headshot of Juan Taboas

Juan Taboas

Associate Professor
Bioengineering Department


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 biomedical 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 for 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.


(2010 - 2011) Career Education and Enhancement for Health Care Research Diversity Program trainee, career development award for promising future health care investigators in the schools of the health sciences at the University of Pittsburgh..

(2008) American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Young Investigator Travel Award, 12/11-14/2008, New Orleans, LA.

(2006) 13th Annual Fellows Award for Research Excellence, in recognition for the outstanding scientific research performed by intramural postdoctoral fellows NIH-wide.

(2006) Student Paper Award, 24th Scientific Conference of the Society for Physical Regulation in Biology and Medicine.

(2004) The National Academy of Sciences Joint NIH & NIST Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, national competition based on a research proposal and academic record, sponsored by federal laboratories, 5 awards per year.

(2001) Guidant Corporation Funding Award, for outstanding student in the University of Michigan Bioengineering, Biophysics, and Applied Physics Departments.

(2001) UM Center for Organogenesis NIH Training Grant Fellowship, 4 awards per year based on research proposal.

(2000) Distinguished Student Achievement Award, Department of Biomedical Engineering.

(1997) Student paper finalist, ASME Winter 97 Meeting.

(1997 - 2001) Rackham Merit Fellowship, Rackham School of Graduate Studies, University of Michigan.

(1993 - 1995) Fellowship Award: Stanford University Department of Mechanical Engineering.

(1993) Alan H. Stenning Award, for outstanding academic achievement as top student in graduating class, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Miami.

(1992) Norman G. Einspruch Scholar Award for highest GPA among entering seniors in the School of Engineering, University of Miami.

(1989 - 1993) Singer Full Tuition Scholarship, University of Miami.

BS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Miami, 1989 - 1993

MS, Engineering Science, Major Field in Biomechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 1993 - 1995

MS, Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, 1995 - 2004

PhD, Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, 1995 - 2004

MS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, 1995 - 2003

Chin, A.R., Taboas, J.M., & Almarza, A.J. (2021). Regenerative Potential of Mandibular Condyle Cartilage and Bone Cells Compared to Costal Cartilage Cells When Seeded in Novel Gelatin Based Hydrogels. ANNALS OF BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING, 49(5), 1353-1363.Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi: 10.1007/s10439-020-02674-y.

Bezamat, M., Cunha, E.J., Modesto, A.M., Vieira, A.R., & Taboas, J.M. (2020). Aquaporin locus (12q13.12) might contribute to susceptibility of temporomandibular joint disorder associated with periodontitis. PLOS ONE, 15(3), e0229245.Public Library of Science (PLoS). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0229245.

Chen, J., Chin, A., Almarza, A.J., & Taboas, J.M. (2020). Hydrogel to guide chondrogenesis versus osteogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells for fabrication of cartilaginous tissues. BIOMEDICAL MATERIALS, 15(4), 045006.IOP Publishing. doi: 10.1088/1748-605X/ab401f.

Zaky, S.H., AlQahtani, Q., Chen, J., Patil, A., Taboas, J., Beniash, E., Jr, R.H., & Sfeir, C. (2020). Effect of the Periapical "Inflammatory Plug" on Dental Pulp Regeneration: A Histologic In Vivo Study. JOURNAL OF ENDODONTICS, 46(1), 51-56.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.joen.2019.10.006.

Chin, A.R., Gao, J., Wang, Y., Taboas, J.M., & Almarza, A.J. (2018). Regenerative Potential of Various Soft Polymeric Scaffolds in the Temporomandibular Joint Condyle. JOURNAL OF ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGERY, 76(9), 2019-2026.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2018.02.012.

Boyette, L.B., Macedo, C., Hadi, K., Elinoff, B.D., Walters, J.T., Ramaswamil, B., Chalasani, G., Taboas, J.M., Lakkis, F.G., & Metes, D.M. (2017). Phenotype, function, and differentiation potential of human monocyte subsets. PLOS ONE, 12(4), e0176460.Public Library of Science (PLoS). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176460.

