Victor Barocas

Headshot of Victor Barocas

Victor Barocas

Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering


Nils Hasselmo Hall
Room 7-115
312 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
  • BS, Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1988

  • MS, Chemical Engineering Practice, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1989

  • PhD, Chemical Engineering, University of Minnesota, 1996

Research Interests

The Barocas research group explores the relationship between tissue architecture and mechanics using a combination of multiscale computational models and innovative mechanical experiments. This approach, applied in a wide range of organs and tissues, represents two key paradigms in modern biomechanics:

  1. No matter what scale is of interest, to understand it properly, one must study the smaller scale — one cannot understand an organ without studying the tissue, one cannot understand a tissue without studying its constituents, and one cannot understand a cell without studying the molecules that comprise it.
  2. The transmission of information across scale is essential for understanding biomechanics and mechanobiology. We are large creatures, and we exist in a world of large forces and length scales, but the action — sensation, remodeling, or growth, for example — is driven by events at the cellular level. Our group is profoundly interested in understanding how macroscopic information is communicated to individual cells and how the cellular response, aggregated over a population, leads to changes in the macroscopic tissue function and dysfunction.

Current research is primarily focused on how ascending thoracic aortic aneurysms remodel, grow, and eventually fail (U01 HL139471) and how spinal load affect the facet capsular ligament and lead to injury or pain (U01 AT010326). Other work explores cell motility during tumor metastasis, fibrotic lung disease, and the perception of vibrotactile stimuli by the hand. These disparate systems are all linked by the interaction between mechanical and mechanobiological events at different scales.

Selected Publications

Claeson, A.A. and V.H. Barocas, “Planar Biaxial Extension of the Lumbar Facet Capsular Ligament Reveals Significant In-Plane Shear Forces,” Journal of Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 65(1):127-136, 2017.

Vanderheiden, S.M., Hadi, M.F., and V.H. Barocas, “Crack Propagation vs. Fiber Alignment in Collagen Gels: Experiments and Multi-Scale Simulation,” ASME Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 137(12):121002, 2015.

Lai, V.K., Nedrelow, D.S., Lake, S.P., Kim, B., Weiss, E.M., Tranquillo, R.T., and V.H. Barocas, “Swelling of collagen-hyaluronic acid co-gels: An in vitro residual stress model,” Annals BME, 44(10):2984-2993, 2016.

Quindlen, J.C., Stolarski, H.K., Johnson, M.D., and V.H. Barocas, “A Multiphysics Model of the Pacinian Corpuscle,” Integrative Biology, 8:1111-1125, 2016.

Witzenburg, C.M., Dhume, R.Y., Shah, S.B., Korenczuk, C.E., Wagner, H.P., Alford, P.W., and V.H. Barocas, “Failure of the porcine ascending aorta: Multidirectional experiments and a unifying structural model,” Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, accepted.

Shah, S., Witzenburg, C., Hadi, M.F., Wagner, H., Goodrich, J., Alford, P.W., and V.H. Barocas, “Prefailure and Failure Mechanics of the Porcine Ascending Thoracic Aorta: Experiments and a Multiscale Model,” J. Biomechanical Engineering, 136(2):021028, 2014.