Welcome to the Kuhn Biomaterials Lab at the University of Connecticut Health Center (UConn Health) and School of Engineering. Our laboratory works at the interface of materials science and medicine. We use engineering techniques to investigate bone regeneration using growth factors, stem cells and biomaterial scaffolds. We also study nanoparticle delivery of chemotherapy using calcium phosphate-based biomaterials that may one day be used to minimize painful and debilitating side effects of anti-cancer therapies.
Dr. Kuhn’s research spans fundamental studies to translational research. She has an expertise in drug delivery and conducting in vitro and in vivo studies that she gained while working in industry and at UConn Health. The Kuhn Lab’s mission is to use biomaterial technologies to develop better treatments for damaged or diseased tissue, particularly in the elderly.
Dr. Kuhn is a tenured Associate Professor in the Reconstructive Sciences Department, School of Dental Medicine. She is also core faculty in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Connecticut-Storrs. She received her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at Duke University and worked at General Dynamics in San Diego, CA before completing her MS and PhD in Materials Engineering at the University of California Santa Barbara. Dr. Kuhn held postdoctoral positions at Case Western University and Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital, conducting biomineralization studies and orthopaedic research. She joined the faculty at UConn Health after co-founding and selling a start-up company in Boston, MA that developed bone graft substitutes.
The Connecticut Technology Council recognized Dr. Kuhn’s entrepreneurial efforts with the Women of Innovation award in 2009. Her cutting edge research in orthopaedic biomaterials and drug delivery systems has been supported by federal (NIH), state (Connecticut) and private funding sources (e.g. Komen Foundation, Coulter Foundation). She is currently funded by the NIH National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) for her work in growth factor releasing biomaterials for bone regeneration in the elderly.
Dr. Kuhn’s publications span several scientific areas and reflect her range of interests and specialities including:
- bone regeneration,
- physical and chemical characterization of bone mineral,
- anti-cancer drug delivery,
- calcium phosphate nanoparticles,
- mechanics of materials,
- immunological adjuvants,
- cell culture plate coatings for stem cell expansion,
- biomaterials for guided differentiation of pluripotent stem cells.
She serves on the editorial boards of several biomaterials, tissue engineering and stem cell journals and reviews manuscripts for many different scientific journals. She is a regular grants reviewer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and has served for many years as a reviewer for private, state-based and European funding agencies.
An active member of the Society for Biomaterials (SFB) since 1997, Dr. Kuhn has a long record of service to the Society. She has been very active in the programmatic activity of the Society For Biomaterials by serving as the 2002 Annual Meeting Program Chair; Treasurer and Chair of the Orthopaedic SIG (1999, 2001); Vice-Chair and Chair of the Drug Delivery SIG (2005, 2006, 2007); and she organized several symposia (in 2005, 2006, 2010, 2012, and 2013), a workshop on regulatory pathways (2009). She has reviewed abstracts nearly every year and has moderated many sessions. Dr. Kuhn was the SFB Book Reviewer for the Biomaterials Forum (the Society’s new magazine) for 9 years (2002-2011). In 2011 she became the Executive Editor of the Biomaterials Forum. She has experience with the governance of the Society through her service as a member of the Educational and Professional Development Committee (2003), the Membership Committee (2005), the Awards Committee (2007 and 2009), and the SFB Council (2011-present).
Medical product standards are a critical component of the regulatory approval pathway and Dr. Kuhn has been directly involved in writing new medical product standards through the American Society of Testing and Materials International (ASTM). Standards accelerate and positively impact healthcare because standards are used by the Food and Drug Administration to facilitate regulatory decisions. For her distinguished service and exceptional contributions to medical product standards writing, Dr. Kuhn been recognized by ASTM with the organization’s top three awards, including, in 2014, the Award of Merit with an accompanying honorary title of Fellow.