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Lawrence Bonassar

  • Lawrence Bonassar
  • Dept: Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Title: Professor
  • Address: 149 Weill Hall
  • Phone: 607 255-9381
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Dr. Bonassar joined Cornell University in 2003 after five years on the faculty of the Center for Tissue Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He completed postdoctoral fellowships in the Orthopaedic Research Laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital and in the Center for Biomedical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He currently serves on the editorial board of the journal Tissue Engineering.

Research Interests

Dr. Bonassar's research group focuses on the regeneration and analysis of musculoskeletal tissues, including bone and cartilage. The approach involves a multidisciplinary strategy using techniques in biomechanics, biomaterials, cell biology, and biochemistry. Applications of this technology include the repair of articular cartilage, intervertebral disc, trachea and craniofacial defects.

At the cellular level, this work focuses on understanding the interactions of chondrocytes, fibroblasts and stem cells with biomaterials. This includes grafting of cell adhesion peptides to polymers and characterizing the effects of these alterations on the way in which cells sense their environment. Of specific interest is the extent to which intrinsic mechanical properties and externally applied forces control chondrocyte matrix assembly.

This work feeds into studies of the generation of biological structures at the tissue level, where cell-biomaterials interactions include understanding the way in which materials processing techniques affect cell behavior. This has led to the development of techniques known as tissue injection molding and cell-mediated sintering, whereby living implants are formed under conditions that support cell viability. Extensions of this work are aimed at fabricating composite tissues with heterogeneous structures and anisotropic properties.

The third focus area of the group is understanding structure-property relationships in native and engineered tissues. This involves experimental correlation of tissue mechanical properties with biochemical composition as well as mathematical modeling of tissue assembly processes and structure-property relationships.

Service Interests

I coordinated an outreach program with St. Mark's School , a K-8 institution in Stratford, CT. Working with their principal and science teacher, I coordinated a visit from 4 PhD BME students to teach a lesson to 5th-8th graders about using microscopy and histology to understand the structure of mammalian and avian tissues and organs.


Associate Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Director Search Committee, Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Strategic Planning Committee, Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Faculty Search Committee (Structures), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Faculty Search Committee (Orthopaedic Surgery), Department of Clinical Science, College of Veterinary Medicine

Ad hoc Member, Study Section SBSR-10 MOSS, National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, NIH (2010)

Ad hoc Reviewer, AO Foundation, AO Exploratory Research Collaborative Program on Annulus Fibrosus Rupture (2010)

Member, Education Sub-Committee, Biomedical Engineering Society

Selected Publications

  • Cohen, D L., E. Malone, H. Lipson, Lawrence Bonassar. 2006. "Direct freeform fabrication of seeded alginate hydrogels in arbitrary geometries." Tissue Engineering 12 (5): 1325-1335.
  • Novakofksi, K. D., R. W. Williams, L. A. Fortier, H. O. Mohammed, W. R. Zipfel, Lawrence Bonassar. 2014. "Identification of cartilage injury using quantitative multiphoton microscopy." Osteoarthrtitis Cartilage 22: 355-362.
  • Silverberg, J L., S. Dillavou, Lawrence Bonassar, I Cohen. 2013. "Anatomic variation of depth-dependent mechanical properties in neonatal bovine articular cartilage." Journal of Orthopaedic Research 31 (5): 686-691.
  • Hung, B P., O M. Babalola, Lawrence Bonassar. 2013. "Quantitative Characterization of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Adhesion to the Articular Cartilage Surface." J Orthop Res 101 (12): 3592-3598.
  • Mason, B N., R M. Williams, Lawrence Bonassar, C A Reinhart-King. 2013. "Tuning 3D Collagen Matrix Stiffness Independently of Collagen Concentration Modulates Endothelial Cell Behavior." Acta Biomaterialia 9: 4635-4644.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Hansj√∂rg Wyss Research Focus Award (AO Spine International, World Forum for Spine Research) 2010
  • Health and Medicine Award (World Technology Network) 2013
  • Keynote Speaker (World Forum for Spine Research, Helsinki, Finland) 2012
  • Fellow (American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers, Class of 2009) 2009
  • Fiona Ip '78 and Donald Li '75 Excellence in Teaching Award (Cornell University, College of Engineering) 2009



  • BS (Biomedical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering), Johns Hopkins University, 1989
  • MS (Materials Science and Engineering), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1991
  • Ph D (Materials Science and Engineering), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1995