The biomaterials field can trace its contemporary roots to the late 1930s/1940s. With the introduction of modern materials (Teflon, silicones, titanium, etc), physicians had new metals and plastics to consider for medical application. The field of medical implants evolved to integrate chemists, chemical engineers, materials scientists, biologists and bioengineers, working with physicians. This multidisciplinary approach led to rapid advances, saving lives, improving life quality for patients and generating an industry estimated at >$400B/year. Central to medical devices are biomaterials. The field has been visionary and flexible in integrating new ideas from biology and materials science soon after their discovery or first publication. Now, a whole range of new ideas is materializing and it is expected that biomaterials will embrace these new ideas. These include 3D printing and bioprinting, CRISPER-CAS9 gene editing, implanted recording electrodes for controlling prosthetic devices, regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, immunomodulatory biomaterials, flexible electronics, stem cell engineering, siRNA delivery, gecko-skin materials and biomimetic approaches, super-strong hydrogels and pro-angiogenic/anti-fibrotic biomaterials (and many more ideas). But, are there problems or concerns with this evolution of the field? Consider, for example, millions of hemodialysis patients die in 2-5 years after starting dialysis with modern dialysis systems, the complication and death rate from diabetes is epidemic in spite of insulin pumps and glucose sensors and infection and biofilms are still major causes of failure (and death) associated with medical devices. This talk will conclude with examples of research from my laboratory focusing on pro-healing biomaterials that can help address these and other complication-prone implant device procedures.
Buddy D. Ratner is Director of the University of Washington Engineered Biomaterials (UWEB21) Engineering Research Center. He holds the Michael L. and Myrna Darland Endowed Chair in Technology Commercialization and is Professor of Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering, University of Washington. Ratner is a fellow of numerous societies including the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), the American Chemical Society (ACS), and the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Society (TERMIS). He has served as president of the Society for Biomaterials, AIMBE, and the Tissue Engineering Society of North America. Ratner is also an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), served on the National Advisory Council of the National Institute of Bioimaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), NIH, and has participated in the launch of eight companies based on technologies from his laboratory. Some of Buddy’s numerous awards include the AIChE Stine Award for Materials Science (1998), Founders Award of the Society for Biomaterials (2004), C. William Hall Award from the Society for Biomaterials (2006), the BMES Pritzker Distinguished Lecturer Award (2008), the Acta Biomaterialia gold medal (2009), the University of Washington Faculty Lecture (2011), the Pierre Galletti Award from the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (2011) and the George Winter Award of the European Society for Biomaterials (2012-2013). In 2014 he received the “2014 Lifetime Inventor and Innovator Award” from the University of Washington. Ratner has authored over 400 scholarly works and has over 30 issued patents. He is on the advisory board of Biointerphases and serves on the editorial boards of ten other journals. He is the lead editor for Biomaterials Science: An Introduction to Materials in Medicine, a textbook that has sold over 30,000 copies.