Christine Ortiz

  • Morris Cohen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
  • BS, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1992
  • PhD, Cornell University, 1997

Biotechnology; Nanotechnology; Polymers

Christine Ortiz

Research

The focus of the Ortiz research program is on structural or load-bearing biological materials, in particular musculoskeletal (internal to the body) and exoskeletal (extermal to the body) tissues. Such systems have developed hierarchical and heterogeneous composite structures over millions of years of evolution in order to sustain the mechanical loads experienced in their specific environment. For this reason, they have enjoyed a long and distinguished history in the literature of more than a century with an emphasis on macroscopic, continuum-level biomechanics. The Ortiz research group studies these fascinating materials using expertise in the field of "nanomechanics," including the measurement and prediction of extremely small forces and displacements, the quantification of nanoscale spatially-varying mechanical properties, the identification of local constitutive laws, the formulation of molecular-level structure-property relationships, and the investigation of new mechanical phenomena existing at small length scales. Novel experimental and theoretical methods are employed, involving increasing levels of complexity from individual molecules to biomimetic molecular assemblies to the matrix associated with single cells and, lastly, to the nanoscale properties of the intact tissue. The result, and ultimate objective of the Ortiz research program, is a fundamental, mechanistic-based understanding of tissue function, quality, and pathology. The scientific foundation being formed has relevance to both the medical and engineering fields. Nanotechnological methods applied to the field of musculoskeletal tissues and tissue engineering hold great promise for significant and rapid advancements towards tissue repair and/or replacement, improved treatments, and possibly even a cure for people afflicted with diseases such as osteoarthritis. In addition, the discovery of new nanoscale design principles and energy-dissipating mechanisms will enable the production of improved and increasingly advanced biologically-inspired structural engineering materials and protective defense technologies that exhibit "mechanical property amplification"—that is, dramatic improvements in mechanical properties (e.g., increases in strength and toughness) for a material relative to its constituents. Their work in musculoskeletal tissues focuses on articular cartilage, bone, and intervertebral disc. Their work in exoskeletal structures involves natural flexible armor, transparent armor, armor for biochemical toxin resistance, kinetic attacks, thermal regulation, and blast dissipation. Model systems include armored fish, deep sea hydrothermal vent and antarctic molluscs, molluscs and echinoderms with articulating plate armor (e.g. chitons, C. atratus), the transparent exoskeletons of certain crustaceans and pteropods, etc.

Recent News

Christine Ortiz receives 2018 J-WEL Grant

Christine Ortiz received a 2018 J-WEL grant for her project "Advancing Socially-Directed STEM Education" which will focus on the development of course materials for the MIT fall term class 3.087 Materials, Societal Impact, and Social Innovation. The materials will not only be applied within MIT…   more

Armor plating with built-in transparent ceramic eyes

Tiny sea creatures feature transparent optical systems as tough as their shells. Usually, it’s a tradeoff: If you want maximum physical protection, whether from biting predators or exploding artillery shells, that generally compromises your ability to see. But sea-dwelling creatures…   more

Materials science to examine beetle defense mechanisms

How some beetles produce a scalding defensive spray New analysis shows how bombardier beetles produce an explosive defensive chemical jet. Bombardier beetles, which exist on every continent except Antarctica, have a pretty easy life. Virtually no other animals prey…   more

Prof. Ortiz named dean for graduate education

Prof. Christine Ortiz will be the new dean for graduate education, effective Aug. 1. The dean collaborates with students, faculty, and staff across the Institute on issues related to graduate education and research and focuses on increasing graduate-student opportunities for academic,…   more

DMSE faculty participate in Manufacturing Round Table discussion

Prof. Gerd Ceder and Prof. Christine Ortiz were participants in an MIT roundtable discussion titled, The Future of Manufacturing — Advanced Technologies. More than a dozen of the Institute’s faculty shared converging ideas about how to reinvigorate America’s goods-producing businesses.…   more

Publications

2018

R. Oftadeh, Connizzo, B. K., Nia, H. T., Ortiz, C., and Grodzinsky, A. J., “Biological connective tissues exhibit viscoelastic and poroelastic behavior at different frequency regimes: Application to tendon and skin biophysics”, Acta Biomaterialia, vol. 70. pp. 249-259, 2018.
K. Zolotovsky, Gazit, M., and Ortiz, C., Guided Growth of Bacterial Cellulose Biofilms, vol. 10928. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2018, pp. 538-548.

