Photo of Liisa T. Kuhn, Ph.D.

Liisa T. Kuhn, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Reconstructive Sciences, Center for Regenerative Medicine and Skeletal Development
Academic Office Location:
Reconstructive Sciences
UConn Health
263 Farmington Avenue, MC1615
Farmington, CT 06030-1615
Phone: 860-679-3922
Website(s): Center for Biomaterials
Skeletal, Craniofacial & Oral Bio. Grad. Program

The Kuhn lab is focused on developing biomaterials for the site-specific delivery of therapeutic or imaging agents using calcium phosphate-based biomaterials. Dr. Kuhn has expertise in drug delivery and conducting in vitro and in vivo studies that are used to demonstrate proof-of-concept biological activity of new biomaterials technology.

Ph.D.University of CaliforniaMaterials Engineering
M.S.University of CaliforniaMaterials Engineering
B.S.Duke UniversityMechanical Engineering

Post-Graduate Training
PostdoctoralCase Western Reserve UniversityBiomineralization

Name of Award/HonorAwarding Organization
Women of Innovation Award, Academic Innovation and Leadership CategoryConnecticut Technology Council
Patrick Laing Award for Outstanding and Meritorious ServiceAmerican Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM)
Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering through the Biomedical Engineering program at Storrs. Next course offered Spring 2014.
There are several different ongoing collaborative projects in the Kuhn lab related to two main medical research areas: anti-cancer research and bone regeneration: (a) nanoparticles for targeted anti-cancer drug delivery, (b) evaluation of near infrared imaging dyes to detect therapy resistant hypoxic tumors, and (c) design and testing of polyelectrolyte multi-layer coated scaffolds to achieve controlled delivery of multiple growth factors to regenerate bone for dental and orthopaedic applications. The Kuhn lab also evaluates biomaterials coatings to enhance embryonic stem cell expansion, and is studying the developmental-like bone regeneration capacity of progenitor stem cells derived from human embryonic stem cells.
Accepting Lab Rotation Students: Fall '14

Implant Guided Bone Growth Mediated by Local Delivery of Osteogenic Agents

The long term goal of this research is to develop dental implant guided bone augmentation procedures for the reconstruction of the resorbed alveolar ridge of the mandible. This work is done in collaboration with clinicians Dr. Martin Freilich, Dr. David Shafer, and Dr. Robert Kelly and basic scientists Dr. Gloria Gronowicz and Dr. Marja Hurley. Our goals are to deliver locally acting osteogenic agents from bioactive implant surfaces or scaffolds to guide new supracrestal alveolar bone formation at resorbed sites. Towards this end, we have recently developed novel study models utilizing both miniaturized and full sized titanium implant components to deliver osteogenic agents or stabilize scaffolds for guiding the growth of a new layer of intramembraneous bone. We are now focussed on developing biomaterial scaffolds capable of the release of multiple growth factors that can orchestrate the homing and recruitment of host progenitor cells to achieve bone regeneration in the elderly.

Tissue Engineering

In collaboration with Drs. A. Jon Goldberg, H. Leonardo Aguila and Ren-He Zhu we are studying how tissue engineering scaffolds can be designed to influence the proliferation and differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). In collaboration with Dr. James Dennis of the Benaroya Research Institute we are studying the effects of embryonic stem cell derived progenitor cells on the immune system and identifying key differences between adult mesenchymal stromal progenitor cells and those derived from human embryonic stem cells.

Targeted Delivery of Anti-Cancer Agents

Calcium phosphates have long been used for medical applications because of their excellent biocompatibility, lack of toxicity, and osteoconductivity. This research project is focused on the use of calcium phosphate based nanoparticles for the local, less-toxic delivery of chemotherapy drugs and imaging agents. We use a three-fold approach to developing delivery systems from calcium phosphate particulates: (a) in vitro drug binding and release studies, (b) in vitro cytotoxicity assays with cancer cell lines, and lastly (c) in vivo mouse models for evaluating inhibition of tumor growth, metastasis, and reduced systemic toxicity. Our most recent results indicate that our injectable calcium phosphate/cisplatin nanoconjugates can inhibit mouse breast cancer lymph node metastasis, as effectively as a systemic dose, with fewer toxic side effects.

Journal Articles


  • Advanced micro- and nanofabrication technologies for tissue engineering.
    Shapira, Assaf; Kim, Deok-Ho; Dvir, Tal Biofabrication 2011 Jan;6(2):020301
  • Substantial mouse bone repair by osteo-chondrogenic progenitors derived from hESCs.
    Y. Liu, N.L. Boyd, J.E. Dennis, A. J. Goldberg, S.L. Stice and L.T. Kuhn Regenerative Medicine:Innovations for Clinical Applications 2011 Jan;
  • Substantial mouse calvarial bone defect healing by human embryonic stem cells
    L.T. Kuhn, Y. Liu, N.L. Boyd, J. Dennis, H. Aguila, A. Lichtler and A.J. Goldberg Orthopedic Research Society 2011 Jan;
  • Substantial mouse calvarial bone defect healing by human embryonic stem cells.
    L.T. Kuhn, Y. Liu, N. Boyd, J. Dennis, H. L. Aguila, A.J. Goldberg StemCONN 2011 2011 Jan;
  • Visual Monitoring of Osteoblast Progenitor Cell Differentiation on Dewetted PLA Thin Films.
    R. Lakhman, K. O’Brien, R. Kasi, R.A. Weiss, L.T. Kuhn and A.J. Goldberg Materials Research Society 2011 Jan;
  • Fibrillar Collagen Thin Films Promote Early Osteogenesis
    Y. Liu, A. J. Goldberg, P. Maye, M. Advincula and L. T. Kuhn American Association for Dental Research Annual Meeting 2010 Jan;
  • Non-physiological mineral deposition in vitro by primary human osteoblasts under osteogenic conditions.
    L.F. Charles, J.L. Woodman, A.J. Goldberg, G.A. Gronowicz and L.T. Kuhn Northeast Bioengineering Conference 2010 Jan;
  • Variance of Extracel hydrogel compositions and the osteogenic effects on GFP-reporter preosteoblasts.
    Liu, Y.; Goldberg, A.J. and Kuhn L.T. Society for Biomaterials 2010 Jan;
  • Varying PLA functionality and texture to influence osteoprogenitors.
    R. Lakhman, K. O’Brien, R. Kasi, R.A. Weiss, L.T. Kuhn, M. Mina and A.J. Goldberg Academy of Dental Materials 2010 Jan;
  • Biomimetic method for coating tissue culture polystyrene with carbonated hydroxyapaptite.
    Kuhn, L.T.; Advincula, M.C.; Liu, Y.; Gronowicz, G.; Habibovic, P. and Goldberg, A.J. J. Dent. Res 2009 Jan; 88
  • Differential effects of fibrillar and non-fibrillar collagens on osteogenesis of GFP-reporter preosteoblasts.
    Liu, Y.; Advincula, M.; Goldberg, A.J. and Kuhn, L.T. New England Musculoskeletal Institute Research Day 2009 Jan;
  • Fluorescent quantification of osteogenesis of GFP-transgenic mouse calvarial osteoblasts on biomimetic coatings.
    Liu, Y.; Advincula, M.; Wang, Y.-H.; Goldberg, A.J. and Kuhn, L. Society for Biomaterials 2009 Jan;
  • Fluorescent quantification of osteogenesis using GFP-transgenic mouse reporter cell technology.
    Kuhn, L.T.: Goldberg, A.J.; Liu, Y. and Rowe, D. Regenerative Medicine-Advancing Next Generation Therapies 2009 Jan;

Conference Papers