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; orthopedics; clinical translation


Rob began his research career as an undergraduate at Brown University. Working in the laboratory of Dr. Edith Mathiowitz, he wrote his honors thesis on drug-eluting bioabsorbable microfilaments for sutures. 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 limitations of traditional orthopedic implants and devices, Rob decided to pursue tissue engineering research in the Orthopedic Cell Biology Laboratory at Rhode Island Hospital. There he developed a functional loading bioreactor and optimized a clinically-relevant placental derived stem cell source for cartilage tissue engineering.

Rob joined the Cellular Engineering Laboratory in 2013 to pursue his PhD in biomedical engineering. He has continued his previous work in osteoarthritis, focusing primarily on developing in vitro synovium models of disease progression and healing. Tangential projects include electrical stimulation, targeted drug delivery, and cartilage tissue engineering.

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, cooking, 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 25(8):1353-1361, 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. Sengun MZ, Tang H, Spenciner DB, Whittaker GR, Miller G, Hernandez J, Stefani RM, inventor; Medos International Sarl, assignee. Surgical Filament Snare Assemblies. US Patent 9,345,468. May 24, 2016.
  4. Bilgen B, Chu D, Stefani RM, Aaron RK. Design of a Biaxial Mechanical Loading Bioreactor for Tissue Engineering. JOVE, 2013.
  5. 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.