Liisa T. Kuhn, Ph.D.Associate Professor of Reconstructive Sciences, Center for Regenerative Medicine and Skeletal Development
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 California||Materials Engineering|
|M.S.||University of California||Materials Engineering|
|B.S.||Duke University||Mechanical Engineering|
|Postdoctoral||Case Western Reserve University||Biomineralization|
|Name of Award/Honor||Awarding Organization|
|Women of Innovation Award, Academic Innovation and Leadership Category||Connecticut Technology Council|
|Patrick Laing Award for Outstanding and Meritorious Service||American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM)|
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.
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.