Rebecca Taylor

Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Rebecca Taylor

Source: College of Engineering


Carnegie Mellon University
Mechanical Engineering
5000 Forbes Avenue
Scaife Hall 325
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Fax: 412-268-3348





I am a mechanical engineer who specializes in modern manufacturing, and throughout my career I have been driven by the interplay of form and function in good design. As an undergraduate working on a research project on tethered satellites, I discovered the world of honeycomb composite materials and porous sintered polymers. That is where I first learned that mechanical structure could imbue materials with novel and unexpected properties. After college, while working as mechanical design engineer, I practiced mechanical device design for reliability and ease of manufacture, working as the primary engineer on both medical products and consumer products. I developed my expertise in rapid prototyping and the broad range of techniques for molding and fabrication as well as factory control and automation. The interplay between medical tools and biological systems formed the foundation of my interest in research, and that interest drew me back to academia.

When I returned to graduate school, I focused on microfabrication and biomechanics. At the microscale, the force of gravity is negligible, flow is largely laminar and motion is damped. The microscale world is a universe of its own, and there are countless opportunites for fabrication of novel microstructured materials. During my Ph.D., I fabricated microscale sensors for the functional assessment of stem cell derived cardiomyocytes. I utilized sacrificial layers to define the mechanical loading of single heart muscle cells and to perform the first purely axial, contractile force measurements on immature and stem cell derived cardiomyocytes. I calibrated these sensors using piezoresistive cantilevers and achieved both accurate and precise measurements of nanoNewton-level forces. I also created planar, stretchable biosensors that physically route metal traces away from areas of large strain and achieve constant, stretch-independent electrical properties.
As a postdoctoral fellow, I worked at the nanoscale, studying the effects of mutations on cardiac contractile protein. In order to study the emergent mechanics of the multiprotein, acto-myosinc contractile system, I have worked to develop a DNA origami based synthetic cardiac sarcomere that will allow us to observe the cooperative behavior of motors as we scale up towards larger, more biomimetic systems.

As a professor I utilize DNA origami (bottom up manufacturing) to enable nanomanufacturing and nanomechanics of multiprotein systems. I will also continue my investigations into microstructures for biomimetic sensors and actuators (top down manufacturing). The future of manufacturing involves manufacturing across scales, and I am excited to be part of it. 


Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University School of Medicine; Department of Biochemistry, 2013-2016

Ph.D., Stanford University, Department of Mechancial Engineering, 2013
Degree with Ph.D. Minor in Bioengineering

M.S., Stanford University, Department of Mechanical Engineering, 2010

B.S.E., Princeton University, Department of Mechanical Engineering, 2001
Degree with a Certificate in Robotics and Intelligent Systems 


  • R.E. Taylor, K.M. Ruppel and J.A. Spudich. 3D printing compliant models of large proteins and protein complexes with snap-together assembly (in preparation)
  • J.R. Homburger, E.M. Green, C. Caleshu, M. Sunitha, R. Taylor, K.M. Ruppel, R. Metpally, S.D. Colan, M. Michels, S. Day, I. Olivotto, C.D. Bustamante, F. Dewey, C. Ho, J.A. Spudich, E.A. Ashley, SHaRe Investigators. Multi-dimensional structure function relationships in human β-cardiac myosin from population scale genetic variation. bioRxiv, 039321 (2016)
  • J.A. Spudich, T. Aksel, S.R. Bartholomew, S. Nag, M. Kawana, E.C. Yu, S.S. Sarkar, J. Sung, R.F. Sommese, S. Sutton, C. Cho, A.S. Adhikari, R. Taylor, C. Liu, D. Trivedi and K.M. Ruppel. Effects of hypertrophic and dilated cardiomyopathy mutations on power output by β-cardiac myosin. Journal of Experimental Biology. 219(2), 161-167 (2016)
  • R.F. Hariadi, R.F. Sommese, A.S. Adhikari, R.E. Taylor, S. Sutton, J.A. Spudich and S. Sivaramakrishnan. Mechanical coordination of motor ensembles revealed using engineered artificial myosin filaments. Nature Nanotechnology. 10(8), 696-700 (2015)
  • J.Y. Sim, R.E. Taylor, T. Larson and B.L. Pruitt. 2015. Oxidation Stiffening of PDMS Microposts. Extreme Mechanics Letters. In press doi:10.1016/j.eml.2015.02.003.
  • R.E. Taylor, C.M. Boyce, M.C. Boyce and B.L. Pruitt, “Planar patterned stretchable electrode arrays based on flexible printed circuits,” Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, 23, 105004 (2013) *Article chosen for IOP Select Distribution due to its novelty, significance and potential impact on future research.
  • R.E. Taylor, K. Kim, N. Sun, S-j. Park, J.Y. Sim, G. Fajardo, D. Bernstein, J.C. Wu and B.L. Pruitt, “Sacrificial layer technique for axial force assay of immature cardiomyocytes,” Biomedical Microdevices, 15(1), pp. 171-181 (2013)
  • H. Pang, A.P. Shiwalkar, C.M. Madormo, R.E. Taylor, T.P. Andriacchi and E. Kuhl. “Computational modeling of bone density profiles in response to gait: A subject-specific approach,” Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology, 11, pp. 379-390 (2012)
  • K. Kim, R. Taylor, J.Y. Sim, S-j. Park, J.J. Norman, G. Fajardo, D. Bernstein, and B.L. Pruitt, "Calibrated micropost arrays for biomechanical characterization of cardiomyocytes," Micro and Nano Letters, 6(5), pp. 317-322 (2011)
  • P. Wei, R. Taylor, Z. Ding, C. Chung, O.J. Abilez, G. Higgs, B.L. Pruitt and B. Ziaie, “Stretchable microelectrode array using room-temperature-liquid alloy interconnects,” Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, 21(5), 054015 (2011)
  • R.E. Taylor, J.J. Norman, C. Simmons, O.J. Abilez, C.K. Zarins, and B.L. Pruitt. “Nano and the Future of Endovascular Medicine,” Endovascular Today, March supplement: pp. 27-31 (2009)
  • R.E. Taylor, C. Zheng, P.R. Jackson, J.C. Doll, J.C. Chen, K.R.S. Holzbaur, T. Besier and E. Kuhl. “The phenomenon of twisted growth: Humeral torsion in dominant arms of high performance tennis players,” Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering, 12, pp. 83-93 (2009)
  • R.E. Taylor and Ellis D. Noll. “Controlling all variables in an experiment,” The Physics Teacher. 36(2), pp. 115-117 (1998)

Professional Memberships

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Biophysical Society (BPS)
American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE)