Picture of Cynthia A. Reinhart-King

Cynthia A. Reinhart-King

Adjunct Professor
Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering


Cynthia Reinhart-King obtained undergraduate degrees in chemical engineering and biology at MIT and a Ph.D. in bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania working with Daniel Hammer. She completed postdoctoral training at the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of Rochester working with Brad Berk and Keigi Fujiwara before coming to Cornell in 2008. Her lab has received funding from the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the American Federation for Aging Research. She currently serves as a member of the National BMES Board of Directors.

Research Interests

The central mission of the Reinhart-King lab is to understand the mechanisms that drive tissue formation and tissue disruption during diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer. Specifically, we focus on how physical and chemical cues within the extracellular environment drive fundamental cellular processes including cell-matrix adhesion, cell-cell adhesion and cell migration. We employ multidisciplinary methodologies involving principles from cell biology, biophysics, biomaterials and biomechanics. Of particular interest are the pathophysiology of angiogenesis and atherosclerosis and the extracellular cues driving metastatic cell migration.

We use a multi-scale approach to understand how cells integrate physical and chemical cues within their environment. At the tissue level, we characterize the structural, mechanical and compositional changes occurring in tissues during disease progression using advanced imaging techniques, mechanical measurements, histology, and biochemical assays. We use this knowledge to build models of healthy and diseased tissues using tissue engineering approaches and microfabrication. At the cellular level, we use these models to understand how physical and chemical features within the extracellular matrix alter cell behaviors such as adhesion, migration and proliferation. At the molecular level, we use various cellular and molecular biology tools to uncover the intracellular pathways being affected by the microenvironment. This multi-scale, integrated approach has the power to uncover novel therapeutic targets to slow and/or prevent diseases such as atherosclerosis and metastasis.

Selected Publications

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Elected Board of Directors Member (National Biomedical Engineering Society) 2014
  • Cook Award for commitment to women's issues and contributions for changing the climate for women at Cornell (Cornell University) 2013
  • "Rising Star" Award (Society for Physical Regulation in Biology) 2012
  • NSF CAREER Award (National Science Foundation) 2011
  • Sonny Yau '72 Excellence in Teaching Award (Cornell's College of Engineering) 2010


University of Pennsylvania 2006