Name: Michael S. Sacks, Ph.D.
Affiliation: University of Pittsburgh
Title: Associate Professor, Department of Bioengineering

Professional Summary:
Dr. Michael S. Sacks is currently an Associate Professor of Bioengineering and CNG Faculty Fellow. Dr. Sacks holds both a B.S. and M.S. in Applied Mechanics from Michigan State University and in 1992, received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Following graduation, he joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Miami and was the recipient of an Initial Investigatorship of the American Heart Association award and a Whitaker Biomedical Engineering Grant.

Upon his arrival in Pittsburgh in 1998, with the help of his students Dr. Sacks formed the Engineered Tissue Mechanics Laboratory. In 2001, Dr. Sacks was designated an established investigator of the American Heart Association for his work on the micromechanics of native and bioprosthetic heart valve tissues. Dr. Sacks has established collaborations with Drs. John E. Mayer of Boston Children's and Frederick Schoen of Brigham and Women's Hospitals in an effort to better understand the biomechanics of tissue engineered heart valves. In addition to his heart valve work, Dr. Sacks established a novel research area in the biomechanics of the urinary bladder with the help of Drs. Chancellor and DeGroat of the departments of Urology and Pharmacology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. This fruitful and enjoyable collaboration has lead to several NIH funded projects on the effects of spinal cord injury and the development of stem-cell seeded tissue scaffolds for bladder wall replacement. Dr. Sacks also has significant collaborations with Dr. David Vorp in the investigation of the biomechanics of the aortic wall, and Dr. William Wagner in the development of biodegradable polymers for tissue engineered scaffolds.

Dr. Sacks has been featured in several publications for his efforts in a variety of research areas. However, his primary research focus is quantitative tissue microstructure-mechanical property relations in biologically derived and engineered tissues. In the course of his research, he has also developed unique instrumentation for multi-axial mechanical property testing of soft biological tissues and a novel small angle light scattering (SALS) device for rapid quantification of collagen fiber architecture. Dr. Sacks' long-term goal is the development of rigorous biomechanics approaches for improving replacement tissues, based on a thorough understanding of the mechanics of native tissues as the ideal functional design paradigm.

Educational Background:
Ph.D. (Biomedical Engineering), University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 1992
M.S. Applied Mechanics, Michigan State University, 1983
B.S. Applied Mechanics, Michigan State University, 1981

Lab Contact Info:
Michael S. Sacks, PhD
Research: 100 Technology Drive, Room 250
Teaching: Room 742 Benedum Hall
Phone: (412) 641-1473
Fax: (412) 641-1503

Research Interests:
  • Quantification and modeling of the structure-mechanical properties of native and engineered soft tissues
  • Mechanical behavior and function of the native aortic and mitral heart valves, including the development of the first constitutive (stress-strain) models for these tissues using a structural approach
  • Biomechanics of engineered tissues
  • In-vitro and in-vivo remodeling processes from a functional biomechanical perspective
M.S. Sacks and F.J. Schoen, "Mechanical damage to collagen independent of calcification limits bioprosthetic heart valve durability," Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, vol. 62, pp. 359-371, 2002.

J.Guan, M.S. Sacks, E.J. Beckman, W.R. Wagner, "Synthesis, characterization, and cytocompatability of elastomeric, biodegradable poly(ester-urethane)ureas based on poly(caprolactone) and putrescine," Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, vol. 61, pp. 493-503, 2002.

D. C. Gloeckner, M.S. Sacks, M.O. Fraser, G.S. Somogyi, W.C. de Groat, M.B. Chancellor," Passive Biaxial mechanical properties of the rat urinary bladder wall after spinal cord injury," J. Urology, vol. 167, pp. 2247-2252, 2002.

S.M. Wells and M.S. Sacks, "Effects of fixation pressure on the biaxial mechanical behavior of porcine bioprosthetic heart valves with long-term cyclic loading," Biomaterials, vol. 23, no. 11, pp. 2389-2399, 2002.

M.S. Sacks, "The biomechanical effects of fatigue on the porcine bioprosthetic heart valve," Journal of Long-term Effects of Medical Implants, Vol. 11 (3&4),pp. 231-247, 2001.