Jean-Alphonse, F.G., Wehbi, V.L., Chen, J., Noda, M., Taboas, J.M., Xiao, K., & Vilardaga, J.P. (2017). β2-adrenergic receptor control of endosomal PTH receptor signaling via Gβγ. NATURE CHEMICAL BIOLOGY, 13(3), 259-+.Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi: 10.1038/NCHEMBIO.2267.

Donius, A.E., Bougoin, S.V., & Taboas, J.M. (2016). FRET Imaging in Three-dimensional Hydrogels. JOVE-JOURNAL OF VISUALIZED EXPERIMENTS, 2016(114).MyJove Corporation. doi: 10.3791/54135.

Alexander, P.G., Song, Y., Taboas, J.M., Chen, F.H., Melvin, G.M., Manner, P.A., & Tuan, R.S. (2013). Development of a Spring-Loaded Impact Device to Deliver Injurious Mechanical Impacts to the Articular Cartilage Surface. CARTILAGE, 4(1), 52-62.SAGE Publications. doi: 10.1177/1947603512455195.

Norian, J.M., Owen, C.M., Taboas, J., Korecki, C., Tuan, R., Malik, M., Catherino, W.H., & Segars, J.H. (2012). Characterization of tissue biomechanics and mechanical signaling in uterine leiomyoma. MATRIX BIOLOGY, 31(1), 57-65.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.matbio.2011.09.001.

Song, G.J., Leslie, K.L., Barrick, S., Bougoin, S., Taboas, J.M., & Bisello, A. (2012). EBP50 promotes focal adhesion turnover and vascular smooth muscle cells migration. JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR CARDIOLOGY, 53(6), 809-819.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2012.08.022.

Dunkers, J.P., Lee, H.J., Matos, M.A., Pakstis, L.M., Taboas, J.M., Hudson, S.D., & Cicerone, M.T. (2011). Effect of surface modification on protein retention and cell proliferation under strain. ACTA BIOMATERIALIA, 7(7), 2902-2909.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2011.04.005.

Wang, D., Taboas, J.M., & Tuan, R.S. (2011). PTHrP overexpression partially inhibits a mechanical strain-induced arthritic phenotype in chondrocytes. OSTEOARTHRITIS AND CARTILAGE, 19(2), 213-221.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2010.11.003.

Gabay, O., Sanchez, C., & Taboas, J.M. (2010). Update in cartilage bio-engineering. JOINT BONE SPINE, 77(4), 283-286.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.jbspin.2010.02.029.

Gabay, O., Sanchez, C., & Taboas, J.M. (2010). [Not Available]. Rev Rhum Ed Fr, 77(4), 319-322.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.rhum.2010.03.015.

Gabay, O., Sanchez, C., & Taboas, J.M. (2010). Update in cartilage bio-engineering (vol 77, pg 283, 2010). JOINT BONE SPINE, 77(6), 630.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.jbspin.2010.09.017.

Korecki, C.L., Taboas, J.M., Tuan, R.S., & Iatridis, J.C. (2010). Notochordal cell conditioned medium stimulates mesenchymal stem cell differentiation toward a young nucleus pulposus phenotype. STEM CELL RESEARCH & THERAPY, 1(2), 18.Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi: 10.1186/scrt18.

Saito, E., Kang, H., Taboas, J.M., Diggs, A., Flanagan, C.L., & Hollister, S.J. (2010). 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, 21(8), 2371-2383.Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi: 10.1007/s10856-010-4091-8.

Saito, E., Kang, H., Taboas, J.M., Diggs, A., Flanagan, C.L., & Hollister, S.J. (2010). 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, 21(8), 2371-2383.

Chiang, M.Y.M., Cheng, T., Pakstis, L., Taboas, J., & Dunkers, J. (2009). Finite element analysis and empirical solution for flexible substrates undergoing large equibiaxial strains. In Proceedings of the 2008 Summer Bioengineering Conference. Proceedings of the ASME Summer Bioengineering Conference, SBC2008, (pp. 191-192).Marco Island, FL.

Lozito, T.P., Kuo, C.K., Taboas, J.M., & Tuan, R.S. (2009). Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Express Vascular Cell Phenotypes Upon Interaction With Endothelial Cell Matrix. JOURNAL OF CELLULAR BIOCHEMISTRY, 107(4), 714-722.Wiley. doi: 10.1002/jcb.22167.

