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Dr Khoon Lim image 2020Research Associate Professor | Group Leader
Light Activated Biomaterials (LAB) Group
Rutherford Discovery Fellow | Sir Charles Hercus Fellow

BE Chem Eng (Hons1, UNSW), ME Biomed Eng (UNSW), PhD Biomed Eng (UNSW)


Tel +64 3 378 6011

Background and research interests

Associate Professor Khoon Lim is a biomedical engineer with specialization in polymer chemistry. His research focus is on adopting a class of polymers known as hydrogels as tissue engineering matrices for a variety of applications.

His research technology platform involves photo-polymerizable hydrogel bioinks for 3D bioprinting of functional tissues and also delivery of bioactive molecules to promote tissue regeneration. He has been awarded a total of >$4.5M research grant funding ($3.5M as PI).

His research has also generated one full utility patent now filed in Canada, China, New Zealand, Australia, America, Europe, South Korea, where he's the lead inventor. He is also involved in a number of collaborative projects involving national and international collaborators (Germany, Netherlands, Australia, China and Scotland).

His research projects include:

  • Developing new bioinks for 3D Bioprinting of functional tissues
  • Hydrogels for smart delivery of growth factors to promote bone
  • Engineering 3D cancer models for high-throughput drug screening
  • Delivery of brain derived growth factor for improved post-stroke recovery
  • Engineering silk as tissue engineering matrices.


  • Executive Board Member, Te Titoki Mataora (MedTech Translator Research Accelerator Programme)
  • Affiliate Investigator, Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Diversity

Professional affiliations

  • Council member – New Zealand Association of Scientists
  • Vice President – Australasian Society for Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering (ASBTE)
  • Editorial Board member: Biomedical Physics & Engineering Express (IOP Science)
  • Editorial Board member: Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine
  • Associate Editor: Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
  • Guest Editor: Biofabrication, Acta Biomaterialia, Advanced Healthcare Materials
  • Web and Membership sub-committee member – International Society for Biofabrication

Awards and distinctions

  • 2022 – Jean Leray Award – European Society for Biomaterials
  • 2021 – Emerging Investigator Award – Australasian Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering
  • 2021 – Leadership Award – University of Otago Christchurch
  • 2020 – Early Career Award for Distinction in Research – University of Otago
  • 2018 – Young Investigator Award – International Society for Biofabrication
  • 2017 – Outstanding Reviewer Award – IOP Publishing (Biomedical Physics & Engineering Express)
  • 2017 – Best Early Career Researcher Oral Presentation – 25th Australasian Society of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Conference
  • 2015 – Nominated for best PhD thesis award (UNSW Malcolm Chaikin Prize)
  • 2013 – First Place (Chemical Processes and Devices) – IEEE Technologies of the Future – Competition and Exhibition
  • 2012 – Dean's Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research, Runner up (Major Research Area – Health) – University of New South Wales
  • 2009 – Australian Postgraduate Award
  • 2009 – University of New South Wales – Engineering Research Award

Student supervision

PhD Candidate Gretel Major
Supervisors Professor Tim Woodfield, Associate Professor Khoon Lim
Topic Engineering next generation fat grafts for improved clinical outcomes

PhD Candidate Axel Norberg
Supervisors Professor Tim Woodfield, Professor Gary Hooper, Associate Professor Khoon Lim, Dr Gabriella Lindberg
Topic Oxygen control in 3D-bioprinted cartilage constructs

PhD Candidate Christina Gee
Supervisors Proessor Warwick Duncan, Associate Professor Dawn Coates, Professor Neil Waddell, Associate Professor Khoon Lim
Topic Bovine-derived lactoferrin in a degradable PVA-tyramine hydrogel for oral bone regeneration in a tooth socket model

PhD Candidate Ellison Aldrich
Supervisors Professor Tim Woodfield, Associate Professor Khoon Lim, Professor Wayne McIlwraith
Topic Development and in vivo Evaluation of Advanced 3D Bioassembled Allogeneic Stem Cell Constructs for Cartilage Repair

PhD Candidate Bram Soliman
Supervisors Associate Professor Khoon Lim, Dr Gabriella Lindberg and Professor Tim Woodfield
Topic Spatial and Temporal Control over Tissue-specific Hydrogel Platforms for Osteochondral Tissue Engineering and Biofabrication

PhD Candidate Jessika Wise
Supervisors Dr Elisabeth Phillips, Associate Professor Tim Woodfield, Associate Professor Khoon Lim and Dr Margaret Currie
Topic 3D breast tumour models for drug discover

Masters Candidate Dr Jack Parker
Supervisors Associate Professor Khoon Lim, Professor Tim Woodfield, Professor Gary Hooper
Topic Using hypochlorous acid in orthopaedic applications

Completed students

PhD candidates

Dr Gabriella Brown
Supervisors Professor Tim Woodfield, Professor Gary Hooper and Dr Khoon Lim
Topic Strategies for advanced and rapid cartilage tissue maturation using micro-environmental control.
Graduated 2017

