Photo of Syam P. Nukavarapu, Ph.D.

Syam P. Nukavarapu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery and Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering (CMBE)
Academic Office Location:
Orthopaedic Surgery
UConn Health
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030
Phone: 860-679-4183
Fax: 860-679-1553

Skeletal Biology and Regeneration Graduate Program

B.Sc.Nagarjuna UniversityPhysical Sciences
M.Sc.University of HyderabadChemistry
Ph.D.Materials Research Centre, IIScMaterials Science and Engineering

Post-Graduate Training
PostdoctoralLehigh UniversityPost Doctoral Fellow, Materials Science and Engineering
Name & DescriptionCategoryRoleTypeScopeStart YearEnd Year
Journal of Regenerative Medicine and Tissue EngineeringEditorial BoardMemberExternalNational2012
Encyclopedia of Biomedical Polymers and Polymeric BiomaterialsEditorial BoardMemberExternalNational2012
Hierarchical Three-dimensional Structures for Tissue Regeneration, The 9th Biomaterials Congress, Chengdu, China, 2012Advisory CommitteeSession OrganizerExternalInternational20122012
Journal of Biomaterials and Tissue EngineeringEditorial BoardMemberExternalNational2011
Journal of Nanomedicine and NanotechnologyEditorial BoardMemberExternalNational2011
Journal of Tissue Science and EngineeringEditorial BoardMemberExternalNational2011
Controlled Release Society (CRS)Professional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational2011
Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)Professional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational2011
Vascular Tissue Engineering, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology (EMBC) annual meeting, Boston, 2011Advisory CommitteeSession Co-ChairpersonExternalInternational20112011
Tissue Regeneration and Repair, New England Musculoskeletal Institute 5th Annual Meeting, Farmington, CT, 2011.Advisory CommitteeSession Co-ChairpersonUConn HealthRegional20112011
Scaffold Assisted Bone Defect Repair/Regeneration, Society for Biomaterials (SFB) Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL, 2011.Advisory CommitteeSession Organizer and ChairpersonExternalNational20112011
Biomaterial technologies for Treating Nonunion bone defects: Research developments and Clinical applications, Society for Biomaterials Annual Meeting, Washington, WA, 2010Advisory CommitteeSession Organizer and ChairpersonExternalNational20102010
Orthopaedic Biomaterials, Society for Biomaterials (SFB) Annual Meeting, Washington, WA, 2010.Advisory CommitteeSession Organizer and Chair PersonExternalNational20102010
Artificial OrgansEditorial BoardMemberExternalNational2009
U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel CommandAdvisory CommitteeMail Grant ReviewerExternalNational20092009
NIH Challenge GrantspAdvisory CommitteeMail Grant ReviewerExternalNational20092009
Orthopaedic Biomaterials Special Interest Group, Society for BiomaterialsAdvisory CommitteeGeneral SecretaryExternalNational20092011
Arnold and Mabel Beckman Institute for Macular Research Annual Meeting. Participated in the task group of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. Irvine, CA, 2009.OtherMemberExternalNational20092009
Tissue Engineering International & Regenerative Medicine Society (TERMIS)Professional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalInternational2008
Materials Research Society (MRS)Professional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational2008
Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS)Professional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational2007
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research SocietyProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational2007
Society for Biomaterials (SFB)Professional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational2005
PNASProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Tissue EngineeringProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Artificial OrgansProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Acta BiomateriliaProfessional/Scientific OrganizationReviewerExternalNational
Polymer InternationalProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Biomedical MaterialsProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Journal of Biomaterials ApplicationsProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
NanotechnologyProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative MedicineProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Journal of Biomaterials Science, Polymer EditionProfessional/Scientific OrganizationReviewerExternalNational
Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B: Applied BiomaterialsProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Journal of the American Ceramic SocietyProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Journal of Applied Polymer ScienceProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational

