Juana Mendenhall

Juana Mendenhall

Chair, Department of Chemistry, Morehouse College
Walter E. Massey Professor of Physical Sciences, Morehouse College
Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Purdue University

Email: jmenden@purdue.edu

Phone: 470-639-0469

Morehouse College
Department of Chemistry
830 Westview Dr. SW
Atlanta, GA 30314


  • BS, Chemistry, North Carolina A&T University, 1998
  • PhD, Chemistry, Clark Atlanta University, 2006


Dr. Juana Mendenhall is currently the Walter E. Massey Professor of Physical Sciences at Morehouse College, President and Founder of TheraViscTM, LLC, a company that specializes in developing viscosupplement injectable gels to help with knee injuries, and the TEDx licensee for TEDx Morehouse College. Her ground-breaking medical technology is one 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. 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. 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, her lab focuses on the 3D printing of smart therapeutic biomaterials as injectable hydrogels for tissue engineering and as bio-inks for cellular therapies. This laudable 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. As 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. Under her tutelage, Morehouse students have won numerous national and regional conference awards for their work in the Mendenhall research lab. 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. 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 Osteoarthritis!

Research Interests

  • Hydrogels, visco supplement injectable gels
  • Osteoarthritis treatment
  • Tissue engineering
  • 3D printing of smart therapeutic biomaterials
  • Bio-inks for cellular therapies.