LaDeidra Monét Roberts, Ph.D.
I am a Georgia native, born and raised in Newnan, GA where I attended Northgate High School. There I was inspired to become an educator from the many great teachers that I had because I felt that teachers had a major impact on many lives at one time to teach the next level of leaders. I then attended Georgia Institute of Technology as an undergraduate. My interest in research started in Dr. Manu Platt's lab of Tissue Repair, Remodeling, and Regeneration under the tutelage of Dr. Ivana Parker on a project focusing on HIV-mediated cardiovascular disease (CVD). HIV patients have a co-morbidity of CVD and we were exploring the effects of the virus as well as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) on cathepsin proteolytic activity on arterial remodeling. From developing research skills to witnessing impactful mentorship with purpose throughout my undergraduate research career, I aspired to become a principal investigator of my own laboratory in the future.
I pursued my Ph.D. in the Nancy C. and Peter E. Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University and worked in Dr. Matthew Paszek’s lab in the Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering where my dissertation focused on the role of the glycocalyx in microvesicle biogenesis in breast cancer. It was here that I fell in love with the glycocalyx as well as scanning electron microscopy (SEM). I then wanted to learn about extracellular cues that the glycocalyx encounters in a 3D tumor microenvironment and became a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Jennifer Munson's lab at Virginia Tech/Fralin Biomedical Research Institute to develop skills in understanding interstitial fluid flow, 3D tissue culture models, animal models, lymphatics and translational cancer research in glioblastoma.
I am super excited and blessed to start my research career as a principal investigator in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics at Virginia Tech. I am also excited to develop a team of the next innovators, engineers, leaders, and thinkers and collaborate with others to understand underlying mechanisms of cancer and neurological disorders to develop tools to mitigate these diseases. I also strive to incorporate patient advocacy and engagement to further bridge the gap between benchtop to bedside. Please reach out to me if you are interested in my research, Biomedical Engineering, Diversity and Inclusion, and/or Virginia Tech.