Joshua D. Greenlee

[email protected]

Nashville, TN – 37209


  • Translationally-focused biomedical engineer with a strong background utilizing in vitro cancer models, orthotopic animal models, and patient-derived biospecimens to understand mechanisms of cancer metastasis and design novel drug delivery strategies
  • Experienced scientific communicator, both oral and written, with the ability to communicate scientific discoveries to audiences from diverse backgrounds, resulting in 12 presentations (4 podium) at regional and national conferences and >8 peer-reviewed scientific publications
  • Strong leadership and collaborative skills, from serving as a mentor to >200 undergraduate researchers through the SyBBURE Searle Undergraduate Research Program, to organizing research collaborations with key opinion leaders and physicians at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Donald Guthrie Foundation for Research and Education


Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN                                    Doctor of Philosophy – PhD, Biomedical Engineering              2017 – Present                                                                  GPA: 3.89

Ohio University, Athens, OH                                                  Bachelor of Science – BS, Chemical Engineering                    2013 – 2017                                                                      Summa Cum Laude                                                                  GPA: 3.98                                                                            


  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Awardee  (2018)
  • 2017-18 Thomas R. Harris Graduate Fellowship (2017)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship - Honorable Mention (2017)
  • American Chemical Society (ACS) Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) Scholar (2016)
  • Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Keith Russ Outstanding Junior Award (2016)
  • Appalachian Cohort for Engineering Scholar (2013)
  • Alexander High School Valedictorian  (2013)


Vanderbilt University, Dr. Michael King, Biomedical Research Laboratory, Nashville, TN                      2017 – Present

Graduate Research Fellow

Thesis Title: “Trail Therapy for Exploiting Mechanisms of Drug Resistance and Metastasis in Advanced Colorectal Cancer”

  • Managed multiple research projects resulting in three first-author publications
  • Led in the innovation and product development of the liposomal delivery of anti-cancer moieties to metastatic cancers, resulting in nanoparticles that eradicated ~60% of circulating tumor cells in cancer patient blood
  • Organized clinical collaborations, designed institutional review board protocols, and wrote patient consent documentation resulting in the opportunity to evaluate nanoparticle efficacy in patient-derived biospecimens
  • Discovered a novel mechanism where chemoresistant cancer cells become more sensitive to cancer-targeted proteins, resulting in a high-impact, 30-page publication in the acclaimed journal eLife
  • Communicated complex scientific findings by publishing three review manuscripts, including one in the top academic cancer journal, Cancer Research, which has been cited over 48 times
  • Mentored two undergraduate researchers who contributed to multiple publications and gained research experience that propelled them to be admitted into top medical schools

Ohio University, Dr. Doug Goetz, Biomedical Research Laboratory, Athens, OH                                                       2015 –2017

Undergraduate Research Assistant

  • Contributed as an integral member of a drug repurposing team that studied the inhibition of proinflammatory cytokines in ovarian cancer through a methimazole derivative, resulting in the publishing of a graduate student’s thesis and a first-place poster award at the Ohio University Student Research Exposition

Ohio University, Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment, Athens, OH                                                  2014 –2015

Undergraduate Research Assistant              

  • Collaborated in the design of engineering systems for the desalination of fracking wastewater and repurposing of coal byproducts, and wrote detailed standard operating procedures (SOP) and experimental protocols to ensure user safety   


Eastman Chemical Company, Corporate Innovation and Technology, Kingsport, TN                                                        2016

Chemical Engineering Intern

  • Assessed marketability of cellulose esters for new product applications through knowledge of industry trends and integrated findings into weighted decision matrices
  • Coordinated and led cross continental meetings with Eastman marketing teams in Tennessee, Shanghai, and Singapore to pitch new product ideas from polymer properties


