Biomaterials Day 2012
By Matt Goodhart, SFB student chapter President
The University of Memphis (UofM), in conjunction with the University of Tennessee
Health Science Center (UTHSC) and Vanderbilt University, hosted Biomaterials Day 2012
for the second year in a row. Biomaterials Day was a one-day symposium focusing on
the past, present, and future of biomaterials innovations and research from clinicians,
industry professionals, and students. This event was held at the FedEx Institute of
Technology on the University of Memphis campus and was sponsored by the Society for
Biomaterials, the FedEx Institute of Technology (FIT), UofM Student Event Allocations,
the UofM Herff College of Engineering and the UofM Biomedical Engineering department.
For this event, there were over 215 attendees, a major increase from the 175 last
The event hosted 12 different universities including The University of Memphis, The
University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Vanderbilt University, The University
of Tennessee – Knoxville, The University of Alabama, The University of Alabama – Birmingham,
Mississippi State University, Harding University, The University of Kentucky, Clemson
University, The University of Arkansas, and The University of Michigan. There were
representatives from numerous companies including Smith & Nephew Inc, Medtronic Inc,
Wright Medical Technology Inc, Dow Corning Corporation, Bionova Medical Inc, and Evonic
| Panelists from the Industrial Panel Discussion. Pictured left to right: Ann Burgess,
Dr. Kelly Emerton, Dr. Kevin Weaver, Dr. Scott Noel, and Jim Curtis.
Biomaterials Day 2012 started the day with a panel discussion from five industry professionals
from five biomedical companies. They spoke about their current biomaterial uses and
where they see the most pressing needs in biomaterials research. Topics ranged from
tissue engineering improvements to implant materials to more effective antibiotic
applications. Following the panel discussion, the attendees could choose between two
research sessions: drug delivery or nanotechnology in biomaterials. Students and faculty
presented current research in these respective areas.
The networking luncheon was great. Each table had at least one industry professional
and one clinician available to answer questions about careers and medical school.
Students were able to make many connections and gain answers to many of their burning
Our second panel session consisted of 5 clinicians/surgeons in orthopedics and cranial/maxillofacial
reconstruction. They spoke and answered questions about their most immediate biomaterial
needs. Their needs were very diverse, spanning needs for molding materials, better
tools, and as always, better ways to fight nasty infections. A second research session
followed in the areas of tissue engineering and scaffoldic drug delivery. The highlight
of the day started at 3:30 with our keynote address from Dr. Buddy Ratner from the
University of Washington – Seattle.
| Dr. Ratner receives a plaque commemorating his address to the conference. Pictured
left to right: Matt Goodhart (Current SFB student chapter President), Dr. Buddy Ratner,
Marvin Mecwan (Program Chair)
Dr. Ratner is a professor in the Department of Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering
at the University of Washington, the Michael L. & Myrna Darland Endowed Chair in Technology
Commercialization and the director of the University of Washington Engineered Biomaterials
Group. He is the past president of the Society for Biomaterials, the author of more
than 400 scholarly works, and the recipient of countless other honors and awards including
the 2011 Pierre Galletti Award from the American Institute of Medical and Biological
Engineering. We were very excited to have him come speak as he spoke about the past,
present, and future of biomaterials.
The day ended with a poster research session and catered closing reception. We awarded
winners for best oral research presentation, best graduate research poster presentation,
and best undergraduate research poster presentation to Christopher Nelson (Vanderbilt),
Jonathan Page (Vanderbilt), and Jason Brewer (University of Memphis). We look forward
to this event next year and hope to have an even larger turnout.