Dr. Thomas Kean has his PhD in Pharmacy and a Masters in Science in Pharmaceutical Analysis. In his post-doctoral training, he studied stem cell engineering: targeting mesenchymal cells (MSCs) to injured tissue using peptide- or antibody-directed approaches. Later he was involved in tissue engineering of human and rabbit cartilage sheets, muscle constructs, and controlling chondrocyte de-differentiation/ re-differentiation. He began his career as a staff scientist at the Benaroya Research Institute in Seattle, WA studying the effect of extracellular matrix on chondrocyte growth. He went on to become an instructor in the department of Orthopedic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas where he developed novel, high-throughput, methods for the assessment of cartilage growth and differentiation.

Dr. Kean joined the UCF College of Medicine in 2019. He will be involved in the Biionix™ Cluster throughout the year. His research will focus on automating cartilage organoid cultures to create a rapid, high-throughput, in vitro system for the optimization of cartilage tissue engineering and drug discovery. In conjunction with this foci, he will investigate peptide-targeting of hematopoietic stem cells to the bone marrow.

Dr. Kean has over ten years of teaching, mentoring, and research experience.  He has put in tireless hours mentoring research students at undergraduate, graduate and post-doc level. With experience in industry, he holds 2 patents in addition to his academic contributions through book chapters, reviews, and primary research literature. He has presented at numerous national and international conferences. He has been awarded the Travel Award at the TERMIS-AM Annual Conference and Exposition in Washington DC and first place for the New Investigator at the Midwest Connective Tissue Workshop in Chicago. His robust skills in grant preparation and review, ongoing research, and teaching experience will serve him well at COM.



** For a full list of publications see: Google Scholar: 

Peer Reviewed

  • Dennis JE, Whitney GA, Rai J, Fernandes RJ, Kean TJ. Physioxia Stimulates Extracellular Matrix Deposition and Increases Mechanical Properties of Human Chondrocyte-Derived Tissue-Engineered Cartilage. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. 2020;8(1281). doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2020.590743.
  • Dennis JE, Splawn T, Kean TJ. High-Throughput, Temporal and Dose Dependent, Effect of Vitamins and Minerals on Chondrogenesis. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology. 2020;8(92). DOI: 10.3389/fcell.2020.00092.
  • Kean TJ, Ge Z, Li Y, Chen R, Dennis JE, Transcriptome-Wide Analysis of Human Chondrocyte Expansion on Synoviocyte Matrix. 2019; 8 (2), 85
  • Mansour JM, Motavalli M, Dennis JE, Kean TJ, et al. Rapid detection of shear-induced damage in tissue engineered cartilage using ultrasound. (Accepted Tissue Engineering Part C: Methods) 2018
  • Dennis JE, Bernardi KG, Kean TJ, Liou NE, et al. Tissue engineering of a composite trachea construct using autologous rabbit chondrocytes. J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2018; 12:e1383-e91.
  • MacKay DL, Kean TJ, Bernardi KG, Haeberle HS, et al. Reduced bone loss in a murine model of postmenopausal osteoporosis lacking complement component 3. J Orthop Res. 2018; 36:118-28.
  • Whitney GA, Kean TJ, Fernandes RJ, Waldman S, et al. Thyroxine Increases Collagen Type II Expression and Accumulation in Scaffold-Free Tissue-Engineered Articular Cartilage. Tissue Eng Part A. 2018; 24:369-81.
  • Kean TJ, Mera H, Whitney GA, Awadallah A, Fernandes JR, Dennis JE, Disparate response of articular- and auricular-derived chondrocytes to oxygen tension. Connective Tissue Res, 57 (4), 319-333, 2016
  • Kean TJ, Dennis JE, Synoviocyte Derived-Extracellular Matrix Enhances Human Articular Chondrocyte Proliferation and Maintains Re-Differentiation Capacity at Both Low and Atmospheric Oxygen Tensions. PLoS One 10(9):e0138409, 2015.
  • Wilson HMP, Welikson RE, Luo J, Kean TJ, Cao B, Dennis JE, Allen MD, Can Cytoprotective Cobalt Protoporphyrin Protect Skeletal Muscle and Muscle-derived Stem Cells From Ischemic Injury? Clin Orthop Relat Res, 473(9): 2908–2919, 2015
  • Kean TJ, Whitney GA, Traeger G, Dennis JE, Fernandes RJ, Tissue Engineered, Scaffold-Free, Human Cartilage Sheets Positively Respond to Low Oxygen Tension Both Mechanically and Biochemically. University of Washington Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, 25-26,

Book Chapters

  • Kean TJ, Thanou M. Utility of chitosan for 3D printing and bioprinting. In: Sustainable Agriculture Reviews 35. Crini G., Lichtfouse E. (Eds.), Springer, Cham, pp 271-292, 2019.
  • Kean TJ, Thanou M. Toxicological properties of chitosan and derivatives for biopharmaceutical applications. In: Chitosan-Based Systems for Biopharmaceuticals: Delivery, Targeting and Polymer Therapeutics, Sarmento B and das Neves J (Eds.), John Wiley and Sons, pp. 451-461, 2012.
  • Kean T, Thanou M. Chitin and chitosan: sources, production and medical applications, In: Renewable Resources for Functional Polymers and Biomaterials, Williams PA (Ed.), The Royal Society of Chemistry, pp. 292-318, 2011.
  • Kean T, Thanou M. Chitin and chitosan – sources, production and medical applications. In: Desk Reference of Natural Polymers, their Sources, Chemistry and Applications, Williams PA and Arshady R (Eds.), Kentus Books, London, pp. 327-361, 2009.


Education & Specialties

  • B.Sc.(Hons), Biochemistry and Pharmacology, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
  • M.Sc., Pharmaceutical Analysis, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
  • PhD., Pharmacy, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK



  • Cartilage tissue engineering
  • Ligand-directed cell targeting


Research Interests

  • Musculoskeletal disease and treatment
  • Stem cell, primary cell and tissue culture; cartilage
  • Tissue engineering
  • Lab automation

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