Dr Naveen Mekhileri
Supervisors Professor Tim Woodfield, Professor Gary Hooper, Dr Kenny Chitcholtan and Dr Khoon Lim
Topic Integration and automation of a microtissue based system and its application in biofabrication
Graduated 2017

Dr Jun Li
Supervisors Professor Tim Woodfield, Dr Khoon Lim and Professor Gary Hooper
Topic Optimising the cell-implant interface of 3D printed titanium scaffolds
Graduated 2020

Dr Pau Atienza Roca
Supervisors Professor Tim Woodfield, Dr Yogambha Ramaswamy, Dr Lyn Wise
Topic Growth Factor Delivery System for Bone Regeneration
Graduated 2020

Dr Cesar Alcala Orozco
Supervisors Professor Tim Woodfield, Dr Isha Mutreja, Dr Khoon Lim and Professor Gary Hooper
Topic 3D printing of functional nano-composite scaffolds for bone regeneration
Graduated 2020

Dr Barbara Klotz (University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Supervisors Associate Professor Debby Gawlitta, Professor Jos Malda, Professor Antoine Rosenberg and Dr Khoon Lim
Topic Engineering gelatin-based biomatrices for pre-vascularisation of bone analogues
Graduated 2020

Dr Kenzie Baer
Supervisors Professor Tim Woodfield, Associate Professor Khoon Lim and Professor Gary Hooper
Topic Quantitative Spectral (MARS) CT Imaging of Cartilage and Bone Health
Graduated 2021

Masters' interns

  • Emilcar Contreras Perez (2020, Utrecht University, The Netherlands)
  • Michele Vis (2019, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands)
  • Laura Veenendaal (2019, University of Twente, The Netherlands)
  • Inew Wesseinbacher (2018, University of Applied Sciences FH Campus Wien, Austria)
  • Jonas Anten (2017, Utrecht University, The Netherlands)
  • Bram Soliman (2016, Utrecht University, The Netherlands)

Summer students

  • Samuel Tomkins (2021, Growth factor delivery for avascular necrosis, sponsored by Health Research Council of New Zealand)
  • Chris Smith (2021, Biofabrication of hernia patch, sponsored by Canterbury Medical Research Foundation)
  • Max Higham (2021, Isolation and characterisation of adipose-derived stem cells, sponsored by University of Otago)
  • Nipa Patel (2021, Development of adhesive hydrogels, sponsored by Fisher and Paykel Healthcare)
  • Anthony Yee-Goh (2020, Exploring cytotoxicity of neutral hypochlorous acid, sponsored by Canterbury Orthopaedic Services)
  • Charlotte Cahill (2020, Hydrogels as skin adhesives, sponsored by Fisher and Paykel Healthcare)
  • Annabelle Greenwood (2017, Engineering physiologically relevant breast cancer tumor models, sponsored by Breast Cancer Foundation NZ)
  • Jack Parker (2016, Tranexamic acid – finding the balance between functionality and chondrotoxicity in a clinical setting, sponsored by Canterbury Orthopaedic Services)


Abdelmoneim, D., Coates, D., Porter, G., Schmidlin, P., Li, K. C., Botter, S., Lim, K., & Duncan, W. (2024). In vitro and in vivo investigation of antibacterial silver nanoparticles functionalized bone grafting substitutes. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.37757 Journal - Research Article

Veenendaal, L., Liu, V. Y., Lacey, C., Lim, K. S., Hooper, G. J., Woodfield, T. B. F., & Lindberg, G. C. J. (2024). Donor ethnicity, sex, and age impact chondrogenic re-differentiation capacity: A multi-demographic study of human articular chondrocytes in vitro. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/03036758.2024.2340481 Journal - Research Article

Norberg, A. E., Bakirci, E., Lim, K. S., Dalton, P. D., Woodfield, T. B. F., & Lindberg, G. C. J. (2024). Bioassembly of hemoglobin-loaded photopolymerizable spheroids alleviates hypoxia-induced cell death. Biofabrication, 16(2), 025026. doi: 10.1088/1758-5090/ad2a7d Journal - Research Article

Major, G., Ahn, M., C, W.-W., Santos, M., Wise, J., Phillips, E., … Woodfield, T., & Lim, K. S. (2024). Programming temporal stiffness cues within extracellular matrix hydrogels for modelling cancer niches. Materials Today Bio, 25, 101004. doi: 10.1016/j.mtbio.2024.101004 Journal - Research Article

Karimi, F., Farbehi, N., Ziaee, F., Lau, K., Monfared, M., Kordanovski, M., … Lim, K. S., & Rnjak-Kovacina, J. (2024). Photocrosslinked silk fibroin microgel scaffolds for biomedical applications. Advanced Functional Materials, 2313354. doi: 10.1002/adfm.202313354 Journal - Research Article

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