University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering


Allison Hubel


Office: 2101C Mechanical Engineering
Phone: 612-626-4451

Ph.D. 1989, M.S. 1985, Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
B.S. 1983, Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University


Big Ten(1) Women's Workshop


Biopreservation of biospecimens
Biospecimens range from molecules (DNA, proteins), to cells and tissues. These specimens are used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Collection and storage of biospecimens has gained such prominence that biobanking was featured in the March 12th issue of Time Magazine “10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now: What’s Next 2009”. The usefulness of a biospecimen is determined in large part on our ability to preserve and retain its critical biological properties.

Molecular mechanisms of damage: Many biological systems of tremendous clinical importance cannot be preserved. We are using Confocal Raman Microspectroscopy to chemically map the cell, water and protective agents during freezing. These studies will permit us to understand subcellular phenomena during freezing and develop new strategies for improving preservation outcome.
Technology for biopreservation: Current methods of processing biospecimens for preservation are very labor intensive, time consuming and require a high-degree of training. We are developing technology that will reduce time, labor, and cell losses during processing of cells for preservation.

Microfluidic devices: Preservation requires the use of specialized solutions. These solutions must be introduced and removed from the cell suspension. Current technologies are time consuming and result in significant cell losses. We are proposing to use microfluidics to introduce and remove preservation solutions. Microfluidic devices developed represent a technology platform that can be scaled to process cell suspensions ranging in volume from 1-500 ml for applications ranging from processing of cells for biorepositories to processing red blood cells for the treatment of surgical blood loss/trauma.

Corneal tissue engineering
The cornea is the most commonly transplanted tissue in the United States with over 46,000 transplants performed annually. Worldwide, the supply of corneal tissue suitable for transplantation has never matched the demand (generally, a total of 120,000 transplants are available for 10,000,000 patients as reported by the World Health Organization, and a similar situation may present itself in United States in the next few years. We are developing a tissue-engineered cornea with favorable optical and biomechanical properties and capable of integration into the eye.


Preservation of Molecular, Cellular and Tissue Biospecimens Workshop


BioCoR - Biopreservation Core Resource

Positions Available - RA and Post Doc - (pdf)