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Herff Headlines February 2012 Features

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 year.
Biomaterials Day Panel
 Panelists from the Industrial Panel Discussion. Pictured left to right: Ann Burgess, Dr. Kelly Emerton, Dr. Kevin Weaver, Dr. Scott Noel, and Jim Curtis.
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 Degussa Corporation.

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 questions.

Dr. Ratner receives a plaque  
 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)
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 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.
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John A. Pafford

John A. Pafford (B.S.E.T. 1987) is the 2011 Outstanding Alumnus from the Herff College of Engineering. A co-founder of Spine Wave, Pafford has more than 30 years of experience in the orthopedic industry with 20 years in senior management.

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Last Updated: 11/19/12