2017

L. Liu et al., “The effects of morphological irregularity on the mechanical behavior of interdigitated biological sutures under tension”, Journal of Biomechanics, vol. 58. pp. 71-78, 2017.
W. L. Lee, Low, H. Y., and Ortiz, C., “Geometry-dependent compressive responses in nanoimprinted submicron-structured shape memory polyurethane”, Soft Matter, vol. 13. pp. 3314-3327, 2017.
S. W. Cranford, Han, L., Ortiz, C., and Buehler, M. J., “Mutable polyelectrolyte tube arrays: mesoscale modeling and lateral force microscopy”, Soft Matter, vol. 13. pp. 5543-5557, 2017.

2015

S. Varshney, Song, J., Li, Y., Boyce, M. C., and Ortiz, C., “Morphometric structural diversity of a natural armor assembly investigated by 2D continuum strain analysis”, Journal of Structural Biology, vol. 192. pp. 487-499, 2015.
L. Li et al., “Multifunctionality of chiton biomineralized armor with an integrated visual system”, Science, vol. 350. pp. 952-956, 2015.
L. Li and Ortiz, C., “A Natural 3D Interconnected Laminated Composite with Enhanced Damage Resistance”, Advanced Functional Materials, vol. 25. pp. 3463-3471, 2015.
Q. Li et al., “Biomechanical properties of murine meniscus surface via AFM-based nanoindentation”, Journal of Biomechanics, vol. 48. pp. 1364-1370, 2015.
E. M. Arndt, Moore, W., Lee, W. -K., and Ortiz, C., “Mechanistic origins of bombardier beetle (Brachinini) explosion-induced defensive spray pulsation”, Science, vol. 348. pp. 563-567, 2015.
H. T. Nia et al., “Aggrecan Nanoscale Solid Fluid Interactions Are a Primary Determinant of Cartilage Dynamic Mechanical Properties”, Acs Nano, vol. 9. pp. 2614-2625, 2015.
N. Oxman, Ortiz, C., Gramazio, F., and Kohler, M., “Material ecology”, Computer-Aided Design, vol. 60. pp. 1-2, 2015.
J. Duro-Royo et al., “MetaMesh: A hierarchical computational model for design and fabrication of biomimetic armored surfaces”, Computer-Aided Design, vol. 60. pp. 14-27, 2015.
L. Li, Weaver, J. C., and Ortiz, C., “Hierarchical structural design for fracture resistance in the shell of the pteropod Clio pyramidata”, Nature Communications, vol. 6. p. 6216, 2015.
L. Li, Kolle, S., Weaver, J. C., Ortiz, C., Aizenberg, J., and Kolle, M., “A highly conspicuous mineralized composite photonic architecture in the translucent shell of the blue-rayed limpet”, Nature Communications, vol. 6. p. 6322, 2015.
B. B. Lee, Han, L., Frank, E. H., Grodzinsky, A. J., and Ortiz, C., “Dynamic nanomechanics of individual bone marrow stromal cells and cell-matrix composites during chondrogenic differentiation”, Journal of Biomechanics, vol. 48. pp. 171-175, 2015.
H. T. Nia et al., “High-bandwidth AFM-based rheology is a sensitive indicator of early cartilage aggrecan degradation relevant to mouse models of osteoarthritis”, Journal of Biomechanics, vol. 48. pp. 162-165, 2015.
S. Rudykh, Ortiz, C., and Boyce, M. C., “Flexibility and protection by design: imbricated hybrid microstructures of bio-inspired armor”, Soft Matter, vol. 11. pp. 2547-2554, 2015.
H. T. Nia, Ortiz, C., and Grodzinsky, A., “Aggrecan: Approaches to Study Biophysical and Biomechanical Properties”, in Glycosaminoglycans: Chemistry and Biology, vol. 1229, 2015, pp. 221-237.

2014

E. Lin, Li, Y., Weaver, J. C., Ortiz, C., and Boyce, M. C., “Tunability and enhancement of mechanical behavior with additively manufactured bio-inspired hierarchical suture interfaces”, Journal of Materials Research, vol. 29. pp. 1867-1875, 2014.
M. A. Batista et al., “Nanomechanical phenotype of chondroadherin-null murine articular cartilage”, Matrix Biology, vol. 38. pp. 84-90, 2014.
L. Li and Ortiz, C., “Pervasive nanoscale deformation twinning as a catalyst for efficient energy dissipation in a bioceramic armour”, Nature Materials, vol. 13. pp. 501-507, 2014.

