Juan M. Taboas, PhD




589 Salk Hall
3501 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Assistant Professor

Department of Oral Biology
School of Dental Medicine
University of Pittsburgh


Dr. Juan Taboas, PhD, is a biomedical scientist with a broad background in bioengineering and expertise in cellular mechanobiology, tissue engineering, and bioinstrumentation design. He received a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Miami, an MS in engineering science from Stanford University, an MS in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan, and a PhD in biomechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. For his graduate studies, he worked on the mechanical etiology of craniofacial syndromes, adult stem cell-based skeletal regeneration, micro-computed tomography analysis, and solid free form fabrication of tissue engineering scaffolds. He pursued postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST), working with hydrogel photo-patterning and microfluidic fabrication techniques. Subsequently, he trained at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin diseases (NIAMS), studying cartilage development and arthritic disease progression, particularly the interaction of chondrocytes and endothelial cells in the maintenance of cartilage homeostasis, and developing bioreactors for tissue culture and gene therapy based interventions. Dr. Taboas moved to Pittsburgh in 2009, accepting the position of research assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine, at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Taboas is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Oral Biology (School of Dental Medicine) and the McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Bioengineering (Swanson School of Engineering). His laboratory, The Cellular Microenvironment Engineering Lab, is located in the School of Dental Medicine's Center for Craniofacial Regeneration. The lab seeks to create skeletal and craniofacial tissue regeneration therapies through study of normal tissue development and degenerative disease progression in engineered cellular microenvironment models. Work is underway to create microstructured growth plate-like cartilage to treat growth plate injury, skeletal dysplasia and complex bone injuries resulting from osteosarcoma resection or traumatic injury. The laboratory's projects manipulate differentiated cell and stem cell niches with mechano-chemical perturbation methods that employ photo-patterned hydrogel scaffolds, custom microfluidic bioreactors, and cell micro-patterning. Outcome measures include real-time imaging of cellular signaling and endpoint molecular and biochemical assays. During his postdoctoral and faculty appointments, Dr. Taboas has established a track record of multi-disciplinary research, collaboration, and training, including mentoring of bioengineering graduate students and orthopaedic residents.

Academic Appointments

11/1/2011 - present   Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh
07/2/2011 - present   Assistant Professor, Department of Oral Biology, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
05/1/2011 - present   Assistant Professor, McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh


Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

Norian JM, Owen CM, Taboas JM, Korecki C, Tuan R, Malik M, Catherino WM, Segars JH. Characterization of Tissue Biomechanics and Mechanical Signaling in Uterine Leiomyoma. Matrix Biology. 2012 Jan 10;31(1):57-65.


Dunkers JP, Lee HJ, Matos MA, Pakstis LM, Taboas JM, Hudson SD, Cicerone MT. Effect of surface modification on protein retention and cell proliferation under strain. Acta biomaterialia. 2011 Jul;7(7):2902-9. PMID:21515419.


Wang D, Taboas JM, Tuan RS. PTHrP overexpression partially inhibits a mechanical strain-induced arthritic phenotype in chondrocytes. Osteoarthritis and cartilage / OARS, Osteoarthritis Research Society. 2011 Feb;19(2):213-21. PMID:21087676. PMCID:PMC3031753.


Saito E, Kang H, Taboas JM, Diggs A, Flanagan CL, Hollister SJ. Experimental and computational characterization of designed and fabricated 50:50 PLGA porous scaffolds for human trabecular bone applications. Journal of materials science. Materials in medicine. 2010 Aug;21(8):2371-83. PMID:20524047.


Gabay O, Sanchez C, Taboas JM. . Revue du rhumatisme (Ed. francaise : 1993). 2010 Jul 1;77(4):319-322. PMID:21057647. PMCID:PMC2967788.


Gabay O, Sanchez C, Taboas JM. Update in cartilage bio-engineering. Joint, bone, spine : revue du rhumatisme. 2010 Jul;77(4):283-6. PMID:20478735.


Korecki CL, Taboas JM, Tuan RS, Iatridis JC. Notochordal cell conditioned medium stimulates mesenchymal stem cell differentiation toward a young nucleus pulposus phenotype. Stem cell research & therapy. 2010;1(2):18. PMID:20565707. PMCID:PMC2905094.


Lozito TP, Kuo CK, Taboas JM, Tuan RS. Human mesenchymal stem cells express vascular cell phenotypes upon interaction with endothelial cell matrix. Journal of cellular biochemistry. 2009 Jul 1;107(4):714-22. PMID:19415687.


Lozito TP, Taboas JM, Kuo CK, Tuan RS. Mesenchymal stem cell modification of endothelial matrix regulates their vascular differentiation. Journal of cellular biochemistry. 2009 Jul 1;107(4):706-13. PMID:19415686.


Schek RM, Taboas JM, Hollister SJ, Krebsbach PH. Tissue engineering osteochondral implants for temporomandibular joint repair. Orthodontics & craniofacial research. 2005 Nov;8(4):313-9. PMID:16238612.