Lozito, T.P., Taboas, J.M., Kuo, C.K., & Tuan, R.S. (2009). Mesenchymal Stem Cell Modification of Endothelial Matrix Regulates Their Vascular Differentiation. JOURNAL OF CELLULAR BIOCHEMISTRY, 107(4), 706-713.Wiley. doi: 10.1002/jcb.22166.

Taboas, J.M., Connor, S.K., & Tuan, R.S. (2009). Constitutive Bcl-2 over-expression triggers an anabolic response in chondrocytes, with partial abatement of IL-1β catabolic effects. In Proceedings of the 35th Annual Northeast Bioengineering Conference. 2009 IEEE 35th Annual Northeast Bioengineering Conference.IEEE.Boston, MA. doi: 10.1109/nebc.2009.4967657.

Lozito, T.P., Kuo, C.K., Taboas, J.M., & Tuan, R.S. (2006). Endothelial cell matrix influences MSC stem cell differentiation. In Proceeds of the American Society for Matrix Biology, Biennial Meeting. MATRIX BIOLOGY, 25, (p. S24).Elsevier BV.Nashville,TN. doi: 10.1016/j.matbio.2006.08.067.

Muller, M., Li, W.J., Taboas, J., Chen, F., & Tuan, R.S. (2006). Influence of cyclic hydrostatic pressure on multiline-age differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells. In Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society, Vol. 31. CYTOTHERAPY, 8, (p. 58).Chicago, IL.

Taboas, J.M., & Tuan, R.S. (2006). Chondrocytes and Bone Marrow Stromal Cells Exhibit Differential Responses to Mechanical Stimulation and Cytokine Challenge. 3, (pp. 189-191).

Hollister, S.J., Lin, C.Y., Saito, E., Lin, C.Y., Schek, R.D., Taboas, J.M., Williams, J.M., Partee, B., Flanagan, C.L., Diggs, A., Wilke, E.N., Van Lenthe, G.H., Müller, R., Wirtz, T., Das, S., Feinberg, S.E., & Krebsbach, P.H. (2005). Engineering craniofacial scaffolds. Orthod Craniofac Res, 8(3), 162-173.Wiley. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-6343.2005.00329.x.

Schek, R.M., Taboas, J.M., Hollister, S.J., & Krebsbach, P.H. (2005). Tissue engineering osteochondral implants for temporomandibular joint repair. Orthod Craniofac Res, 8(4), 313-319.Wiley. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-6343.2005.00354.x.

Hollister, S.J., Lin, C.Y., Lin, C.Y., Schek, R.D., Taboas, J.M., Flanagan, C.L., Saito, E., Williams, J.M., Das, S., Wirtz, T., & Krebsbach, P.H. (2004). Design and fabrication of scaffolds for anatomic bone reconstruction. Med J Malaysia, 59 Suppl B, 131-132.

Hollister, S.J., Taboas, J.M., Schek, R.M., Lin, C.Y., & Chu, T.M. (2004). Design and fabrication of bone tissue engineering scaffolds. In Bone Tissue Engineering. (pp. 167-192).CRC Press (Taylor and Francis).

Schek, R.M., Taboas, J.M., Segvich, S.J., Hollister, S.J., & Krebsbach, P.H. (2004). Engineered osteochondral grafts using biphasic composite solid free-form fabricated scaffolds. TISSUE ENGINEERING, 10(9-10), 1376-1385.Mary Ann Liebert Inc. doi: 10.1089/ten.2004.10.1376.

Tarnowski, C.P., Ignelzi, M.A., Wang, W., Taboas, J.M., Goldstein, S.A., & Morris, M.D. (2004). Earliest mineral and matrix changes in force-induced musculoskeletal disease as revealed by Raman microspectroscopic imaging. JOURNAL OF BONE AND MINERAL RESEARCH, 19(1), 64-71.Oxford University Press (OUP). doi: 10.1359/JBMR.0301201.