2013

L. Li and Ortiz, C., “Biological Design for Simultaneous Optical Transparency and Mechanical Robustness in the Shell of Placuna placenta”, Advanced Materials, vol. 25. pp. 2344-2350, 2013.
H. T. Nia et al., “High-Bandwidth AFM-Based Rheology Reveals that Cartilage is Most Sensitive to High Loading Rates at Early Stages of Impairment”, Biophysical Journal, vol. 104. pp. 1529-1537, 2013.
H. -Y. Lee, Han, L., Roughley, P. J., Grodzinsky, A. J., and Ortiz, C., “Age-related nanostructural and nanomechanical changes of individual human cartilage aggrecan monomers and their glycosaminoglycan side chains”, Journal of Structural Biology, vol. 181. pp. 264-273, 2013.
A. Browning, Ortiz, C., and Boyce, M. C., “Mechanics of composite elasmoid fish scale assemblies and their bioinspired analogues”, Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, vol. 19. pp. 75-86, 2013.

2012

Y. Zhang, Yao, H., Ortiz, C., Xu, J., and Dao, M., “Bio-inspired interfacial strengthening strategy through geometrically interlocking designs”, Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, vol. 15. pp. 70-77, 2012.
Y. Li, Ortiz, C., and Boyce, M. C., “Bioinspired, mechanical, deterministic fractal model for hierarchical suture joints”, Physical Review E, vol. 85. 2012.
M. J. Connors et al., “Three-dimensional structure of the shell plate assembly of the chiton Tonicella marmorea and its biomechanical consequences”, Journal of Structural Biology, vol. 177. pp. 314-328, 2012.
L. Han et al., “Tunable stimulus-responsive friction mechanisms of polyelectrolyte films and tube forests”, Soft Matter, vol. 8. pp. 8642-8650, 2012.

2011

Y. Li, Ortiz, C., and Boyce, M. C., “Stiffness and strength of suture joints in nature”, Physical Review E, vol. 84. 2011.
H. T. Nia, Han, L., Li, Y., Ortiz, C., and Grodzinsky, A., “Poroelasticity of Cartilage at the Nanoscale”, Biophysical Journal, vol. 101. pp. 2304-2313, 2011.
L. Han et al., “Geometrically Controlled Mechanically Responsive Polyelectrolyte Tube Arrays”, Advanced Materials, vol. 23. p. 4667 - +, 2011.
L. Han, Wang, L., Song, J., Boyce, M. C., and Ortiz, C., “Direct Quantification of the Mechanical Anisotropy and Fracture of an Individual Exoskeleton Layer via Uniaxial Compression of Micropillars”, Nano Letters, vol. 11. pp. 3868-3874, 2011.
J. Song, Ortiz, C., and Boyce, M. C., “Threat-protection mechanics of an armored fish”, Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, vol. 4. pp. 699-712, 2011.
L. Han et al., “Time-Dependent Nanomechanics of Cartilage”, Biophysical Journal, vol. 100. pp. 1846-1854, 2011.
L. Wang, Ortiz, C., and Boyce, M. C., “Mechanics of Indentation into Micro- and Nanoscale Forests of Tubes, Rods, or Pillars”, Journal of Engineering Materials and Technology-Transactions of the Asme, vol. 133. 2011.
L. Han, Grodzinsky, A. J., and Ortiz, C., “Nanomechanics of the Cartilage Extracellular Matrix”, in Annual Review of Materials Research, Vol 41, vol. 41, 2011, pp. 133-168.

2010

J. Song et al., “Quantitative microstructural studies of the armor of the marine threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus)”, Journal of Structural Biology, vol. 171. pp. 318-331, 2010.
P. W. Kopesky et al., “Adult equine bone marrow stromal cells produce a cartilage-like ECM mechanically superior to animal-matched adult chondrocytes”, Matrix Biology, vol. 29. pp. 427-438, 2010.
B. B. Lee, Han, L., Frank, E. H., Chubinskaya, S., Ortiz, C., and Grodzinsky, A. J., “Dynamic mechanical properties of the tissue-engineered matrix associated with individual chondrocytes”, Journal of Biomechanics, vol. 43. pp. 469-476, 2010.
H. Yao et al., “Protection mechanisms of the iron-plated armor of a deep-sea hydrothermal vent gastropod”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 107. pp. 987-992, 2010.

2009

L. Wang, Song, J., Ortiz, C., and Boyce, M. C., “Anisotropic design of a multilayered biological exoskeleton”, Journal of Materials Research, vol. 24. pp. 3477-3494, 2009.
D. J. Schmidt et al., “Electrochemically Controlled Swelling and Mechanical Properties of a Polymer Nanocomposite”, Acs Nano, vol. 3. pp. 2207-2216, 2009.
H. -Y. Lee et al., “Nanoscale properties of aggrecan produced by equine mesenchymal stem cells”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 237. 2009.

