Rebecca Willits

Professor and Chair,  Chemical Engineering
Affiliated Faculty,  Bioengineering


Social Media


  • 201F Cullinane
  • 617.373.2989

Research Focus

neural regenerative strategies, neural mechanosensing, diversity and inclusion in engineering


  • PhD, Cornell University, Chemical Engineering, 1999
  • MS, The Johns Hopkins University, Chemical Engineering, 1996


Honors & Awards

  • AIMBE Fellow

Professional Affiliations

  • American Chemical Society
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers
  • Biomedical Engineering Society
  • Golden Key Honor Society
  • National Center for Regenerative Medicine
  • New York Academy of Sciences
  • Sigma Xi
  • Society for Biomaterials

Research Overview

neural regenerative strategies, neural mechanosensing, diversity and inclusion in engineering

Selected Publications

  • Silantyeva, E., R.K. Willits, M.L. Becker. Post-fabrication Tethering of Molecular Gradients on Aligned Nanofibers of Functional Poly(‘Ď-caprolactone)s. Biomacromolecules. 20(12):4494-4501, 2019.
  • Motta, Cecilia M.M., K.J. Endres, C. Wesdemiotis, R.K. Willits and M.L. Becker. Enhancing Schwann Cell Migration Using Concentration Gradients of Laminin Derived-peptides. Biomaterials. 218:119335, 2019.
  • Cavanaugh, McKay, Elena Silantyeva, Galina Pylypiv Koh, Elham Malekzadeh, William Lanzinger, Rebecca Willits, Matthew Becker. RGD-modified nanofibers enhance functional outcomes in rats after sciatic nerve injury. Biomimetic Materials for Regenerative Medicine;¬†Journal of Functional Materials. 2019.
  • Philip, D.#, Silantyeva, E.#, Becker, M.L., and R.K. Willits. RGD-functionalized nanofibers increase early GFAP expression during neural differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells. Biomacromolecules, #co-first authors.
  • Zhou, W., J.M. Stukel, A. AlNiemi*, and R.K. Willits. Novel microgel-based scaffolds to study the effect of degradability on human dermal fibroblasts. Biomedical Materials. 13(5): 055007, 2018.


Sep 02, 2020

New Faculty Spotlight: Rebecca Willits

Rebecca Willits joined the Chemical Engineering department in July 2020 as Professor and Chair.


Aug 03, 2020

Willits Selected as a BMES Fellow

ChE Professor and Chair Rebecca Willits selected as a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society.

View All Related News