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Student Leadership Committee, June 2013 - July 2014
  • Committee Member, Orthopaedic Research Society Program Committee, April 2017



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

205 Hallowell Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-863-6614