Joseph W. Freeman

Joseph Freeman

Professor, Graduate Program Director

Biomedical Engineering

Office Hours: By appointment
Website: Musculoskeletal Tissue Regeneration Laboratory

Joseph W. Freeman, Ph. D.  earned his B.S.E in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University his Ph. D. in Biomedical Engineering from Rutgers University and The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. There, in the laboratory of Dr. Frederick H. Silver, he studied type I collagen mineralization and its effects on elastic and viscoelastic properties through in vitro studies and molecular modeling. Dr. Freeman also studied tendon development, the structure and mechanics of type I collagen, the effect of strain on type I collagen mineralization, and skin mechanical properties. 

Following his doctoral work, Dr. Freeman went to the University of Virginia as a Research Associate in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery under Dr. Cato T. Laurencin. At UVA, Dr. Freeman worked on the use of novel biomaterials in bone regeneration, the development of new scaffolds for ligament repair, the use of hydrogels for ligament repair, and the design and construction of a braiding machine for ligament graft construction.

As a professor at Virginia Tech, Dr. Freeman's research interests lie in the development of new biomaterials for tissue engineering and the construction of novel, functional scaffolds for the repair of musculoskeletal tissues.

At Rutgers University, Dr. Freeman is developing new implantable scaffolds for the regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues, using molecular modeling to investigate collagen structure and function, and developing tumor engineering models.

Courses Taught

  • Fall 2011:  Instructor, 14:125:208 - Introduction to Biomechanics
  • Fall 2010:  Instructor, BMES 5014 - Quantitative Physiology
  • Fall 2009:  Instructor, BMES 5984 - Fundamentals of Tissue Function, Structure, and Replacement
  • Spring 2008: Instructor, BMES 5984 - Fundamentals of Tissue Function, Structure, and Replacement
  • Fall 2007: Course Coordinator, BMES 5004 - Mammalian Physiology
  • Spring 2007: Instructor, BMES 5984 - Fundamentals of Tissue Function, Structure, and Replacement
  • Fall 2006: Course Coordinator, BMES 5004 - Mammalian Physiology


Ph.D, Biomedical Engineering, Rutgers University and The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, 2003
B.S.E., Chemical Engineering, Princeton University


  • Ford Foundation Fellow
  • NIH Training Program Fellow
  • Invited Speaker at Materials Research Society (MRS) Meeting
  • Featured in the Rutgers Biomedical Engineering Brochure
  • Virginia Tech ABD Fellow
  • Johnson & Johnson Graduate Fellow
  • NIH Interdisciplinary Biotechnology Ph.D. Training Program Fellow
  • New Jersey Center-Whitaker for Biomaterials Fellow

Research Interests

The Musculoskeletal Tissue Regeneration (MoTR) Laboratory primarily focuses on the repair and regeneration of tissue, mainly musculoskeletal tissue, through the use of tissue engineering techniques. We also investigate mechanisms of tissue damage and healing, cancer development, and molecular modeling of structural proteins.

