Dr. Maribella Domenech was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She is a Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez (UPR-Mayagüez). She completed a bachelor’s in Industrial Biotechnology at University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez (2006), an M.S. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at University of Wisconsin, Madison (2010) and a Postdoc in Chemical Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez (2012). Dr. Domenech has been an independent researcher and educator in the areas of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering for 11 years. Much of her research trajectory has been focused on developing biomaterials and microfluidic platforms of defined biochemical, physical and mechanical properties for studies of modeling the breast tumor microenvironment, and improving the potency of therapeutic cells in the manufacturing process. She is part of the leadership teams of the NSF-Sponsored Engineering Research Center in Cell Manufacture Technologies (CMAT) and the Center for the Advancement of Wearable Technologies (CAWT). Her research work has been presented at more than 30 conferences, and she has authored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles (>20) and 2 book chapters.

One of her research articles on the role of collagen fibrous architecture in modulating drug resistance in breast cancer was featured on the cover of the prestigious ACS biomaterial science & engineering journal (2021). Her research and mentorship efforts have been recognized through multiples awards including the Industrial Biotechnology Alumni Role Model Award for three consecutive years (2015-2017), Faculty Cancer Research Award (2016) by the American Association for Cancer Research, Distinguished Engineer Faculty Award (2018) and more recently the 2024 AACR Minority and Minority-Serving Institution Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research Award. Dr. Domenech was the first female engineering faculty from the UPR system to be elected as a standing member of the Cellular and Molecular Technologies Study Section at the NIH Center for Scientific Review. Also, last year she was recognized by the Engineering Now Magazine as one of the most outstanding females in the engineering research faculty at UPR-Mayaguez and by Ciencia Puerto Rico among the top 37 Puerto Rican females in STEM disciplines and selected to be part of the Borinqueñas in STEM Exhibit at the Centro Criollo de Ciencias y Tecnología del Caribe (C3Tec).

Research interests: 
Microfluidics, Tumor Microenvironment, Stem cell technologies, Breast Cancer, culture platforms, 3D bioprinting 

Recent Publications:

Cifuentes SJ, Domenech M. Heparin-collagen I bilayers stimulate FAK/ERK½ signaling via α2β1 integrin to support the growth and anti-inflammatory potency of mesenchymal stromal cells. J Biomed Mater Res A. 2024 Jan;112(1):65-81. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.37614. Epub 2023 Sep 18. PubMed PMID: 37723658.

Barraza-Vergara LF, Carmona-Sarabia L, Torres-García W, Domenech-García M, Mendez-Vega J, Torres-Lugo M. In vitro assessment of inflammatory skin potential of poly(methyl methacrylate) at non-cytotoxic concentrations. J Biomed Mater Res A. 2023 Nov;111(11):1822-1832. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.37591. Epub 2023 Aug 17. PubMed PMID: 37589190.

Rosado-Galindo H, Domenech M. Substrate topographies modulate the secretory activity of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2023 Aug 21;14(1):208. doi: 10.1186/s13287-023-03450-0. PubMed PMID: 37605275; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC10441765.

Delgado-Rivera R, García-Rodríguez W, López L, Cunci L, Resto PJ, Domenech M. PCL/PEO Polymer Membrane Prevents Biofouling in Wearable Detection Sensors. Membranes (Basel). 2023 Aug 12;13(8). doi: 10.3390/membranes13080728. PubMed PMID: 37623789; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC10456225.

Rosado-Galindo H, Domenech M. Surface roughness modulates EGFR signaling and stemness of triple-negative breast cancer cells. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2023;11:1124250. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2023.1124250. eCollection 2023. PubMed PMID: 36968199; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC10030610.

Reyes-Ramos AM, Álvarez-García YR, Solodin N, Almodovar J, Alarid ET, Torres-Garcia W, Domenech M. Collagen I Fibrous Substrates Modulate the Proliferation and Secretome of Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Tumor Cells in a Hormone-Restricted Microenvironment. ACS Biomater Sci Eng. 2021 Jun 14;7(6):2430-2443. doi: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.0c01803. Epub 2021 Mar 10. PubMed PMID: 33688723; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8877809.

Cifuentes SJ, Priyadarshani P, Castilla-Casadiego DA, Mortensen LJ, Almodóvar J, Domenech M. Heparin/collagen surface coatings modulate the growth, secretome, and morphology of human mesenchymal stromal cell response to interferon-gamma. J Biomed Mater Res A. 2021 Jun;109(6):951-965. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.37085. Epub 2020 Aug 25. PubMed PMID: 32786025.

Quiñones-Pérez M, Cieza RJ, Ngo BKD, Grunlan MA, Domenech M. Amphiphilic silicones to reduce the absorption of small hydrophobic molecules. Acta Biomater. 2021 Feb;121:339-348. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2020.11.041. Epub 2020 Nov 30. PubMed PMID: 33271355.

Domenech M, Rosado-Galindo HM, Suarez L. In vitro approaches to model breast tumor complexity. In: Valarmathi MT, editor. Breast Cancer [Internet] United Kingdom: Intech Open; 2021. Available from:

Rosado-Galindo H, Domenech M. Polystyrene Topography Sticker Array for Cell-Based Assays. Recent Prog Mater. 2020;2(2). doi: 10.21926/rpm.2002013. Epub 2020 May 14. PubMed PMID: 33693439; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7943041.

Castilla-Casadiego DA, Reyes-Ramos AM, Domenech M, Almodovar J. Effects of Physical, Chemical, and Biological Stimulus on h-MSC Expansion and Their Functional Characteristics. Ann Biomed Eng. 2020 Feb;48(2):519-535. doi: 10.1007/s10439-019-02400-3. Epub 2019 Nov 8. Review. PubMed PMID: 31705365; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6952531.

Reyes-Ramos AM, Ramos-Cruz KP, Rodríguez-Merced NJ, Martínez-Montemayor MM, Franqui-Ríos ND, Ríos-Grant JP, Flores A, Maldonado-Martínez G, Torres-García W, Domenech M. Mesenchymal Cells Support the Oncogenicity and Therapeutic Response of the Hedgehog Pathway in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. Cancers (Basel). 2019 Oct 10;11(10). doi: 10.3390/cancers11101522. PubMed PMID: 31658643; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6826628.