Contact Information

Tel: 212.854.6731


B.S., Biomedical Engineering, 2010, Brown University
M.S., Biomedical Engineering, 2015, Columbia University
Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, 2018 (expected), Columbia University


Areas of Research Interest

Tissue engineering; synovium; cell migration; stem cells; orthopaedics


Rob grew up in the suburbs of Boston, MA.  His first foray into the field of biomedical engineering was as an undergraduate at Brown University, where he worked extensively on the development of bioabsorbable microfilaments with prolonged drug delivery and structural support capabilities.  Following graduation, he joined the concept development group at DePuy Mitek, a medical device company specializing in soft tissue repair for sports injuries.  Noting the inherent limitations of many current devices used in orthopedic surgery, Rob decided to pursue tissue engineering research in the Orthopedic Cell Biology Laboratory at Rhode Island Hospital.  There he developed an interest in osteoarthritis research, working on placental-derived mesenchymal stem cells as an alternative cell source for cartilage tissue engineering repair strategies.

Rob joined the Cellular Engineering Laboratory in 2013 to pursue his PhD in biomedical engineering.  Since then, his work has focused on synovium-regulated mechanisms in osteoarthritis.  He has developed and characterized a tissue engineered synovium model that can be used to evaluate pathological changes to the cellular composition and architecture, as well as the chemical secretion and transport across the synovium in the diseased and healthy joint.  When not hard at work in the lab, Rob can often be found running in Central/Riverside Park, playing in his co-ed softball league, or volunteer teaching.

Selected Publications

  1. Silverstein AM, Stefani RM, Sobczak E, Tong EL, Attur MG, Shah RP, Bulinski JC, Ateshian GA, Hung CT: Toward understanding the role of cartilage particulates in synovial inflammation. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. [Epub ahead of print], 2017.
  2. Nover AB, Stefani RM, Lee SL, Ateshian GA, Stoker AM, Cook JL, Hung CT. Long-Term Storage and Preservation of Tissue Engineered Articular Cartilage. J Orthop Res 34(1):141-148, 2016.
  3. Bilgen B, Chu D, Stefani RM, Aaron RK. Design of a Biaxial Mechanical Loading Bioreactor for Tissue Engineering. JOVE, 2013.
  4. Lavin DM, Stefani RM, Zhang L, Furtado S, Hopkins RA, Mathiowitz E. Multifunctional polymeric microfibers with prolonged drug delivery and structural support capabilities. Acta Biomater 8(5):1891-900, 2012.