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Marla Steinbeck

Marla J. Steinbeck, PhD

Associate Research Professor
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems

Phone: 215.895.5827


Dr. Steinbeck is a Research Associate Professor at Drexel University's School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems. Her research includes the inflammatory based biological failure modes of total joint replacements of the elbow, spine, hip and knee. Dr. Steinbeck is currently investigating the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitrogen (RNS) by macrophages after ingestion of UHMWPE wear debris, and the role of ROS/RNS in promoting aseptic osteolysis and neuroinflammatory pain. A primary goal is to understand tissue responses to wear debris and develop a biomarker panel of pro- and anti-oxidant factors and oxidative stress responsive osteoclast and osteoblast factors that can be used to diagnose early implant problems. A better understanding of the pathways involved will ultimately lead to the development of therapeutic interventions. In collaboration with Dr. Theresa Freeman at Thomas Jefferson University and Dr. Gregory Friedman at the Drexel University Plasma Institute, she is investigating the use of non-thermal plasma to promote stem cell differentiation and tissue regeneration. The goal is to identify oxidative stress and cellular redox changes initiated by non-thermal plasma treatment that promote skeletal progenitor cell differentiation.

As an Assistant Professor at Thomas Jefferson University, her research included the association of myeloperoxidase expression and product formation in osteoarthritic patients, oxidative stress promotion of idiopathic arthrofibrosis following total knee replacement, and the involvement of hydrogen peroxide in osteoclast differentiation. As a Postdoctoral Fellow and Instructor at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Steinbeck identified NADPH-oxidase expression and the involvement of reactive oxygen species production in osteoclast-mediated bone resorption in addition to developing a method to quantify singlet oxygen production by neutrophils and macrophages in response to phagocytic stimuli. Dr. Steinbeck has served as PI or Co-I on several NIH- and industry-sponsored projects, and as a grant reviewer for NIH other institutes.


  • BS, Wayne State College, Wayne, NE, Med Tech/Chemistry, 1973-1976
  • MT (ASCP), St. Lukes Medical Center, Sioux City, IA, Medical Technology, 1975-1976
  • MS, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, Molecular Cell Biology, 1981-1983
  • PhD, Iowa State University, School of Veterinary, Immunobiology, 1983-1987
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, Pathology, 1988-1992

Research Interests

Orthopaedic total joint replacement biocompatibility, biomarker panel development for diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring of joint replacement failures, medical use of dielectric barrier discharge plasma to enhance skeletal stem cell differentiation and tissue regeneration