Serafina Lopez Publishes Article in Connective Tissue Research

Serafina Lopez’s article, titled “The role of SLRPs and large aggregating proteoglycans in collagen fibrillogenesis, extracellular matrix assembly, and mechanical function of fibrocartilage,” was recently accepted by the journal Connective Tissue Research. This manuscript reviewed the important roles of proteoglycans of collagen fibrillogenesis, extracellular matrix assembly, and mechanical function in fibrocartilaginous tissues. This article explored the unique structure-function relationship of fibrocartilage and how understanding the functions of small leucine rich and large aggregating proteoglycans in developing and maintaining the fiber structure could inform future work in fibrocartilage replacement using tissue engineered constructs. This information will be used by researchers to better understand injuries to tissues like the meniscus and intervertebral disc and how to develop therapies for osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease.

Serafina Lopez is a 2nd year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering who joined the Bonassar Lab in 2019.  She earned her BS degree from the University of New Mexico and is currently a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.  Congratulations to Serafina on your paper!

Bonassar Lab Alumna Jenny Puetzer Wins NSF CAREER Award

Dr. Jenny Puetzer recently received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation for her proposal “Driving cells to produce strong, mature collagen fibers for post-injury healing.” Her work will investigate how the mechanical cues that occur during development further drive cells to create bigger and stronger collagen fibers.

Dr. Puetzer received her PhD from Cornell in 2014 followed by Whitaker Foundation fellowship to study with Dr. Molly Stevens at Imperial College, London.  Since 2017, she has been an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, where her laboratory focuses on mechanobiology and biochemical pathways that regulate the development and maturation of musculoskeletal tissues (

Congratulations, Jenny!

Alikhan Fidai selected as Graduate Resident Fellow

Congratulations to Alikhan Fidai for being selected to be a Graduate Resident Fellow at Alice Cook House! Alikhan will work with his fellow GRFs, house assistant dean, and house professor to create a vibrant and academically engaging living-learning community for Cornell undergraduates.  Alikhan is a first year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering.  His research in the Bonassar Lab focuses on the use of stem cells in the repair and regeneration of intervertebral discs.

Congrats to Alikhan on becoming the newest GRF at Cook House!

Jongkil Kim Publishes a Paper in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering

Congratulations to Jongkil and his co-authors on their accepted manuscript in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering titled “Combining TGF-β1 and Mechanical Anchoring to Enhance Collagen Fiber Formation and Alignment in Tissue-Engineered Menisci.” This study investigated collagen fiber formation and alignment in tissue-engineered menisci using TGF-β1 in combination with variations in media glucose concentrations and mechanical boundary conditions. The results point to the need for optimization of culture environments specifically geared toward enhancing collagen fiber formation and organization.


Check out the full article here:

Jongkil Kim Wins ORS Meniscus Section Podium Award at the ORS 2021 Annual Meeting

Jongkil Kim, a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering, recently won an ORS Meniscus Section Podium Award at the Orthopaedic Research Society 2021 Annual Meeting for his talk “Gradients in Media Recapitulate Native Collagen Fiber Organization Within Tissue Engineered Enthesis.” His work used a bioreactor to provide tissue-engineered entheses with biochemical and biomechanical stimuli to mimic native collagen fiber structure. He found that a combination of biochemical and biomechanical stimuli results in native tissue like collagen fiber structure and smoother local strain distribution within tissue-engineered enthesis.

Results from this study can be used to better optimize tissue-engineered construct culture conditions. Congratulations to Jongkil and his co-authors!

Professor Bonassar named Fellow of the Orthopaedic Research Society

Professor Bonassar was inducted into the 2021 Class of Fellows at the Annual Meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS).  ORS Fellows represent longstanding members of the ORS who have demonstrated exemplary service and leadership, substantial achievement, expert knowledge, and significant contributions to the ORS, its governance, and the field of musculoskeletal research.  Fellows are thought leaders and experts in their respective disciplines. Fellows also serve as role models in the ORS community and in the field of musculoskeletal research and exemplify the core values of the Society. The names of all of the Fellows of the Class of 2021 can be found at 

Congratulations to Professor Bonassar and all of the Fellows in the Class of 2021!

Steven Ayala Publishes a Paper in Journal of Orthopaedic Research

Congratulations to Steven and his co-authors on their accepted manuscript in JOR titled “Cartilage Articulation Exacerbates Chondrocyte Damage and Death After Impact Injury”. This study investigated what regions of the cartilage tissue are most damaged following injury and if prior injury leaves the cartilage predisposed to continued arthritic degeneration. These results are aimed at informing clinicians of the potential damage that may occur in patients as a result of  articulation of an injured joint.

Bonassar Lab Alum Andrea Ippolito Named to Biden Transition Team

Congratulations to Bonassar Lab alumna, Andrea Ippolito, on being named to President-Elect Joe Biden’s transition team for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Andrea earned both her BS and MEng degrees from Cornell, working on tissue engineering of human meniscus implants.  After graduating from Cornell, she worked at Boston Scientific, then earned an MS is science policy from MIT.  She went on to serve as a Presidential Innovation Fellow and as the Director of the VA Innovators Network at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Ms. Ippolito currently is a lecturer in Engineering Management and the S.C. Johnson College of Management at Cornell University, where she is teaching policy and entrepreneurship.


Congratulations, Andrea!