Dr. Rebecca Kuntz Willits

Dr. Rebecca Kuntz Willits

Title: Margaret F. Donovan Endowed Chair, Professor and Department Chair
Dept/Program: Biomedical Engineering
Office: Olson 301E
Phone: 330-972-6587
Fax: 330-972-3939
Email: willits@uakron.edu
Website: http://uakron.edu/u/mte


Professor Willits joined The University of Akron in 2010 as the Margaret F. Donovan Endowed Chair for Women in Engineering. She started her academic career as an Assistant Professor at Saint Louis University, where she received her tenure in Biomedical Engineering.

Research Accomplishments

Professor Willits' research is interdisciplinary by nature, combining biology, chemistry, and engineering to design new materials for drug delivery and tissue regeneration. Currently, one research thrust in her laboratory is the impact of three-dimensional material properties on cell behavior. In addition, she is interested in the impact of short duration electrical stimulation on nerve regeneration.

NCBI link


See webpage for available downloads.
* indicates undergraduate co-author
1. Stukel, J. and R.K. Willits. Review: Mechanotransduction of Neural Cells through Cell-Substrate Interactions. Tissue Engineering, Part B. DOI: 10.1089/ten.teb.2015.0380.
2. Zhou, Wenda, J.M. Stukel, H.L. Cebull*, and R.K. Willits. Tuning the Mechanical Properties of Poly(Ethylene Glycol) Microgel-Based Scaffold to Increase 3D Schwann Cell Proliferation. Macromolecular Bioscience. DOI: 10.1002/mabi.201500336.
3. Stukel, J.M., Monika Goss, Haoyan Zhou, Wenda Zhou, Rebecca Willits, Agata A. Exner. Development of a High-Throughput Ultrasound Technique for the Analysis of Tissue Engineering Constructs. Annals of Biomedical Engineering. DOI: 10.1007/s10439-015-1507-0.
4. Adams, R., R.K. Willits, A.B. Harkins. Computational Modeling of Neurons: Intensity-Duration Relationship of Extracellular Electrical Stimulation for Changes in Intracellular Calcium. Journal of Neurophysiology. DOI: 10.1152/jn.0571.2015.
5. Zheng, Jukuan, D. Kontoveros, F. Lin, G. Hua, D.H. Reneker, M. Becker, R.K. Willits. Enhanced Schwann Cell Attachment and Alignment using One-pot “Dual Click” GRGDS and YIGSR Derivatized Nanofibers. Biomacromolecules, 2015, 16(1): 357–363. DOI: 10.1021/bm501552t.
6. Calvey, Colleen, Wenda Zhou, Kimberly Sloan-Stakleff, Patricia Sendelbach-Sloan, Amy Harkins, William Lanzinger, Rebecca Kuntz Willits. Short-Term Electrical Stimulation to Promote Nerve Repair and Functional Recovery in a Rat Model. Journal of Hand Surgery, 2015, 40(2):314-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2014.10.002.


PhD in Chemical Engineering, Cornell University, 1999; MS in Chemical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, 1996; BS in Chemical Engineering, Tufts University, 1994