Sinisa Vukelic


230A S.W. Mudd
Mail Code 4703

Tel(212) 854-3078
Fax(212) 854-3304

Sinisa Vukelic’s research focuses on the alteration of mechanical properties of biomaterials subjected to ultrafast laser irradiation, with an emphasis on understanding underlying biochemical processes that occur when the laser treatment regime is confined below the optical breakdown. Vukelic has been working on the theoretical framework behind the low-density-plasma -- tissue interaction, which has led to two distinct translational medicine efforts. The first is noninvasive permanent vision correction, which aims to provide a new and groundbreaking paradigm in correction of refractive errors. His research has gained a considerable traction at Columbia’s Department of Ophthalmology, where he recently received interdisciplinary appointment. Second is development of a novel treatment modality for early osteoarthritis (OA), a degenerative disease that affects millions of Americans. At the moment only late-stage treatment options are available, which are limited to major interventions, including joint replacement. Furthermore, Vukelic’s research group, concurrently with development of the ultrafast laser-based therapeutic treatment, develops a Raman spectroscopy-based quantitative diagnostic method able to identify early OA. Treatment-diagnostics co-development approach aims to couple the treatment modality with molecular diagnostics and present it as a comprehensive approach for repair of an articular cartilage. 

Research Interests

Mechanical properties and mechanics of collagen rich tissues, biomaterials and biological media, Laser material processing, molecular diagnostics and characterization, mechanical engineering

Recent projects from Vukelic’s research group include: theoretical and experimental development of an ultrafast laser treatment regime of biological media that excludes ablation as well as optical breakdown; application of developing theories towards alteration of mechanical properties of collagen-rich tissues and biomaterials; methods to controllably alter corneal curvature via localized modification of stromal mechanical properties; methods to quantify structural changes of corneal stoma subject to laser irradiation; methods to strengthen articular cartilage; development of novel methods to characterize spatial variation of crosslink density in collagen-rich media; development of molecular diagnostic methods to quantitatively characterize molecular pathways towards differentiating aggressive from indolent prostate cancers.

Vukelic also has active collaboration with Columbia University Medical Center. Specifically, Vukelic collaborates with Departments of Ophthalmology and Cardiology. In the former, he holds interdisciplinary appointment and works toward translation of his basic research into clinical practice. Latter collaboration includes work with cardiologists towards development of a medical device that measures fluid output in patients admitted to hospital due failing heart condition. Recently Vukelic has been involved in development of another medical device that increases compliance of sedentary patients in using spirometer, and therefore reduces pulmonary complications.

Vukelic received a Dipl. Eng. in 2004 in mechanical engineering from University of Belgrade and a MS in 2005 and a PhD in 2009 in mechanical engineering from Columbia University. 

Research Experience

  • Adjunct Assistant Scientist, Hospital for Special Surgery 2010–2013
  • Graduate research assistant, Columbia University, 2005-2009

Professional Experience

  • Lecturer in Discipline, Columbia University, 2013–
  • Swanson Fellow Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Bucknell University, 2009–2013

Professional Affiliations

  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • Materials Research Society
  • SPIE – The International Society for Optics and Photonics

Selected Publications

  • Fomovsky, M, Wang, C, Hall, JAR, Paik, DC, Trokel, SL, Vukelic, S, (2016) A New Paradigm for Use of Ultrafast Lasers in Ophthalmology for Enhancement of Corneal Mechanical Properties and Permanent Correction of Refractive Errors,  Proc. of SPIE 10066, Energy-based Treatment of Tissue and Assessment IX, 100660Y 
  • Wang C, Durney KM, Fomovsky M, Yu J, Hall JR, Ateshian GA, Vukelic S (2016) Femtosecond Laser Irradiation as Novel Paradigm for Treatment of Early Osteoarthritis, ORS 2017 Annual Meeting
  • Wang, C, Durney, KM, Fomovsky, G, Ateshian, GA, Vukelic, S, (2016) Quantitative Raman Characterization of Cross-linked Collagen Thin Films as a Model System for Diagnosing Early Osteoarthritis, Proc. of SPIE Biomedical Vibrational Spectroscopy 9704: 970415
  • Guo, Y, Vukelić, S, (2015) “Evolution of cavitation bubbles in corneal stroma subject to micro-Joule femtosecond laser Pulses,” Proc. of SPIE Optical Interactions with Tissue and Cells 9321: 932106.
  • Guo, Y, Wang, C, Celi, NG, Vukelić, S., (2015) “Femtosecond laser collagen cross-linking without traditional photosensitizers,” Proc. of SPIE Optical Interactions with Tissue and Cells 9321: 932103.
  • Wander, J, Vukelić, S, (2013) “Influence of tissue treatment onto the Raman spectra obtained from prostate histopathological slides for diagnostics purposes,” Proc. of SPIE 8565, 85651F
  • Vukelić, S, Kongsuwan, P, Yao, YL, (2013) “Investigation of the morphology of the features generated via femtosecond lasers in the interior of a bovine cornea sections,” Proceedings of the SPIE, Vol. 8579, 857904, 10 pp.
  • Vukelić, S, Noyan, IC, Kysar, JW, Yao, YL, (2011) “Characterization of Heterogeneous Response of Al Bicrystal Subject to Micro Scale Laser Shock Peening,” Experimental Mechanics, 51(5), 793-796.
  • Vukelić, S, Kongsuwan, P, Yao, YL, (2010) “Ultra-Fast Laser Induced Structural Modification of Fused Silica. Part I: Feature Formation Mechanisms,” Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, Vol. 132, 061012-1.
  • Vukelić, S, Ryu, S, Yao, YL, (2010) “Ultra Fast Laser Induced Structural Modification of Fused Silica. Part II: Spatially Resolved and Decomposed Raman Spectral Analysis” Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, Vol. 132, 061013-1.
  • Vukelić, S, Kysar, JW., and Yao, YL, (2008) “Grain Boundary Response of Aluminum Bicrystal Under Microscale Laser Shock Peening,” International Journal of Solids and Structures, 46, 3323-3335.