Julie Phillippi, PhD





450 Technology Drive, Suite 300 Pittsburgh, PA 15219


Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Bioengineering
Vice Chair, Cardiac Surgery Research
Director, Post-Doctoral Research
Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery


Education and Training

2000: B.S. Microbiology The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
2005: Ph.D. Biological Sciences Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
2005-2007: Post-doctoral fellowship, Carnegie Mellon University/Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

Professional Activities

Biomedical Engineering Society
International Society for Applied Cardiovascular Biology
American Heart Association
Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine

Journal Reviewing and Editorial Boards

Associate Editor, Science Advances, of the Science family of journals published by AAAS
Peer review:
• Acta Biomaterialia
• Cytometry A
• International Journal of Molecular Sciences
• Langmuir
• Journal of Biomechanics
• Journal of Developmental Biology and Tissue Engineering
• Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
• Stem Cells
• Stem Cells and Development
• Tissue Engineering
• Wound Repair and Regeneration


National Science Foundation-Young Faculty Travel Award (2015)
Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society-Travel Award (2007)
The Endocrine Society-Travel Award (2006)
American Society for Bone and Mineral Research-Young Investigator Award (2004)
National Institutes of Health-Pre-intramural research training award (1999)

Research Interests

Dr. Phillippi’s research scope broadly encompasses cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) dynamics using tissue-engineered approaches to study, diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease.  Of immediate interest is the presence of local stem cells within distinct microenvironments of the aorta and their contribution to the development and progression of aortic aneurysm. Dr. Phillippi’s projects are carried out using human aortic tissue specimens and cell populations isolated from surgical patients of the Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Phillippi and her colleagues within the Thoracic Aortic Disease Research Laboratory are working to characterize the influence of distinct cell populations within the ascending aorta and the role of oxidative stress pathways on aortic wall architecture, strength and propensity for aortic disease. The ultimate goal of her work is to establish novel diagnostics and risk mitigation for patients affected by thoracic aortic disease and to develop new less-invasive treatment options that aim to prevent dilatation and/or invoke reverse remodeling of the aortic wall. Dr. Phillippi is affiliated faculty of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Center for Vascular Remodeling and Regeneration. More information can be found here.


  1. Phillippi JA, Klyachko EA, Kenny IV JP, Eskay MA, Gorman RC, and Gleason TG. Basal and Oxidative Stress-Induced Expression of Metallothionein is Decreased in Ascending Aortic Aneurysms of Bicuspid Aortic Valve Patients. Circulation. 2009. 119 (18): 2498-2506.

Editorial: Coady MA and Sellke FW. Metallothionein Link to Bicuspid Aortic Valve Associated Ascending Aortic Dilatation. Circulation. 2009. 119: 2423-2425.

  1. Miller ED, Phillippi JA, Fisher GW, Campbell PG, Walker LM, and Weiss LE. Inkjet Printing of Growth Factor Concentration Gradients and Combinatorial Arrays Immobilized on Biologically-Relevant Substrates. Comb Chem Highthroughput Screen. 2009 12 (6): 604-18


  1. Payne KA, Meszaros LB, Phillippi JA, and Huard J. Effect of PI3K, Erk1/2 and p38 MAPK Inhibition on Osteogenic Differentiation of Muscle-Derived Stem Cells. Tissue Eng Part A. 2010. 16 (12): 3647-55.


  1. Phillippi JA, Eskay MA, Kubala AA, Pitt BR, and Gleason TG. Altered Oxidative Stress Response and Increased Type I Collagen Expression in Bicuspid Aortic Valve Patients. Ann Thorac Surg. 2010. 90 (6): 1893-8.


  1. Ker EDF, Chu B, Phillippi J.A, Gharaibeh B, Huard J, Weiss L, and Campbell P. Engineering Spatial Control of Multiple Differentiation Fates within a Stem Cell Population. Biomaterials. 2011 32 (13): 3413-22.


  1. Pasta S, Phillippi JA, Gleason TG, and Vorp DA. The Effect of Aneurysm on the Mechanical Dissection Properties of the Human Ascending Thoracic Aorta. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2012 Feb 143 (2) 460-7.


  1. Pichamuthu JE*, Phillippi JA*, Cleary DA, Chew DW, Hempel J, Vorp DA, and Gleason TG. Differential Tensile Strength and Collagen Composition in Ascending Aortic Aneurysms by Aortic Valve Phenotype. Ann Thorac Surg. 2013. 96 (6): 2147-54. *Equal contribution.


  1. Tsamis A, Phillippi JA, Koch RG, Pasta S, D’Amore A, Watkins SC, Wagner W, Gleason TG, and Vorp DA. Fiber Micro-Architecture in the Longitudinal-Radial and Circumferential-Radial Planes of Ascending Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm Media. J Biomech. 2013. 46 (16): 2787-94.


  1. Phillippi JA, Green BR, Eskay MA, Kotlarczyk MP, Hill MR, Robertson AM, Watkins SC, Vorp DA, and Gleason TG. Mechanism of Aortic Medial Matrix Remodeling is Distinct in Bicuspid Aortic Valve Patients. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2014. 147(3): 1056-64.

Publication of the Month: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, July 2013


  1. Tsamis A, Pal S, Phillippi JA, Gleason TG, Maiti S, and Vorp DA. Effect of Aneurysm on Biomechanical Properties of “Radially-oriented” Collagen Fibers in Human Ascending Thoracic Aortic Media. J Biomech. 2014. 47 (16): 3820-4.