  • Greenlee JD., et al. Oxaliplatin resistance in colorectal cancer enhances TRAIL sensitivity via death receptor 4 upregulation and lipid raft localization. eLife 10, e67750 (2021).
  • Greenlee JD., Subramanian T., Liu K. & King MR. Rafting Down the Metastatic Cascade: The Role of Lipid Rafts in Cancer Metastasis, Cell Death, and Clinical Outcomes. Cancer Res 81, 5–17 (2021).
  • Greenlee, JD., Liu, K., Lopez-Cavestany, M. & King, M. R. Piezo1 Mechano-Activation Is Augmented by Resveratrol and Differs between Colorectal Cancer Cells of Primary and Metastatic Origin. Molecules 27, 5430 (2022).
  • Greenlee, JD., & King, MR. A Syngeneic MC38 Orthotopic Mouse Model of Colorectal Cancer Metastasis. Biology Methods and Protocols 7, bpac024, (2022).
  • Greenlee JD. & King, MR. Engineered fluidic systems to understand lymphatic cancer metastasis. Biomicrofluidics 14, 011502 (2020).
  • Hope J., Greenlee JD., & King MR. Mechanosensitive Ion Channels: TRPV4 and P2X7 in Disseminating Cancer Cells. The Cancer Journal 24, 84–92 (2018).
  • Taufalele PV, Wang W, Simmons A, Southard-Smith AN, Chen B, Greenlee JD., et al. Matrix Stiffness Enhances Cancer-Macrophage Interactions and M2-Like Macrophage Accumulation in the Breast Tumor Microenvironment. Acta Biomaterial (2022).
  • Hope JM, Dombroski JA, Pereles RS, Lopez-Cavestany M, Greenlee JD., Schwager SC, et al. Fluid shear stress enhances T cell activation through Piezo1. BMC Biol. 20, 61 (2022).



Oral Presentations

  • Greenlee JD., Liu K., Lopez-Cavestany M., King MR., “Piezo1 mechano-activation is augmented by resveratrol and differs between colorectal cancer cells of primary and metastatic origin”. Vanderbilt Center on Mechanobiology Inaugural Retreat; August 2022; Nashville, TN
  • Greenlee JD., Liu K., King MR., “Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Cells Show Increased Resistance to Fluid Shear Stress-Induced Apoptosis”. Biomedical Engineering Society; October 2021; Orlando, FL.
  • Greenlee , Lopez-Cavestany M, Ortiz-Otero N, Cagir B, Liu K., King MR., “Oxaliplatin Resistance in Colorectal Cancer Enhances TRAIL Sensitivity via Death Receptor 4 Upregulation and Localization into Lipid Rafts”. Biomedical Engineering Society (virtual); October 2020.
  • Greenlee JD., Zhang Z., Yu F., Lui D., King MR. “TRAIL-Conjugated Liposomes that Kill Colorectal Cancer Metastases in the Lymph Nodes”. Biomedical Engineering Society; October 2018; Atlanta, GA.



