Dave Puleo

Affiliated Society: Society for Biomaterials
Country of Residence: USA
Current Position: Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies; Professor of Biomedical Engineering

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David A. Puleo received B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  He went to the University of Kentucky as a junior faculty member to establish a track in biomaterials in the Center for Biomedical Engineering.  He also holds appointments in the Center for Oral Health Research in the College of Dentistry, the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in the College of Medicine, and the Institute for Sustainable Manufacturing in the College of Engineering.  Dr. Puleo rose through the ranks to be professor and director of the Center.  Among other administrative accomplishments, Dr. Puleo led transfer of Center from the Graduate School to the College of Engineering, reorganization of the unit to become the Department of Biomedical Engineering, physical relocation of the department to newly renovated space, and establishment of an undergraduate minor.  He currently serves as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies for the College of Engineering.  Dr. Puleo’s research interests focus on applying understanding of tissue physiology and pathophysiology to develop biomaterials for controlling cellular responses and, ultimately, for enhancing tissue regeneration.  He teaches courses ranging from introductory biomaterials to advanced offerings on events at the tissue-implant interface, and Dr. Puleo has been voted Outstanding Teacher in Biomedical Engineering three times.  He is coauthor of An Introduction to Tissue-Biomaterial Interactions, one of the first textbooks on the subject matter written for undergraduates and for graduate students transitioning into the field.  Other honors and awards received include the Bourses de stage de recherche scientifique (Programme québécois de bourses d’excellence, Ministère de l’Éducation, Gouvernement du Québec), nomination to the original Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering study section at the NIH, selection as Associate Editor for the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B (Applied Biomaterials), and the inaugural College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research.  Dr. Puleo has been elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the Biomedical Engineering Society, International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering.

Areas of research interest: Healing of damaged tissues involves a complex cascade of events in which a variety of biomolecules and cell types participate. When this system becomes dysfunctional, opportunistic and undesirable tissue responses result. An example is the formation of scar tissue through a repair response rather than the native tissue via regeneration. The overall goal of our research is to develop biomaterial-based strategies for enhancing tissue regeneration by applying understanding of tissue physiology and pathophysiology. Knowledge of the mechanisms by which desirable events occur and of those leading to undesirable consequences enables approaches to stimulate preferred and inhibit unwanted cell activities. Although several projects have focused on musculoskeletal tissues (e.g., bone, muscle, and growth plate cartilage), the underlying philosophy of rational design of biomaterials for controlling cellular responses and, ultimately, for enhancing regeneration is applicable to essentially any tissue.

Research keywords:
Orthopaedic Biomaterials,Polymers,Protein and Cells at Interfaces,Tissue Engineering,Dental/Craniofacial Materials,Drug Delivery