Selected Publications


1. McKeon-Fischer, KD, Browe, DP, Olabisi, RM,Freeman, JW. (2015) Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) Nanoparticle and Poly(ε-capolactone) Electrospun Scaffold Characterization for Skeletal Muscle Regeneration. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A. In review.
2. Ekwueme EC, Choi BS, Yu CF, Rao R, Mohuiddin M, Freeman JW. (2015) Sub-failure stretch injury response in tendon matrices.Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. In review.
3. Ekwueme EC, Crispim JF, Ghebes CA, Saris DBF, Fernandes HAM, Freeman JW. (2015) Cross-talk between human tenocytes and bone marrow stromal cells potentiates extracellular matrix remodelling in vitro. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry. In review.
4. YM Empson, EC Ekwueme, JK Hong, DM Paynter, AL Kwansa, C Brown, AM Pekkanen, M Roman, NM Rylander, GP Brolinson, JW Freeman, “High elastic modulus nanoparticles: a novel tool for subfailure connective tissue matrix damage”. Translational Research. 2014;164(3):244-57.
5. T Andric, BL Taylor, KE Degen, AR. Whittington, JW Freeman, “Fabrication and Characterization of Three Dimensional Electrospun Cortical Bone Scaffolds”. Nanomaterials and the Environment, 2014; 2(1): ISSN 2299-1204.
6. KD McKeon-Fischer, JH Rossmeisl, AR Whittington, and JW Freeman, “In Vivo Skeletal Muscle Biocompatibility of Actuating, Polymeric, and Microfibrous Scaffolds”. Tissue Eng Part A. 2014;20(13-14):1961-70.
7. CF Buchanan , EE Voigt, CS Szot, JW Freeman, PP Vlachos, and MN Rylander, "Three-Dimensional Microfluidic Collagen Hydrogels for Investigating Flow-Mediated Tumor-Endothelial Signaling and Vascular Organization”. , 2014; 20(1): 64-75.
8. A Gupta, B Main, B Taylor, M Gupta, C Whitworth, C Cady, J Freeman, S El-Amin, “In-vitro Evaluation of Three Dimensional Single Walled Carbon Nanotube Composites for Bone Tissue Engineering”. Journal of Orthopaedic Research. 2014;102(11):4118-26.
9. KD McKeon-Fischer, AR Whittington, and JW Freeman, “The Effect of Crosslinking Time and Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes on Electroactive, Multi-Component Scaffolds for Skeletal Muscle Regeneration”. Journal of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, 2013, 3, 1-7.
10. BL Taylor, T Andric and JW Freeman, “Recent Advances in Bone Graft Technologies”. Recent Patents on Biomedical Engineering. 2013;6: 40-46.
11. CS Szot, CF Buchanan CF, JW Freeman, MN Rylander, “In vitro angiogenesis induced by tumor-endothelial cell co-culture in bilayered, collagen I hydrogel bioengineered tumors”.  Tissue Engineering, Part C. 2013; 19(11): 864-874.
12. KD McKeon-Fischer and JW Freeman, “Addition of Conductive Elements to Polymeric Scaffolds for Muscle Tissue Engineering”. Nanolife, 2012, 2 (3) 1230011-1 - 1230011-9.
13.  Z. Cui, L. Wright, R. Guzzo, JW Freeman, HM Drissi, LS Nair. “PDLA/PCL nanofiber-thermogelling chitosan gel composite scaffolds for osteochondral tissue regeneration in a rat model”. Journal of Bioactive Compatible Polymers, 2013, 28: 115-125.
14. LD Wright, KD McKeon-Fischer, Z Cui, LS Nair, JW Freeman. “PDLA/PLLA and PDLA/PCL nanofibers with a chitosan-based hydrogel in composite scaffolds for tissue engineered cartilage”.  Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, 2014, 8(12):946-954.
15.  CF Buchanan, SC Szot, T Wilson, S Akman, L Metheny-Barlow, J Robertson, JW Freeman, MN Rylander. “Cross-talk between endothelial and breast cancer cells regulates reciprocal expression of angiogenic factors in vitro” Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, 2012, 113 (4), 1142-1151.
16. T Andric, LD Wright, JW Freeman. “Fabrication and Characterization of Three Dimensional Electrospun Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering” Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, 2012, 100 (8), 2097-2105.
17. R Sopakayang, R De Vita, AL Kwansa, JW Freeman. “Elastic and Viscoelastic Properties of a Type I Collagen Fiber”, Journal of Theoretical Biology, 2012, 293, 197-205.
18. Z Guo, R De Vita, JG Barrett, JW Freeman. “Experimental Investigation of Mechanical Damage in Ligaments”, Journal of Biomechanics, Accepted (2011).
19. EC Ekwueme, AL Kwansa, K Sharif, SF El-Amin, JW Freeman. “Recent Advancements in Ligament Replacement”, Recent Patents in Biomedical Engineering, 2011, 4 (3), 196-204.
20. McKeon-Fischer KD, Flagg DH, Freeman JW. “Poly(acrylic acid)/Poly(vinyl alcohol) Compositions Coaxially Electrospun With Poly(ε-caprolactone) and Multi-walled Carbon Nanotubes to Create Nanoactuating Scaffolds”, Polymer, 2011, 52, 4736-43.
21. Walters VI, Kwansa AL, Freeman JW. “Design and analysis of braid-twist collagen scaffolds”.  Connective Tissue Research, 2012, 53 (3), 255-266.
22. Freeman JW, Woods MD, Cromer DA, Ekwueme EC, Andric T,  Atiemo EA, Bijoux CH, Laurencin CT. “Evaluation of a hydrogel–fiber composite for ACL tissue engineering”.  Journal of Biomechanics, 2011, 44 (4), 694-9.
23. Freeman JW, Empson YM, Ekwueme EC, Paynter DM, Brolinson PG. “Effect of prolotherapy on cellular proliferation and collagen deposition in MC3T3-E1 and patellar tendon fibroblast populations”, Translational Research, The Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine, 2011, 158, 132-39.
24. Szot CS, Buchanan CF, Freeman JW, Rylander MN, “3D in vitro bioengineered tumors based on collagen I hydrogels”, Biomaterials , 2011, 32 (31), 7905-7912.
25. Andric T, Sampson AC, Freeman JW. “Fabrication and Characterization of Electrospun Osteon Mimicking Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering”, Materials Science and Engineering-C, 2010, 31 (1), 2-8.
26. McKeon-Fischer KD, Flagg DH, and Freeman JW. “Coaxial Electrospun Poly(ε-caprolactone), Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes, and Polyacrylic acid/Polyvinyl alcohol Scaffold for Skeletal Muscle Tissue Engineering”. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, 2011, 99 (3), 493-499.