2008

L. Han, Dean, D., Daher, L. A., Grodzinsky, A. J., and Ortiz, C., “Cartilage Aggrecan Can Undergo Self-Adhesion”, Biophysical Journal, vol. 95. pp. 4862-4870, 2008.
B. J. F. Bruet, Song, J., Boyce, M. C., and Ortiz, C., “Materials design principles of ancient fish armour”, Nature Materials, vol. 7. pp. 748-756, 2008.
C. Ortiz and Boyce, M. C., “Materials science - Bioinspired structural materials”, Science, vol. 319. pp. 1053-1054, 2008.

2007

L. Han, Dean, D., Mao, P., Ortiz, C., and Grodzinsky, A. J., “Nanoscale shear deformation mechanisms of opposing cartilage aggrecan macromolecules”, Biophysical Journal, vol. 93. pp. L23 - L25, 2007.
K. Tai, Dao, M., Suresh, S., Palazoglu, A., and Ortiz, C., “Nanoscale heterogeneity promotes energy dissipation in bone”, Nature Materials, vol. 6. pp. 454-462, 2007.
L. Han, Dean, D., Ortiz, C., and Grodzinsky, A. J., “Lateral nanomechanics of cartilage aggrecan macromolecules”, Biophysical Journal, vol. 92. pp. 1384-1398, 2007.
L. Ng, Hung, H. -H., Sprunt, A., Chubinskaya, S., Ortiz, C., and Grodzinsky, A., “Nanomechanical properties of individual chondrocytes and their developing growth factor-stimulated pericellular matrix”, Journal of Biomechanics, vol. 40. pp. 1011-1023, 2007.

2006

K. Tai, Ulm, F. -J., and Ortiz, C., “Nanogranular origins of the strength of bone”, Nano Letters, vol. 6. pp. 2520-2525, 2006.
J. Qi, Ortiz, C., and Boyce, M. C., “Mechanics of biomacromolecular networks containing folded domains”, Journal of Engineering Materials and Technology-Transactions of the Asme, vol. 128. pp. 509-518, 2006.
J. Vandiver et al., “Silicon addition to hydroxyapatite increases nanoscale electrostatic, van der Waals, and adhesive interactions”, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, vol. 78A. pp. 352-363, 2006.
C. Kearney, Zhao, Z., Bruet, B. J. F., Radovitzky, R., Boyce, M. C., and Ortiz, C., “Nanoscale anisotropic plastic deformation in single crystal aragonite”, Physical Review Letters, vol. 96. 2006.
K. Tai and Ortiz, C., “Nanomechanical heterogeneity of bone at the length scale of individual collagen fibrils”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 231. 2006.
L. Han et al., “Advances in the nanomechanics of cartilage: Biomimetic surfaces, single chondrocytes, and intact tissue”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 231. 2006.
D. Dean, Han, L., Grodzinsky, A. J., and Ortiz, C., “Compressive nanomechanics of opposing aggrecan macromolecules”, Journal of Biomechanics, vol. 39. pp. 2555-2565, 2006.

2005

B. J. F. Bruet et al., “Nanoscale morphology and indentation of individual nacre tablets from the gastropod mollusc Trochus niloticus (vol 20, pg 2400, 2005)”, Journal of Materials Research, vol. 20. pp. 3157-3157, 2005.
K. S. Tai, Qi, H. J., and Ortiz, C., “Effect of mineral content on the nanoindentation properties and nanoscale deformation mechanisms of bovine tibial cortical bone”, Journal of Materials Science-Materials in Medicine, vol. 16. pp. 947-959, 2005.
J. Seog et al., “Nanomechanics of opposing glycosaminoglycan macromolecules”, Journal of Biomechanics, vol. 38. pp. 1789-1797, 2005.
B. J. F. Bruet et al., “Nanoscale morphology and indentation of individual nacre tablets from the gastropod mollusc Trochus niloticus”, Journal of Materials Research, vol. 20. pp. 2400-2419, 2005.
J. Vandiver, Dean, D., Patel, N., Bonfield, W., and Ortiz, C., “Nanoscale variation in surface charge of synthetic hydroxyapatite detected by chemically and spatially specific high-resolution force spectroscopy”, Biomaterials, vol. 26. pp. 271-283, 2005.
J. Vandiver, Patel, N., Bonfield, W., and Ortiz, C., “Nanoscale morphology of apatite precipitated onto synthetic hydroxyapatite from simulated body fluid”, in Bioceramics, Vol 17, vol. 284-286, 2005, pp. 497-500.
H. J. Qi, Ortiz, C., and Boyce, M. C., “Protein forced unfolding and its effects on the finite deformation stress-strain behavior of biomacromolecular solids”, in Structure and Mechanical Behavior of Biological Materials, vol. 874, 2005, pp. 15-20.