  • Greenlee JD., Liu K., Lopez-Cavestany M., King MR., “Resveratrol Enhances the Mechanosensation of Colorectal Cancer Cells to Fluid Shear Stress via Piezo1 Activation”. Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center 23rd Annual Scientific Retreat; May 2022; Nashville, TN.
  • Greenlee , Lopez-Cavestany M, Ortiz-Otero N, Cagir B, Liu K., King MR., “Oxaliplatin Resistance Sensitizes Colorectal Cancer to TRAIL via DR4 Lipid Raft Localization”. Biomedical Engineering Society; October 2021; Orlando, FL.
  • Greenlee JD., Taufalele PV, “Anchors of Academia: Fostering a Community Between Patient Donors and Biomedical Research”. Biomedical Engineering Society; October 2021; Orlando, Fl.
  • Greenlee JD., Ortiz-Otero N., Subramanian T., Liu K. & King MR, “TRAILing chemoresistance: Oxaliplatin resistance sensitizes colorectal cancer to TRAIL via death receptor localization.” American Association for Cancer Research; April 2020. *Late breaking abstract*
  • Greenlee JD., Liu K., Subramanian, T., and King MR., “TRAILing a Chemoresistant Phenotype: TRAIL Applications as an Adjuvant for Oxaliplatin-Resistant Colorectal Cancer” Biomedical Engineering Society; October 2019; Philadelphia, PA.
  • Greenlee, JD., King MR. “TRAILing a Chemoresistant Phenotype: TRAIL Applications as an Adjuvant for Oxaliplatin-Resistant Colorectal Cancer”. Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center 20th Annual Scientific Retreat; May 2019; Nashville, TN. *Awarded 3rd Place*
  • Greenlee JD., Zhang Z., Yu F., Lui D., King MR. “TRAIL-Conjugated Liposomes to Kill Chemoresistant Cancer Cells in the Lymph Nodes”. Society for Biomaterials; April 2018; Atlanta, GA. *Awarded 2nd Place Immune Engineering SIG*
  • Champa Z., Greenlee JD., Whalen D., Goetz D., Bergmeier S., McCall K. “Inhibition of IL-6 and IL-8 Expression in Ovarian Cancer by a Phenylmethimazole Derivative”. Ohio University Student Research Exposition; April 2016; Athens, OH. *Awarded 1st Place in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Category*


The SyBBURE Searle Undergraduate Research Program                                                                         2018 – Present

SyBBURE Searle Student Scientific Advisor

  • Demonstrated strong leadership and communication skills by incubating and inspiring the next generation of innovators through research, design, and community, resulting in >200 mentored students over 5 years and a published “Undergraduate Research Guide”
  • Led and organized weekly subgroup and Think Tank meetings with undergraduate students to provide advice on research and professional topics

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN        

Teaching Assistant                                                                                                                                             2017 – 2018

  • Inspired incoming biomedical engineering undergraduates by presenting lectures on engineering and design related subjects in 3 different introduction courses

Graduate Student Association (BME) Social Chair                                                                                            2017 – 2019

  • Organized monthly social events with fellow biomedical graduate students to foster department networking

 Ohio University, Athens, OH

Russ College of Engineering Ambassador                                                                                                         2016 – 2017

  • Cultivated relationships with prospective engineering students as one of 2 ChE department representatives

Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society – Activities Chair Officer                                                       2015 – 2017

Athens County Young Life Leader                                                                                                                   2013 – 2017


  • Experimental Techniques – mammalian cell culture, flow cytometry, FACS, ELISA, siRNA transfection, CRISPR/Cas9 knockout, western blot, qRT-PCR

  • Primary Samples – liquid biopsy/blood sample processing, circulating tumor cell isolation and analysis, tumor digestion, isolation of macrophages, T cells and NK cells from blood and tissue samples

  • Microfabrication – liposome synthesis (extrusion and protein conjugation), photolithography, chemical and ion etchinG

  • Imaging – brightfield, fluorescence, and confocal microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM)

  • Mouse work – survival surgery, injections (SC and IP), bioluminescence imaging (IVIS), necropsy

  • Software – MATLAB, ImageJ, GraphPad Prism, ChemCAD, Microsoft Office

  • Transferable Skills – project management, collaboration, scientific communication, mentorship, knowledge of industry trends, commercial acumen, lab organization, interpersonal skills, good laboratory practice (GLP)



  • Vanderbilt Biomedical Engineering GSA Social Chair (2017 – 2019)
  • Glencliff High School Volunteer Mentor (2017 – 2018)
  • Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society – Activities Chair Officer  (2015 – 2017)
  • Russ College of Engineering Ambassador  (2016 – 2017)
  • WERC Environmental National Design Competition (2016 – 2017)
  • Biomedical Engineering Society (2016 – present)
  • Athens County Young Life Leader  (2013 – 2017)
  • National Society of Collegiate Scholars (2013 – 2017)
  • Landscaping Volunteer at Albany Baptist Church       (2009 – 2017)
  • Appalachian Cohort for Engineering  (2013 – 2017)
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2014 – present)