Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering

Christian Puttlitz


Office: Engineering A101C
Phone: 970-491-0956

Dr. Christian M. Puttlitz

Department Head and Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Director, Orthopaedic Bioengineering Research Laboratory

Professor, Department of Clinical Sciences

Professor, School of Advanced Materials Discovery

Professor, School of Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Christian Puttlitz is the mechanical engineering department head at Colorado State University (CSU). He is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Clinical Sciences, School of Advanced Materials Discovery, and School of Biomedical Engineering. He also serves as director of the Orthopaedic Bioengineering Research Laboratory. In these roles, Dr. Puttlitz leads large personnel programs of over 70 researchers, staff and faculty, and manages multimillion dollar research and department budgets.

Dr. Puttlitz joined CSU’s mechanical engineering department in 2005. Since then, his achievements include helping to establish M.S. and Ph.D. programs in biomedical engineering, transfer pathways with Colorado community colleges, and a mechanical engineering bachelor’s degree partnership with Adams State University. He leads innovations in graduate and undergraduate mechanical engineering curricula, including decreasing undergraduate class sizes to a max of 85 students.

Dr. Puttlitz has a B.S. in materials science and engineering mechanics from Michigan State University, an M.S. in bioengineering from Clemson University, and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Iowa. He did his post-doc work at the University of California, San Francisco in their Orthopaedic Bioengineering Laboratory.

Dr. Puttlitz’ research interests are focused on using experimental and computational techniques to investigate orthopaedic conditions and their treatments. Examples of his current research include fracture healing prediction using direct electromagnetic coupling, 3D printing for fibrocartilage tissue regeneration (intervertebral disc and temporomandibular joint), and cell-free tissue engineering (exosomes). He’s made key contributions to advancing our understanding of the mechanobiology of orthopaedic soft tissues as well as the time-dependent behavior of these soft tissues. Dr. Puttlitz holds 5 patents and has over 120 peer-reviewed journal publications with more than 7,400 citations. He is regularly invited to give lectures and seminars at institutions around the world.

Dr. Puttlitz’ awards include Editor’s Choice for one of the ten highest impact papers in The Journal of Biomechanical Engineering in 2014 and 2019, Distinguished Visiting Research Scholar at the University of British Columbia, Monfort Professor at Colorado State University, Editor’s Choice for one of the ten highest impact papers in Anesthesiology in 2009, and a Whitecloud Basic Science Award for Advanced Spine Techniques.

He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Additional professional affiliations include the Orthopaedic Research Society, Cervical Spine Research Society, American Society of Biomechanics, International Society of Biomechanics, International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery, and the North American Spine Society.


  • Ph.D. 1999, University of Iowa – Biomedical Engineering
  • M.S. 1993, Clemson University – Bioengineering
  • B.S. 1992, Michigan State University – Materials Science and Engineering Mechanics


Research Interests

  • Orthopaedic Biomechanics
  • Experimental techniques, animal models and computation techniques to investigate orthopaedic conditions and their treatments
  • Current research includes:
    • 3D printing for fibrocartilage regeneration (intervertebral disc and temporomandibular joint)
    • Prediction of fracture healing
    • Mechanobiology of orthopaedic soft tissues
    • Cell-free tissue engineering (exosomes)

Honors and Awards

  • 2019 – Interdisciplinary Scholarship Award, Colorado State University
  • 2019 – Editor’s Choice: one of the 10 highest impact papers in Journal of Biomechanical Engineering
  • 2017 – Kosada Best of Meeting in Clinical Research, International Anesthesiology Research Society
  • 2014 – Editor’s Choice: one of the 9 highest impact papers in Journal of Biomechanical Engineering
  • 2012 – Distinguishing Visiting Research Scholar, University of British Columbia
  • 2011 – Monfort Professor, Colorado State University
  • 2010 – Whitecloud Basic Science Award, International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques
  • 2010 – Editor’s Choice: one of the 10 highest impact papers in Anesthesiology in 2009
  • 2009 – Outstanding Abstract Award, American Association of Tissue Banks
  • 2008 – Abell Outstanding Early-Career Faculty Award, Colorado State University
  • 2008 – Bloomberg Memorial Award for Outstanding Research, Veterinary Orthopaedic Society
  • 2007 – Elastikon Equine Research Award, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation
  • 2005 – Best Basic Science Award, Inman-Abbott Society, San Francisco
  • 2004 – Finalist, Basic Science Award at the Cervical Spine Research Society
  • 2003 – Finalist, Basic Science Award at the Cervical Spine Research Society
  • 2001 – Best Poster Award at the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine
  • 2000 – Best Paper Award, North American Spine Society Meeting