Diana Hammerstone ’20: Working toward pain-free movement

Diana Hammerstone ’20, graduate student, Materials Science and Engineering

Diana Hammerstone is many things.

As an undergraduate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), she was a Clare Boothe Luce Research Scholar and member of Lehigh’s cross country and track and field teams. Now a graduate student in MSE, she is a President’s Scholar and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, and, when there’s time, she volunteers as a running coach for the women’s team.

Hammerstone is also a published researcher: She is a co-author on a recently accepted paper on expediting the polymer printing process.

As a member of the Chow Lab, Hammerstone is studying how to regenerate cartilage in the knee using 3D-printed scaffold materials that guide the formation of tissue with the same properties as the native tissue. The ultimate goal is to inter-vene early in patients with osteoarthritis, before they require a knee replacement.

It’s a path she hadn’t foreseen.

“I never envisioned myself being so closely tied to bioengineering. I didn’t study a lot of biology in high school. But being part of this lab, and getting to work in an interdisciplinary field is really cool,” she says. “I’m using what I learned in materials engineering to work with bioengineers to basically guide stem cells to do what we want them to do.”

She’s also not one to dwell on all the awards or recognition; if anything, they inspire her to work even harder. She wants to continue putting good data and good research out into the biomaterials community. And she wants ­to keep moving toward the day when her team’s research can truly start changing lives.

“When people ask me about my work and I explain it to them, they say, ‘Can you get that done faster? Because my knees are done now.’ I say, yes, that’s the goal. We’d like for people to never have to say that in the first place.”

Next up: Sarah Horne >>

This profile is part of Resolve Magazine's Soaring Together series.

Photography by Douglas Benedict/Academic Image