Our primary research interest is the development of biomaterials that mimic the complex structure and biochemistry of human tissues. We are particularly interested in understanding how properties of a three-dimensional environment impact cell behavior. By correlating theoretical and experimental data about cell-microenvironment interactions, we plan to establish design principles that will aid in the development of tissue engineering scaffolds, in vitro models of tissue biology, and the development of improved therapies. In collaboration with biophysicists, neurobiologists, cancer cell biologists, and polymer chemists, we are developing novel biomaterials that will enable the discovery of new insights into the tissue physiology of nerve repair and tumor growth.

Research Areas

Student working in Leach Lab



  • Henry Luce Foundation (Clare Boothe Luce Professorship)
  • Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Science Foundation
  • UMBC Special Research Initiative Award
  • UMBC Writing Board Award