Approximately half million bone grafting procedures are performed each year in the United States. The number is increasing as life expectancy and the number of baby boomers is aging. Traditionally, bone grafting is performed using autografts, allografts and bone substitutes, which include bone cements and fillers. However, there are serious drawbacks with these existing graft options. To overcome the limitations, the bone tissue engineering approach has been proposed for bone defect repair and regeneration. In this approach, aside from the bone-forming cells and growth factors, the healing and regeneration of critically sized bone defects require a scaffold, which not only allows bone in-growth, but also provides mechanical support. Dr. Nukavarapu’s focus has been to design and fabricate biodegradable scaffolds that are biologically active and mechanically compatible for bone repair and regeneration. Also, he is working to develop hybrid scaffold systems (porous scaffolds infused with hydrogels) that can deliver both, the required cells (vasculogenic and osteogenic), and growth factors (BMP-2 & VEGF). Such self-sustaining scaffolds could be directly implanted in vivo, thus, completely bypassing the in vitro culture step. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop biodegradable grafts that accelerate bone defect repair and yet, are clinically and economically viable. Dr. Nukavarapu’s laboratory is well equipped to carry out scaffold fabrication, porosity and mechanical characterization, osteocompatibility evaluation in vitro, and bone regeneration ability in vivo using rat and rabbit critical size defect models. The current research interests are as follows:

--The design, fabrication and optimization of biodegradable scaffolds for bone tissue engineering

--Scaffold osteocompatibility evaluation in vitro and bone regeneration ability in vivo

--Methods to achieve scaffold vascularization for enhanced osteogenesis

--Bone regeneration via endochondral ossification

Accepting Lab Rotation Students: Summer '16, Fall '16, Spring '17

Lab Rotation Projects

Hybrid scaffolds for accelerated bone defect repair The goal of this project is to fabricate weight-bearing scaffolds infused with hydrogels that have the ability to deliver osteogenic and vasculogenic cells and growth factors.

Scaffold optimization for enhanced osteogenesis The aim of this project is to design optimally porous scaffolds that ease diffusional constraints and form bone throughout the scaffold. The pore size optimization could also result in the increased osteoclast participation, which may lead to bone remodeling and thus, better quality bone formation.

Scaffolds with bone compatible mechanical properties The aim is to improve the scaffold mechanical properties by making biodegradable polymer composites with magnesium or water-dispersible carbon nanotubes. Scaffolds with bone compatible mechanical strength are expected to support easy defect stabilization, mechanotrasnduction to the graft residing cells, organized collagen matrix formation and scaffold integration with the host tissue.

Journal Articles

Book Chapters

  • Bone and Biomaterials
    Nukavarapu SP, Wallace J, Elgendy H, Lieberman J, Laurencin C An Introduction to Biomaterials 2011 Jan;571-593
  • Nanostructured Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering
    Igwe J, Amini A, Mikael P, Laurencin CT, Nukavarapu SP Active Implants and Scaffolds for Tissue Regeneration 2011 Jan;169-192
  • Biodegradable polyphosphazene scaffolds for tissue engineering
    Nukavarapu SP, Kumbar SG, Laurencin CT Polyphosphazenes for Biomedical Applications 2009 Jan;119-138
  • Electrospun polymeric nanofiber scaffolds for tissue regeneration
    Nukavarapu SP, Kumbar SG, Merrell JG, Laurencin CT Nanotechnology and Tissue Engineering: The Scaffold 2008 Jan;199-219
  • Nanostructures for Tissue Engineering/Regenerative Medicine
    Nukavarapu SP, Kumbar SG, Nair LS, Laurencin CT Biomedical Nanostructures 2007 Jan;371-401

Book Sections

  • Nanostructures for regenerative medicine
    Nukuvarapu SP, Kumbar SG, Nair LS, Laurencin CT Biomedical Nanostructures 2007 Jan;261-287