  1. Krawiec JT, Weinbaum JS, St. Croix CM, Phillippi JA, Watkins SC, Rubin JP, and Vorp DA. A Cautionary Tale for Autologous Vascular Tissue Engineering: Impact of Human Demographics on the Ability of Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Recruit and Differentiate into Smooth Muscle Cells. Tissue Eng Part A. 2015. 21(3-4): 426-437.


  1. Pasta S, Phillippi JA, Tsamis A, D’Amore A, Raffa G, Pilato M, Watkins SC, Wagner WR, Gleason TG, and Vorp, DA. Constitutive Modeling of Ascending Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms Using Microstructural Parameters. Med Eng Phys. 2016. 38 (2): 121-30.
    Role: Contributed to experimental design, analysis, and interpretation and contributed to manuscript writing.


Publication of the Month: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Feb 2016


  1. Tsamis A, Phillippi JA, Koch RG, Krawiec JT, D’Amore A, Watkins SC, Wagner WR, Vorp DA, and Gleason TG. Extracellular Matrix Fiber Microarchitecture is Region- Specific in Bicuspid Aortic Valve-Associated Ascending Aortopathy. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2016. 151 (6): 1718.-28. PubMed PMID: 26979916.

Role: Contributed to experimental design, analysis, and interpretation and contributed to manuscript writing.


Editorial: Fedak PWM and Guzzardi DG. Real estate of the bicuspid aorta: Location, location, location! J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2016 151 (6): 1728-9.


  1. Thunes JA, Pal S, Fortunado R, Phillippi JA, Gleason TG, Vorp DA, and Maiti S. A Structural Finite Element Model for Lamellar Unit of Aortic Media Suggests Heterogeneous Stress Field After Collagen Recruitment. J Biomech. 2016. 49 (9):1562-9. PubMed PMID: 27113538


  1. Kotlarczyk MP, Billaud M, Green BR, Hill JC, Kelley EE, Shiva S, Phillippi JA, and Gleason, TG. Regional disruptions in endothelial nitric oxide pathway associated with bicuspid aortic valve. Ann Thorac Surg. 2016. 102 (4) 1274-81. PubMed PMID: 27283108


  1. Phillippi JA*, Hill JC*, Billaud M, Green BR, Kotlarczyk MP, and Gleason TG.  Bicuspid Aortic Valve Morphotype Correlates with Regional Antioxidant Gene Expression Profiles in the Proximal Ascending Aorta. Ann Thorac Surg. 2017 Feb 6. pii: S0003-4975(16) 31529-6. *Equal contribution. PubMed PMID: 28185644


  1. Fercana GR*, Yerneni S*, Billaud M, Hill JC, VanRyzin P, Richards TD, Sicari B, Badylak SF, Johnson S, Campbell PG, Gleason TG, and Phillippi JA. Perivascular Extracellular Matrix Hydrogels Mimic Native Matrix Microarchitecture and Promote Angiogenesis via Basic Fibroblast Growth Factor. Biomaterials. 2017 Apr;123: 142-154. *Equal contribution. PubMed PMID: 28167392


  1. Xue Y, Yatsenko T, Patel A, Stolz DB, Phillippi J, Sant V, and Sant S. PEGylated poly (ester amide) elastomer scaffolds for soft tissue engineering. Polymers for Advanced Technologies. 2017.  28 (9): 1097–1106.


  1. Venkatesh P, Phillippi J, Chukkapalli C, Rivera-Kweh M, Velsko I, Gleason T, VanRyzin P, Ghanta R, Beaver T, Chan E, and Kesavalu L. Aneurysm-specific miR-221 and miR-146a participates in Human Thoracic and Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Apr 20; 18 (4). pii e875. PubMed PMID: 28425970


  1. Billaud M*, Phillippi JA*, Kotlarczyk MP, Hill JC, Ellis BW, St. Croix CM, Cantu-Medellin N, Kelley EE, and Gleason TG. Elevated Oxidative Stress in the Aortic Media of Bicuspid Aortic Valve Patients. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2017. 154 (5): 1756-1762. *Equal contribution. PubMed PMID: 28651938.


  • Mennander AA. Biochemistry- on bicuspid aortic valve’s aortic service. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2017. 154 (5) 1763.


  • : Jones JA. Oxidative stress in bicuspid aortic valve-related aortopathy: Hand me downs and yoga pants. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2017. 154 (5) 1764-65.


  1. Hall A, Chan PG, Sheets K, Apperson M, Delaughter C, Gleason TG, Phillippi JA*, and Nain AS*. Nanonet Force Microscopy for Measuring Forces in Single Smooth Muscle Cells of Human Aorta. Mol Biol Cell. 2017. 28 (14): 1894-1900. *Co-corresponding authors. PubMed PMID: 28450452


  1. Billaud M, Donnenberg VS, Ellis BW, Meyer EM, Donnenberg AD, Hill JC, Richards TD, Gleason TG, and Phillippi JA. Classification and Functional Characterization of Vasa Vasorum-Associated Perivascular Progenitor Cells in Human Aorta. Stem Cell Reports. 2017. 9 (1): 292-303. PubMed PMID: 28552602


  1. Xue Y, St. Hilaire C, Hortells L, Phillippi JA, Sant V, and Sant S. Shape Specific Nanoceria Mitigate Oxidative Stress-Induced Calcification in Primary Human Interstitial Valve Cells. Cell and Mol Bioeng. 2017. 10: 483.


  1. Thunes JT, Phillippi, JA, Gleason, TG, Vorp DA, and Maiti, S. Structural Modeling Reveals Microstructure-Strength Relationship for Human Ascending Thoracic Aorta.  Journal of Biomech. ePub Feb 8, 2018.