Helen H. Lu

Percy K. and Vida L.W. Hudson Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Senior Vice Dean of Faculty Affairs and Advancement

351 Engineering Terrace
Mail Code 8904

Tel(212) 854-4071
Fax(212) 854-8725

Research Interests

Interface Tissue Engineering and Engineering Complex Tissues, Multi-Functional and Inductive Biomaterial Design for Guiding Stem Cell Differentiation, Biomimetic Models to Elucidate Cell-Material Interactions, Mechanism of Biomineralization, Orthopaedic and Dental Biomaterials

Helen H. Lu’s research focuses on tissue interfaces, particularly how to reestablish the body’s natural synchrony between tissues, a hallmark of the musculoskeletal system and the nexus of human mobility. The body of fundamental knowledge she has uncovered regarding interfaces and interface scaffold design has provided blueprints for building organs-on-a-chip as well as total limb regeneration. Her group is also active in the design of composite biomaterials for orthopaedic and dental applications, with a particular interest in the mechanism of cell-matrix interactions and its application to multi-functional scaffold design. 

Lu is a leader in regenerative materials research and innovation for health and beyond health.  From sustainable fabrication of biomedical devices by establishing eco-manufacturing with benign chemicals for expediting FDA-approval, to harnessing the ability of cells to make materials, the Lu group and collaborators have developed a biomaterial platform informed by a green chemistry framework, a breakthrough that shows industries how to explore sustainable manufacturing to engineer regenerative materials.

At Columbia, Lu is the Percy K. and Vida L. W. Hudson Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Professor of Dental and Craniofacial Engineering (in Dental Medicine).  She is the Director of the Biomaterials and Interface Tissue Engineering Laboratory. She currently serves as the Senior Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and Advancement, as well as the Chair of Faculty Promotion and Tenure Committee at Columbia Engineering.  Prof. Lu has published over 100 original research articles and invited reviews in biomaterials and tissue engineering. The inventor and co-inventor of more than 30 patents and patent applications in biomaterials, her research has led to the formation of several start-ups for medical devices and sustainable textiles. Her many accolades include the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) and the Wallace Coulter Foundation Career Award. She is an elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), a Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering (FBSE) and more recently, a member of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). She was honored as a Provost Leadership Fellow and also named a Provost’s Senior Faculty Teaching Scholar at Columbia.  Prof. Lu serves on the editorial board of leading journals of the fields, including recently, Journal of Biomedical Material Research A, Journal of Orthopaedic Research, Regenerative Biomaterials, Regenerative Engineering, Tissue Engineering, eLife (review editor) and Science Advances (Associated Editor).  Lu received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania.


  • Postdoctoral fellow, Chemical Engineering, Tufts University
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Chemical Engineering, Drexel University


  • Percy K. and Vida L. W. Hudson Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, 2020-
  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, 2014-
  • Director, Biomaterials and Interface Tissue Engineering Laboratory, Columbia University, 2001-
  • SEAS Chair of Tenure & Promotions, Columbia University, 2020-
  • Chair of Graduate Studies, Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, 2010-15
  • Member, FF-SEAS Executive Committee, Columbia University, 2014–2015
  • Assistant Professor of Dental and Craniofacial Bioengineering, Columbia University, 2014–2015
  • Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, 2007–2013
  • Associate Professor of Dental and Craniofacial Bioengineering, Columbia University, 2007–2013
  • Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, 2001–2006


  • Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS)
  • Society for Biomaterials (SFB)
  • Tissue Engineering International and Regenerative Medicine Society (TERMIS)
  • Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)


  • Fellow, Biomaterials Science and Engineering (FBSE)
  • Provost Leadership Fellow
  • Janette and Armen Avanessians Diversity Award
  • Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)
  • Society for Biomaterials Young Investigator Award
  • Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Early Faculty Career Award in Translational Research
  • Faculty Research Fellowship (Provost diversity initiatives), Columbia University


  • Jiang J, Leong NL, Mung J, Hidaka C and Lu HH; “Interaction between zonal populations of articular chondrocytes suppresses chondrocyte mineralization and this process is mediated by PTHrP”, Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 16(1):70-82, 2008.
  • Spalazzi JP, Doty SB, Moffat KL, Levine WN and Lu HH; “Development of Controlled Matrix Heterogeneity on a Triphasic Scaffold for Orthopedic Interface Tissue Engineering”, Tissue Engineering, 12(12):3497-3508, 2006.
  • Moffat KL, Sun WA, Pena PE, Chahine NO, Doty SB, Ateshian GA, Hung CT, and Lu HH; “Characterization of the structure-function relationship at the ligament-to-bone interface”, Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences, 105(23): 7947-7952, 2008.
  • Lu HH, Vo JM, Lin J, Shin S, Cozin M, Tsay R and Landesberg R; “Controlled delivery of growth factors derived from platelet-rich plasma for bone formation”, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research A, 86A(4):1128-1136, 2008.
  • Moffat KL, Spalazzi JP, Doty SB, Levine WN and Lu HH; “Novel nanofiber based scaffold for rotator cuff repair and augmentation”, Tissue Engineering, 15(1):115-126, 2009. 
  • Khanarian NT, Haney NM, Burga RA and Lu HH; “A functional agarose-hydroxyapatite scaffold for osteochondral interface regeneration”, Biomaterials, 33:5247-5258, 2012.
  • Erisken C, Zhang X, Moffat KL, Levine WN and Lu HH; “Scaffold fiber diameter regulates human tendon fibroblast growth and differentiation”, Tissue Engineering, 19(3-4):519-528, 2013.
  • Subramony SD, Dargis BR, Castillo M, Azeloglu EU, Tracey MS, Su A and Lu HH; “The Guidance of stem cell differentiation by substrate alignment and mechanical stimulation”, Biomaterials, 34(8):1942-1953, 2013.
  • Lu HH and Thomopoulos S; “Functional attachment of soft tissue to bone: Development, Healing and Tissue Engineering”, Annual Review in Biomedical Engineering, 15:201-26, 2013.
  • Qu D, Mosher C, Boushell MK and Lu HH; “Engineering complex orthopaedic tissues via strategic biomimicry”, Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 43(3):697-717, 2015.
  • Lee NM, Erisken C, Iskratsch T., Sheetz M, Levine WN and Lu HH; “Polymeric fiber-based models of connective tissue repair and healing”, Biomaterials, 112:303-312, 2017.