Faculty and Staff


Dr. Tammy Haut Donahue

Dr. Tammy Haut Donahue is a Professor in Biomedical Engineering at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from University of California at Davis.  Following a post-doctoral fellowship at Pennsylvania State University in Orthopaedics/Cell Biology she joined the faculty of Michigan Technological University in Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Haut Donahue then spent 7 years at Colorado State before coming to UMass, Amherst to found the Biomedical Engineering department in June 2018.

Email Dr. Haut Donahue





Graduate Students


Gerardo Narez
BS Bioengineering, UC San Diego

Gerardo is a third year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering. The predominant focus of his research is the use of pharmaceutical interventions to help prevent or delay the onset of post-traumatic osteoarthritis in the soft tissues of the knee joint. This is a collaborative project with the Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratories at Michigan State University.

Graduation: Summer, 2021







Justin GangwishJustin Gangwish
BS Chemical Engineering, Colorado State University

Justin Gangwish’s interests include using synthetic polymer chemistry to design materials for use in an artificial meniscus, polymer interfaces, rotary evaporators, biomechanics, running (ugh), green chili (it’s a New Mexico thing), watching baseball, 3D printing, rafting, camping, skiing, and the occasional PBR when grilling. Before starting graduate school at UMass Amherst he attended Colorado State University and worked in industry. During his time at CSU he worked on silylation chemistry in the Biomaterials Engineering and Research Laboratory and graduated in 2013 with a degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering. After he was employed as a wireline engineer for Halliburton Energy Services, and in the color science department at PPG. While he is most often found in the lab, he can occasionally be located trying to find other wayward New York Yankees fans in Massachusetts or planning his next adventure into the wilderness.

Graduation: Summer, 2022


Zachary Pixler
BS Ceramic Engineering from Missouri S&T, Liberty, MO

Zach is a first year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering.



Undergraduate Students

Ryan Ek, Biomedical Engineering

Ryan is a third year student in biomedical engineering. He joined the lab in the Spring of 2019. In his free time he enjoys powerlifting, going on long rants and watching dog videos






Ashley Herrick, Biomedical Engineering

Ashley is a 3rd year biomedical engineering student and joined the lab in Spring 2019. On campus she is an active member of Engineers Without Borders, Society of Women Engineers and Biomedical Engineering Society. In her free time, Ashley enjoys traveling and spending time with friends.





Lara Sernberger, Biology

Lara is a fourth year student in biology. She joined the lab in Spring of 2019 and is currently working on her honors thesis focusing on synovial fluid. In her free time she enjoys traveling, hiking, and working as an EMT









Kristine Fischenich
BS Mechanical Engineering, The University of Mississippi; MS Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University; PhD Biomedical Engineering, Colorado State University

Kristine’s PhD in Biomedical Engineering focused on the development of an artificial meniscus. She also worked on determining the mechanical properties of meniscal tissue from human patients who have had to undergo total knee replacements. Kristine is now a Post-Doctoral fellow at University of Colorado, Boulder

Graduation: May, 2018

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Hannah Pauly
BS Biomedical Engineering, Vanderbilt University; PhD Biomedical Engineering, Colorado State University

Hannah’s PhD in Biomedical Engineering was focusedon the attachment of the meniscus of the knee to the underlying bone. Her projects included comparing structure and function characteristics of healthy and osteoarthritic meniscal insertions using second harmonic generation microscopy and developing a tissue engineered artificial meniscal insertion. Hannah is currently a change management engineering at Stryker Instruments Division in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She works in the Product Engineering group making continuous improvement updates to surgical instruments, medical devices and operating room management.

Graduation: May, 2018

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Benjamin Wheatley
BS Engineering, Trinity College; PhD Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University

Ben joined lab in the Fall of 2012 as a PhD student. His main research area was muscle mechanics. His project developed a finite element model of skeletal muscle to predict intramuscular pressure. The goal of this project was cooperation with a clinical tool to determine muscle force. He also worked on experimental testing of muscle as a non-linear viscoelastic material. Ben is currently a Professor at Bucknell University

Graduation: May, 2017

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Brett Steineman
BS Mechanical Engineering, Trine University; PhD Biomedical Engineering, Colorado State University

Brett’s PhD in Biomedical Engineering focused on restoration of the meniscal attachments following traumatic injury. This was a collaborative project with Dr. Rob LaPrade at the Steadman Philippon Research Institute. Brett is now a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Graduation: August, 2018







Aaron Drake, BS and MS Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University

Aaron Drake graduated with an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering in December 2015 and is currently living and working as a Mechanical Engineer in the Washington DC area.






Adam Abraham, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Columbia University, NIH-NRSA(F31) Research Fellow

Adam received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University in December 2012. His research focused on characterizing material properties, mechanical environment, and structure-function relationships within the human meniscal entheses as well as their degradation with osteoarthritis. He also worked on continuum based material modeling of the bovine meniscus, how experimental parameters affect passive skeletal muscle mechanics, and the use of polaxamer-188 in preventing meniscus degeneration following joint trauma. Projects with other students included characterizing the nano-mechanical properties of the superficial and deep zones of the human meniscus and using multiphoton microscopy to examine collagen fiber orientation in the meniscus and its entheses. He is a post-doc at Columbia University.

Email Adam