• About Me
  • TA/Work Experience
  • My Research
  • Contact Info and Other Links

I am currently working as a Research Assistant under Professor David Hoelzle at the University of Notre Dame in the Hoelzle Research Lab (HRL). I earned my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Materials at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, MO in May 2013.

My research interests include Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), microfluidic devices, control systems, and cell mechanics. I am also excited by applications of engineering to improving human health.

I grew up in Sapulpa, OK (near Tulsa) and I have 5 siblings (2 older brothers, 1 identical twin sister, and 2 younger sisters). Outside of school and research I like to spend my time running. During my time at S&T I competed for both the cross country and track teams (Go Miners!), and I got to compete in my favorite event on the outdoor track (the 10 km). I also enjoy hiking and reading.

Teaching Experience

At Notre Dame, I have been the Teaching Assistant (TA) for classes:

Differential Equations, Vibrations, and Controls II (Springs 2014, 2015, and 2016)

Analytical Dynamics (Fall 2015)

Mathematical Methods I (Fall 2014)

Engineering Analysis of Manufacturing Processes (Fall 2013)

In Springs 2014 and 2016 I received the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award for my work in the Controls class.

Research/Industry Experience

I have worked at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM and at National Oilwell Varco in Tulsa, OK. These were great places to work and I gained extremely valuable experience. I also was a writer for one year for the Missouri S&T newspaper the Missouri Miner. A summary of my work history and other qualifications can be found in the link below to my CV.



Refereed Journals

D.J. Hoelzle, C.K. Chan, M.B. Scott, M.A. Lake, and A.C. Rowat, “A large displacement, high frequency, underwater microelectromechanical systems actuator,” Journal of Applied Physics, vol. 117, pp. 014503, 2015.

Non-refereed Manuscripts

M.A. Lake, C.E. Narciso, K.R. Cowdrick, T.J. Storey, S. Zhang, J.J. Zartman, D.J. Hoelzle, "Microfluidic device design, fabrication, and testing protocols," Nature Protocol Exchange, 2015.

Project Description

Cancer contributes to over 1600 deaths each day in the United States [1]. Therefore, it is in the national interest to develop new cancer treatments and diagnostic tools. The development of these tools requires an increased understanding of cancer at the cellular level. Cancerous cells and healthy cells exhibit differences in their mechanical properties such as rigidity [2]. By measuring cells with Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), researchers discovered cancerous cells to exhibit a four times lower rigidity and narrower standard deviation of this mechanical property than healthy cells [2]. Researchers have an array of tools to measure the mechanical properties of cells with incredible precision such as AFM; however, these devices are slow. We are engineering a new device that combines the measurement of cell rigidity and sorting of cells on that basis at high throughput of 100 cells/s. The mechanical sensing portion of the device consists of an oscillating microelectromechanical system (MEMS) based probe and sensor fabricated using methods from integrated circuit fabrication. The sensing portion is integrated within a microfluidic device to provide an instantaneous measure of mechanical properties. My part in the project is to develop the sorting component of the device that will use the measure of cell rigidity to sort cells downstream from the sensor. In this role, I will provide the engineering-based understanding of a complex, integrated system such that my colleagues in biology will have an effective tool for high throughput cell mechanobiology. Combining mechanical property measurement and sorting cells at high throughput into a single device can add a new tool to the arsenal to understand and help combat cancer.

[1] American Cancer Society, “Cancer Facts & Figures 2014,” 2014.

[2] S. E. Cross et al., “Nanomechanical analysis of cells from cancer patients,” Nat Nano, vol. 2, no. 12, pp. 780–783, Dec. 2007.

You may reach me by e-mail at: mlake1@nd.edu.

Be sure to check out the HRL website! http://www3.nd.edu/~dhoelzle/

I am a Conference Coordinator for the Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) conference at Notre Dame. This is a one day career conference for local 6th-8th grade girls to spark their excitement for STEM careers. The 19th annual EYH conference on April 23, 2016 event was a huge success, and we are excited for next year's event EYH 2017. For more information about this outreach activity see: http://www3.nd.edu/~eyhnd/