Kristen Labazzo

Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, Undergraduate Director

Biomedical Engineering

Office Hours: By appointment
Website: Kristen Labazzo

I am a biomedical engineer with an executive MBA and 15 years of lab experience in cutting-edge science including biomaterials, stem cell biology and tissue engineering/regeneration. My current role as an educator involves developing new industrial courses, a co-op program, and also leading projects which focus on the patient perspective. As biomedical engineers, our work is centered on helping people and I am creating opportunities for students to apply their knowledge to projects which help the disabled. I have been an invited speaker for schools ranging from Elementary to Ivy League universities and I am passionate about innovation, STEM initiatives and improving biomedical pedagogy via engagement and experiential learning. My goal is to continue to educate people on the importance of science, research and innovation, to continue developing patient-centric research opportunities, and further recruitment of young students, especially women, into STEM careers.


MBA, Technology Management, NJIT, 2014

Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering, Rutgers University, 2004

B.S., Chemistry, Caldwell University, 1997


Busch Biomedical Grant August 2019

A Novel Approach Utilizing a Biomaterial Scaffold for the Prevention of Trauma-Induced Heterotopic Ossification

Student Professor of the Year 2018-19, Engineering Governing Council (2019)

Avantor Foundation Grant to support patient-centric senior design (2019)

Byrne Seminar Research Award for seminar entitled “Engineering Immersion: Utilizing the Patient Perspective and Environment in Biomedical Research” (2018)

Selected by two students in the “Seeking Success Leadership Program” at Rutgers for Faculty Appreciation (2018).

Research Interests

Patient-Centric Senior Design

I mentor students who are engaged in research aimed to develop assistive technologies to help the disabled. Our current collaborators are the Matheny Medical and Educational Center, and Operation Rebound.

A Novel Approach Utilizing a Biomaterial Scaffold for the Prevention of Trauma-Induced Heterotopic Ossification

Collaborator; Dr. Joseph Freeman Heterotopic Ossification (HO) is the formation of bone in places where it is normally not found, such as in muscle and soft tissues, and is commonly seen in combat-related amputations and blast injuries. HO can have neurogenic and genetic causes, however traumatic HO is the most common and on the rise due to the prevalence of modern warfare. HO can cause several issues including pain and limited range of motion, however for amputees, the most significant effect is poor prosthesis fit. Current treatments include administering anti-inflammatory drugs or low-dose radiation, however these don’t always work, resulting in painful surgical excision of the bone. Therefore, an unmet need exists for a novel treatment strategy to mitigate HO. We propose a completely new approach; to take common tissue engineering practices intended to induce bone growth, and engineer the inverse of these techniques to create a scaffold that will appropriately heal, but then stifle, abnormal bone growth. We will select biomaterials based on degradation rates and acidic byproducts to prevent mineralization, and employ fabrication techniques such as 3-D printing, salt-leaching and electrospinning to create a unique scaffold with small pores to discourage bone growth. We will test the scaffold’s ability to inhibit bone cell growth in vitro, and will then test the chosen scaffold in an appropriate animal model of bone growth. These studies can lead to a completely new approach for a rapidly growing problem in our military, but can be extended to others who have suffered traumatic limb loss.

Selected Publications

1. Karasiewicz-Mendez, A. Francki, J. Turner, E. Law, J. Paredes, K. Labazzo, H. Rana, W. Hofggartner, R. Hariri. “Angiogenesis using stimulated placental stem cells,” Patent application # 20180298328 (2018).

2. Abbot, J. Edinger, A. Francki, R. Hariri, V. Jankovic, A. Kaplunovsky, K. Labazzo, E. Law, N. Padliya, J. Paredes, J. Wang. “Angiogenesis using placental stem cells” patent # 9,254,302 (2016).

3. Abbot, J. Edinger, A. Francki, A. Kaplunovsky, V. Jankovic, K. Labazzo, E. Law, N. Padliya, J. Paredes, J. Wang. “Amnion Derived Adherent Cells” Patent # 8,367,409 (2013) and Patent # 9,198,938 (2015).

4. Francki, K. Labazzo, S. He, E. Baum, S. Abbot, U. Herzberg, W. Hofgartner, R. Hariri. “Angiogenic properties of human placenta-derived adherent cells and efficacy in hindlimb ischemia,” Journal of Vascular Surgery 2015; Jun 5

5. Liu, A. Morschauser, X. Zhang, X. Lu, J. Gleason, S. He, H.J. Chen, V. Jankovic, Q. Ye, K. Labazzo, U. Herzberg, V.R. Albert, S.E Abbot, B. Liang, R. Hariri. “Human placenta-derived adherent cells induce tolerogenic immune responses,” Clinical and Translational Immunology 2014; 3: e14

6. Abramson, M. Guelakis, M. Heidaran, K. Labazzo, S. Yaccoby. “Methods and Compositions for Treatment of Bone Defects with Placental Cell Populations,” Patent # 8,728,805 (2014).

7. Edinger, R. Hariri, J. Wang, Q.Ye, K. Labazzo, M. Pereira, S. Abramson. “Methods and Compositions for Treatment of Bone Defects with Placental Cell Populations,” Patent # 8,562,972 (2013).

8. “Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Using Amnion Derived Adherent Cells,” Patent application 20120201787 (2012).

9. Abbot, J. Edinger, A. Francki, V. Jankovic, A. Kaplunovsky, K. Labazzo, E. Law, B. Liang. “Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Using Placental Stem Cells,” Patent application 20120156230 (2012).

10. Sung, H.J., Sakala Labazzo, K.M., Bolikal, D. Weiner, M.J., Zimnisky, R. Kohn, J. “Angiogenic Competency of Biodegradable Hydrogels Fabricated from Polyethylene Glycol-Crosslinked Tyrosine-Derived Polycarbonates,” European Cells and Materials 2008; 15: 77-87.

11. Bhatia, C. Lugo, M. Pereira, H. Rana, S. Abramson, K. Labazzo, Q. Liu, W. Hofgartner, R. Hariri. “Placenta Derived Adherent Cell (PDAC) Interaction and Response on Extra-Cellular Matrix (ECM) Isolated from Human Placenta,” Wounds 2008; 20: 29-36.

12. S. Labazzo and J. Kohn. “Hydrazide Compounds with Angiogenic Activity,” Patent # 7,368,169 (2008).

13. Bhatia, M. Pereira, H. Rana, B. Stout, C. Lewis, S. Abramson, K. Labazzo, C. Ray, Q. Liu, W. Hofgartner, R. Hariri. “The Mechanism of Cell Interaction and Response on Decellularized Human Amniotic Membrane: Implications in Wound Healing,” FEATURED ARTICLE Wounds 2007; 19: 207-217

14. Abramson, M. Bhatia, K. Labazzo, Q. Liu, W. Wu. “Human placental collagen compositions, processes for their preparation, methods of their use and kits comprising the compositions,” Patent application 20070020225 (2007).

15. M. Sakala Labazzo. “Hydrogels Fabricated from PEG-Crosslinked Tyrosine-Derived Polycarbonates and their Angiogenic Potential for Tissue Engineering”. PhD Dissertation, Rutgers University: 2004.