Morehouse College

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Division Faculty
  • Chemistry Department Chair
  • Walter E. Massey Professor of Physical Sciences
Dr. Juana Mendenhall is currently the Walter E. Massey Professor of Physical Sciences at Morehouse College and president and founder of TheraViscTM, LLC, a company thatspecializes in developing viscosupplementinjectable gels to help with knee injuries, and the TEDx licensee for TEDx Morehouse College.

Dr. Mendenhall’s ground-breaking medical technology isone of the first medical technologies to show real potential in healing osteoarthritis. As a result, Dr. Mendenhall recently filed a patent on her innovative hydrogels.

Morehouse College houses Dr. Mendenhall’s research lab, known as SMART Therapeutic Biomaterials Research Lab, which is charged with creating pivotal solutions using tissue engineering strategies that are geared to treat osteoarthritis. Currently, the lab focuses on the 3D printing of smart therapeutic biomaterials as injectable hydrogels for tissue engineering and as bio-inks for cellular therapies. This work is funded by National Science Foundation, DOE, and American Society of Cell Biologists (ASCB), which provides the opportunity for Dr. Mendenhall to work with collaborators at Washington State University, University of San Antonio, and Cornell University.

Her work has been featured on Atlanta CBS 46 and at the Platform conference designed to promote diversity and entrepreneurship for new technologies in healthcare.

A true scientific educator and researcher, one mission of her company, TheraVisc, is to foster minority training and economic job growth in the metro Atlanta area by developing technical training and skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to minority students.

Dr. Mendenhall is known for her commitment to exposing underrepresented minorities to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and the health sciences (HS). Her mantra is to set a tangible example of leadership for minorities to inspire their interest in STEM and encourage them to pursue degrees and careers in STEM. Under her tutelage, Morehouse students have won numerous national and regional conference awards for their work in the Mendenhall research lab. During her tenure at Morehouse, she has served as the chair of the faculty research committee, a faculty development fellow, mentored graduate students and served on dissertation research committees, in addition to mentoring post doctoral fellows via the FIRST (Fellowships in Research and Teaching) from Emory University.

Dr. Mendenhall received her Bachelor in Science degree from North Carolina A&T State University. After graduating from NC A&T, she worked in the polymer industrial field until she decided to pursue her doctorate in polymer chemistry at Clark Atlanta University where she completed her program in 2006. This graduate experience led to her receiving numerous awards in the field of polymer chemistry from organizations such as the American Chemical Society(ACS) and the National Science Foundation(NSF). In recognition of her of graduate work, Dr. Mendenhall received a Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship to work at Cornell University. Following this fellowship, she was accepted into Emory University’s Fellowships in Research and Science Teaching (FIRST) fellowship. The FIRST fellowship teaches scientist how to become better science teachers while doing research.

Dr. Mendenhall has received several awards throughout her career from organizations such as the American Chemical Society, National Science Foundation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, and the American Society of Cell Biology. She serves as a reviewer for several scientific journals, and guest editor of the Bioengineering Journal. She also serves on the board of non-profit companies such as the Black Bayou and the Essential Theater Company. She has given numerous research talks domestically and internationally on her smart biomaterials research and published many articles in high impact peer-reviewed journals. Her TEDx talk on the Future of Knee Repair is already changing the narrative for treating patients with knee problems, such as steoarthritis.



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Publications & Patents

Tunable Thermo-Responsive Poy(N-vinylcaprolactam) Cellulose Nanofibers: Synthesis: Characterization, and Fabrication

Injectable Biocompatible Co-Polymers and Methods of making and using the same


  • Nanoparticle Synthesis
  • Nanoscience
  • Self-Assembled Monolayers
  • Nanomaterials
  • Nanomaterials Synthesis
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Cartilage Tissue Engineering
  • Electrospinning
    Materials Characterization
  • Atomic Force Microscopy

See Also

featured content

A new way to treat worn knee cartilage; surgery optional

Dr. Juana Mendenhall, an associate professor of chemistry at Morehouse College, has invented a non-surgical way to repair worn knee cartilage. Juan leads Morehouse College’s MART Therapeutic Biomaterials Research Lab, which is charged with creating solutions to treat osteoarthritis. The National Science Foundation recently funded the lab’s work on the 3D printing of smart therapeutic biomaterials as injectable hydrogels for tissue engineering and as bio-inks for cellular therapies.