Conference Papers

  • Fabrication and in vitro evaluation of novel polyphosphazene-nano hydroxyapatite microsphere scaffolds for bone tissue engineering
    Nukavarapu SP, Kumbar SG, Krogman N, Nair LS, Allcock HR, Laurencin CT 2008 Jan;



Title or AbstractTypeSponsor/EventDate/YearLocation
Tissue Engineered Matrices for Large Area Bone RegenerationPosterGordon Research Conference on Musculoskeletal Biology & Bioengineering2012Andover, NH
Microtomy of Reinforced Polymer ScaffoldsPosterMicroscopy Society of America Meeting2012
Development and Evaluation of Optimized Scaffolds Pre-seeded with Effective Progenitor Combination for Vascularized Bone RegenerationTalkOrthopaedic Research Society Annual Meeting2012
Fabrication and Evaluation of a Novel Scaffold System with High-Density Cell Seeding for Bone Regeneration: An Investigation of Cell Density Enhanced Osteogenic ExpressionPosterOrthopaedic Research Society Annual Meetings2012
Comparative Analysis of Endothelial Progenitor Cells Isolated from Peripheral Blood and Bone Marrow for Enhanced Vascularization in Bone Tissue Engineering ApplicationsPosterTissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society2011
Fully Osteoconductive and Mechanically Compatible Scaffolds for Effective Bone RegenerationPosterOrthopaedic Research Society Annual Meeting2011
Polymer-Hydrogel Hybrid Scaffolds: An Effective Graft System for Bone Tissue EngineeringTalkIEEE EMBC 2011 Annual Meeting2011Boston, MA
Carbon Nanotubes composite scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering: Mechanical and In Vivo InvestigationPosterBiomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting2011Hartford, CT
Two Pronged Approach for Engineering Vascularized BonePosterGordon Research Conference on Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering2011Holderness, NH
Design and Characterization of Fully Osteoconductive Scaffolds for Homogeneous and Enhanced Bone RegenerationTalkSociety for Biomaterials Annual Meeting2011
Osteogenic and Mechanically Compatible Hybrid Grafts for in situ Bone RegenerationPosterTissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society2010
Biodegradable Polymer-Magnesium Composite scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering: Effect of Magnesium on Osteoblast Proliferation, Maturation and MineralizationTalkSociety for Biomaterials Meeting2010
Characterization of Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Polymer Scaffold for Bone Tissue EngineeringPosterMicroscopy Society of America Meeting2010
In Vivo Bone Formation Using Chitosan/PLAGA Based Scaffolds in A Rabbit Ulnar Non-Union Defect ModelTalkOrthopaedic Research Society Meeting 2010
Scaffold Based Bone Tissue Engineering: Advances and Challenges, Biomedical EngineeringTalkSUNY Downstate2010Brooklyn, NY
Novel Nanostructured Scaffolds as Therapeutic Replacement Options for Rotator Cuff DiseaseTalkAmerican Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting2009
Novel water dispersible carbon nanotube composite scaffolds for bone tissue engineeringPosterTissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society2008
Infection resistant polyphosphazene-PLGA blend electrospun nanofiber matrices for wound healing applicationsPosterAmerican Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting2008
Fabrication and In-Vitro Evaluation of Novel Bone Regeneration Scaffolds Based on Polyphosphazene-Nano Hydroxyapatite CompositesPosterOrthopedic Research Society Meeting2008
Biodegradable Materials for Tissue Engineering ApplicationsTalkMaterials Research Center, Indian Institute of Science2008Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Novel Biodegradable Polyphosphazene-Nanohydroxyapatite Microsphere Scaffolds for Bone Tissue EngineeringPosterSociety for Biomaterials Meeting2007
Nanobased Fiber Matrices for Wound Repair: Optimization for Human Skin Fibroblast GrowthTalkSociety for Biomaterials Meeting2007
Biodegradable Poly[(ethyl alanato)(phenylphenoxy)phosphazene] - Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) Blends : Miscibility and Osteocompatibility EvaluationsTalkSociety for Biomaterials Meeting2007