2004

M. Rixman, Macias, C., and Ortiz, C., “Effect of solution conditions on the nanoscale interaction between human serum albumin and poly(ethylene oxide)”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 227. pp. U348 - U348, 2004.

2003

M. A. Rixman, Dean, D., and Ortiz, C., “Nanoscale intermolecular interactions between human serum albumin and low grafting density surfaces of poly(ethylene oxide)”, Langmuir, vol. 19. pp. 9357-9372, 2003.
L. Ng, Grodzinsky, A. J., Patwari, P., Sandy, J., Plaas, A., and Ortiz, C., “Individual cartilage aggrecan macromolecules and their constituent glycosaminoglycans visualized via atomic force microscopy”, Journal of Structural Biology, vol. 143. pp. 242-257, 2003.
M. A. Rixman, Dean, D., Macias, C. E., and Ortiz, C., “Nanoscale intermolecular interactions between human serum albumin and alkanethiol self-assembled monolayers”, Langmuir, vol. 19. pp. 6202-6218, 2003.
D. Dean, Seog, J., Ortiz, C., and Grodzinsky, A. J., “Molecular-level theoretical model for electrostatic interactions within polyelectrolyte brushes: Applications to charged glycosaminoglycans”, Langmuir, vol. 19. pp. 5526-5539, 2003.
M. A. Rixman, Dean, D., Macias, C., and Ortiz, C., “Nonspecific interactions between human serum albumin and poly(ethylene oxide) via high resolution force spectroscopy”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 225. pp. U614 - U614, 2003.
L. J. Ng, Tai, K. S., Plaas, A., Grodzinsky, A. J., and Ortiz, C., “Ultrastructure and nanomechanics of biological tissues: Cartilage and bone.”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 225. pp. U706 - U706, 2003.

2002

L. J. Ng, Plaas, A., Grodzinsky, A., and Ortiz, C., “Atomic force microscopy studies of the conformation of cartilage aggrecan and related constituents.”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 224. pp. U416 - U416, 2002.
R. D. Domike, Ortiz, C., and Cooney, C. L., “Direct measurement of nanoscale interactions between pharmaceutical particles via high-resolution force spectroscopy.”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 224. pp. U416 - U417, 2002.
M. A. Rixman and Ortiz, C., “Exploring the molecular origins of bio(in)compatibility: Adhesion between proteins and poly(ethylene oxide).”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 224. pp. U427 - U427, 2002.
C. Ortiz and Rixman, M., “Interactions between human serum albumin and low density surfaces of poly(ethylene oxide).”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 224. pp. U401 - U401, 2002.
D. Dean, Seog, J., Ortiz, C., and Grodzinsky, A., “Modeling of electrostic forces between glycosaminoglycan molecules.”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 224. pp. U428 - U428, 2002.
L. J. Ng, Plaas, A., Grodzinsky, A. J., and Ortiz, C., “Structure, conformation, and self-assembly of cartilage polyelectrolyte macromolecules studied via atomic force microscopy.”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 224. pp. U408 - U408, 2002.
M. Ferreira, Mattos, L. H. C., Moreno, R., Goncalves, P., Hosler, D., and Ortiz, C., “Studies of natural rubber clones by standard methods and nanomechanics techniques.”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 224. pp. U429 - U429, 2002.
X. Jiang, Ortiz, C., and Hammond, P. T., “Chemical force measurements of polyion-surface interactions for selective deposition.”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 223. pp. U395 - U396, 2002.
X. P. Jiang, Ortiz, C., and Hammond, P. T., “Exploring the rules for selective deposition: Interactions of model polyamines on acid and oligoethylene oxide surfaces”, Langmuir, vol. 18. pp. 1131-1143, 2002.

2001

X. P. Jiang, Ortiz, C., and Hammond, P. T., “Intermolecular interactions of model polyamines with acid and oligoethylene glycol SAMs measured with High-Resolution Force Spectroscopy: Exploring selective deposition.”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 222. pp. U330 - U330, 2001.
J. Seog, Dean, D., Wong-Palms, S., Plaas, A., Grodzinsky, A. J., and Ortiz, C., “Modeling and measurement of glycosaminoglycan electrostatic interactions.”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 221. pp. U344 - U345, 2001.
C. Ortiz, Seog, J. N., Dean, D., Wong-Palms, S., Plaas, A., and Grodzinsky, A. J., “Nanomechanics of cartilage: Investigation of macromolecular intermolecular interactions via high-resolution force spectroscopy.”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 221. pp. U358 - U358, 2001.