Lawrence Bonassar

Lawrence Bonassar

Daljit S. and Elaine Sarkaria Professor in Biomedical Engineering
Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering
Weill Hall, Room 149
Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


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.

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.

M.Eng. Design Team Spotlight: Meniscus repair with radiofrequency (RF) tissue welding

Dr. Bonassar has been working with M.Eng. Director and a student team, with an industry sponsor to develop a tissue fusion system that uses radiofrequency (RF) energy to repair partial tears of the meniscus. The goal is to provide a minimally invasive and highly effective RF-based treatment for torn meniscus by developing testing protocols and assessing the optimal parameters of RF to maximize the mechanical benefit and minimize cell damage to the meniscus. Learn more in this team video spotlight.

Bonassar Lab Ph.D. Student Spotlight: Serafina Lopez

Improving tissue-engineered menisci for replacing torn or damaged tissue

Research Interests

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.
  • Bordeleau, F., B N. Mason, E M. Lollis, M. Mazzola, M R. Zanotelli, S. Somasegar, J P. Califano, C. Montague, D J. LaValley, J. Huynh, N. Mencia-Trinchant, Y L. Negrón Abril, D C. Hassane, L J. Bonassar, J T. Butcher, R S. Weiss, C A Reinhart-King. 2017. "Matrix stiffening promotes a tumor vasculature phenotype." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114 (3): 201613855-201613855.
  • McCorry, M C., J L. Puetzer, L J Bonassar. 2016. "Characterization of mesenchymal stem cells and fibrochondrocytes in three-dimensional co-culture: analysis of cell shape, matrix production, and mechanical performance." Stem cell research & therapy 7 (1): 39.
  • McCorry, M C., L J Bonassar. 2016. "Fiber Development and Matrix Production in Tissue Engineered Menisci using Bovine Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Fibrochondrocytes." Connective tissue research.
  • Bonnevie, E D., M L. Delco, D. Galesso, C. Secchieri, L A. Fortier, L J Bonassar. 2016. "Sub-Critical Impact Inhibits: the Lubricating Mechanisms of Articular Cartilage." Journal of Biomechanics.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Fiona Ip Li '78 and Donald Li '75 Award (Cornell University, College of Engineering) 2020
  • Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Fellow 2019
  • Best Oral Presentation, "Annular Repair Using High-density Collagen Gel with Riboflavin Crosslinkage: Preliminary Results in an in vivo Ovine Model" (World Forum for Spine Research) 2016
  • DiscoverE/National Engineering Week New Face of Engineering, Darvin Griffin 2016
  • Research Excellence Award (Cornell University, College of Engineering) 2015
  • Robert '55 and Vanne '57 Cowie Excellence in Teaching Award (Cornell University, College of Engineering) 2014
  • World Technology Award in Health and Medicine 2013
  • Hansjörg Wyss Research Focus Award (AO Spine International, World Forum for Spine Research) 2010
  • Fiona Ip Li ’78 and Donald Li ’75 Excellence in Teaching Award (Cornell University, College of Engineering) 2009
  • American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers Fellow 2009
  • Zellman Warhaft Contribution to Diversity Award (Cornell University, College of Engineering) 2007
  • Ralph S. Watts '72 Excellence in Teaching Award (Cornell University, College of Engineering) 2006

Service Interests

  • Board of Directors, International Society for Biofabrication
  • Board of Director, Orthopaedic Research Society Conference
  • Chairman, Bioprinting: 3D Printing of Live Cells, Atlanta, GA
  • 2013 Editorial Board, International Journal of Biomaterials
  • Editorial Board, 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing
  • Editorial Board, Biofabrication.


  • B.S. (Biomedical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering), Johns Hopkins University, 1989
  • M.S. (Materials Science and Engineering), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1991
  • Ph.D. (Materials Science and Engineering), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1995

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