Schneider, A., Taboas, J.M., McCauley, L.K., & Krebsbach, P.H. (2003). Skeletal homeostasis in tissue-engineered bone. JOURNAL OF ORTHOPAEDIC RESEARCH, 21(5), 859-864.Wiley. doi: 10.1016/S0736-0266(03)00042-1.

Taboas, J.M., Maddox, R.D., Krebsbach, P.H., & Hollister, S.J. (2003). Indirect solid free form fabrication of local and global porous, biomimetic and composite 3D polymer-ceramic scaffolds. BIOMATERIALS, 24(1), 181-194.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/S0142-9612(02)00276-4.

Hollister, S.J., Maddox, R.D., & Taboas, J.M. (2002). Optimal design and fabrication of scaffolds to mimic tissue properties and satisfy biological constraints. BIOMATERIALS, 23(20), 4095-4103.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/S0142-9612(02)00148-5.

Wang, W., Taboas, J.M., Dreier, J.L., Goldstein, S.A., & Ignelzi, M.A. (2001). Conditioned media derived from mechanically-loaded mouse sutures regulates osteoblastic cell differentiation. JOURNAL OF BONE AND MINERAL RESEARCH, 16, (p. S371).

Taboas, J.M., Goldstein, S.A., Buchman, S.R., Brennan, W.A., Mockaitis, R.P., Wang, W., & Ignelzi, M.A. (1999). Cyclic uniaxial compression influences morphogenesis of loaded and co-cultured cranial sutures in vitro. In Proceedings of the Bioengineering Conference. American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Bioengineering Division (Publication) BED, 42, (pp. 763-764).ASME Publication, Bioengineering Division.Big Sky, MT.

Taboas, J.M., & Lerner, A.L. (1997). Biological gradient regulated predictive model of long bone growth. In Bioengineering Division, Vol 36. American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Bioengineering Division (Publication) BED, 36, (pp. 13-14).Dallas, TX.

Chen, J., Donius, A.E., & Taboas, J.M. (2019). Composite hydrogels and their mechanisms to inhibit matrix mineralization by hypertrophic chondrocytes. In Transactions of the Annual Meeting of the Society for Biomaterials and the Annual International Biomaterials Symposium, 40, (p. 8).

Chen, J., Donius, A.E., & Taboas, J.M. (2016). Hydrogel Composition Regulates Chondrogenesis by Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Endochondral Ossification in Engineered Cartilaginous Interfacial Tissues. In TISSUE ENGINEERING PART A, 22, (p. S131).

Dunkers, J.P., Lee, H.J., Matos, M.A., Pakstis, L.M., Taboas, J.M., Hudson, S.D., & Cicerone, M.T. (2009). Differences in PDMS modification affect laminin composition and smooth muscle cell response. In ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, 238.

Taboas, J.M., & Tuan, R.S. (2006). Chondrocytes and bone marrow staromal cells exhibit differential responses to mechanical stimulation and cytokine challenge. 25th Scientific Conference of the Society for Physical Regulation in Biology and Medicine.Honolulu, HI.

Morris, M.D., Stewart, S., Tarnowski, C.P., Shea, D., Franceschi, R., Wang, D., Ignelzi, Jr., M.A., Wang, W., Keller, E.T., Lin, D.L., Goldstein, S.A., & Taboas, J.M. (2002). <title>Early mineralization of normal and pathologic calvaria as revealed by Raman spectroscopy</title>. In SPIE Proceedings, 4614, (pp. 28-39).SPIE. doi: 10.1117/12.460796.

Dreier, J.L., Hamilton, D.K., Taboas, J.M., Kang, G.S., Goldstein, S.A., & Ignelzi, M.A. (2000). Hydrostatic force induces premature closure of the mouse coronal suture. In JOURNAL OF DENTAL RESEARCH, 79, (p. 591).

Young, A.T., Taboas, J.M., Dreier, J.L., Goldstein, S.A., & Ignelzi, M.A. (2000). Compressive loading of mouse sutures leads to increased osteoid production. In JOURNAL OF DENTAL RESEARCH, 79, (p. 523).

Research interests

extracellular matrix
growth plate
gtp-binding proteins
mesenchymal stem cells
organ culture techniques
signal transduction
stress, mechanical
tissue engineering
tissue scaffolds