Headshot photo of Carolyn Schutt Ibsen, Ph.D.

Carolyn Schutt Ibsen, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine
  • Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center (CEDAR), OHSU Knight Cancer Institute
  • Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program Faculty


Energy-Responsive Biomaterials Group
Dr. Carolyn Schutt Ibsen's research group is focused on developing energy-responsive biomaterial platforms for tumor modeling and regenerative medicine. We have a particular interest in stimuli-responsive materials that can be controlled remotely and noninvasively using ultrasound. Our efforts include developing dynamic tissue-engineered platforms to model cancer progression in response to oncogenic stimuli. We also engineer responsive biomaterial systems to guide tissue repair and regeneration. Our work lies at the intersection of nanomaterials design, tissue engineering, gene/drug delivery and ultrasound physics. We are committed to fostering a lab culture that supports diversity, equity and inclusion and training the next generation of scientists through dedicated mentorship. 

Research Focus Areas:
-Stimuli-responsive 3D tumor models to study cancer initiation and for cancer biomarker discovery
-Tissue-engineered hydrogel scaffolds for regenerative medicine therapies
-Stimuli-responsive nanomaterials for drug and gene delivery
-3-D Bioprinting of complex tissue constructs

Positions Available
We are recruiting highly motivated students and postdocs to join our team! Please email ibsenc@ohsu.edu to inquire.

Dr. Ibsen joined OHSU in 2018 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. She holds a joint appointment with the Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center (CEDAR) in the Knight Cancer Institute.  In 2023, she was recognized with the Rising Star Junior Faculty Award in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering from the Biomedical Engineering Society.  She is also a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award and the NIH/NIGMS Maximizing Investigator's Research Award (R35 MIRA). Additionally, she has served on the International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED) Training and Education Working Group.

Prior to OHSU, Dr. Ibsen completed a Whitaker International Postdoctoral Fellowship at Imperial College London, working with biomaterials for engineered tissue and regenerative medicine in the group of Dr. Molly Stevens. She holds a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego. Her graduate work focused on the development of energy-responsive nanomaterials for cancer therapy and diagnostics using light, ultrasound, and their combination.

Education and training

  • Degrees

    • B.S., 2007, University of California, San Diego
    • Ph.D., 2013, University of California, San Diego
  • Fellowship

    • Postdoctoral Fellow, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom, 2018

Areas of interest

  • Energy-responsive biomaterials
  • Tissue engineering / hydrogels
  • 3D-Bioprinting
  • 3D in vitro tumor models
  • Triggered drug and gene delivery
  • Ultrasound stimulation platform engineering
  • Nanomaterials design and characterization

Honors and awards

  • NSF CAREER Award, 2024
  • NIH/NIGMS Maximizing Investigator's Research Award (R35), 2023
  • Rising Star Faculty Award in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, Biomedical Engineering Society, 2023
  • Whitaker International Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow, 2015 - 2017
  • Shunichi Usami Memorial Dissertation Award, UC San Diego, 2014
  • Selected as a Rising Star in EECS, 2014
  • Selected as a Siebel Scholar, Siebel Foundation, 2013
  • Gordon Engineering Leadership Award, 2013
  • Lee Rudee Grand Prize Poster Award, UC San Diego Research Expo, 2012
  • Poster Award, NCI Nanotechnology in Cancer Investigators’ Meeting, 2012
  • Grand Challenge Competition Finalist, University of California Systemwide BME Symposium, 2011
  • National Cancer Institute Cancer Researchers in Nanotechnology Training Program, 2011
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2008


Selected publications

  • "Microbubble–Nanoparticle Complexes for Ultrasound-Enhanced Cargo Delivery." Pharmaceutics. 14 (11): 2396 (2022).
  • "Sonogenetics is a non-invasive approach to activating neurons in Caenorhabditis elegans." Nature Communications. 6 (1): 1-12 (2015).
  • "Stimuli-Responsive Biomaterials: Scaffolds for Stem Cell Control." Advanced Healthcare Materials. 2001125 (2020).
  • "Ultrasound-Triggered Enzymatic Gelation." Advanced Materials. 32(7): 1905914 (2020).
  • "Delivery Nanoparticles with Locally Tunable Toxicity Made Entirely from a Light-Activated Prodrug of Doxorubicin." Pharmaceutical Research. 34(10): 2025-2035 (2017).
  • "Optical Detection of Harmonic Oscillations in Fluorescent Dye-loaded Microbubbles Ensonified by Ultrasound." Optics Letters. 40(12): 2834-2837 (2015).
  • "Manipulating Nanoscale Features on the Surface of Dye-Loaded Microbubbles to Increase their Ultrasound-Modulated Fluorescence Output." Small. 10(16): 3316-3324 (2014).
  • "Microbubble-Mediated Ultrasound Therapy: A Review of its Potential in Cancer Treatment." Drug Design, Development and Therapy. 2013(7): 375-388 (2013).