Texas A&M hosts Biomaterials Day
The Department of Biomedical Engineering hosted Biomaterials Day at Texas A&M University on June 1. It marked the ninth annual Biomaterials Day conference in Texas and the fourth time it has been held at Texas A&M.
The goal of Biomaterials Day, which is sponsored by the Society for Biomaterials, is to enhance networking between academic and industrial sectors and increase student exposure to exciting biomaterials research.
Dr. Daniel Alge, assistant professor in the biomedical engineering department and lead organizer of the conference, said the turnout was impressive. There were 191 registrants for the conference representing Texas A&M, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas at San Antonio, The University of Texas at Dallas, Rice University, Texas State University, Trinity University, the University of Oklahoma, the U.S. Army Institute for Surgical Research, Abbott, and Integra Life Sciences. In addition, 100 abstracts were submitted for the poster session.
“It was a testament to the vibrant biomaterials research community in the area,” Alge said.
The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Steven Little, the William Kepler Whiteford Endowed Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Bioengineering, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Immunology, Ophthalmology and The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. Little’s research has resulted in 80 peer reviewed publications, four U.S. patents and the founding of two spin-out companies located in Pittsburgh, Pa. He serves as the 12th chairman of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering.
The event also included invited talks by leading Texas biomaterial scientists. Dr. Duncan Maitland from the biomedical engineering department at Texas A&M spoke of his work developing and translating occlusion devices using shape memory polymer foams. Other invited speakers were Dr. Liping Tang (Department of Bioengineering, The University of Texas at Arlington), Dr. Junghae Suh (Department of Bioengineering, Rice University), Dr. Eric Brey (Department of Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at San Antonio), Dr. Julie Hakim (Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, Baylor College of Medicine) and Dr. Jerome Klawitter (Integra Life Sciences).
Students presented during a poster session, and nine were selected to deliver five-minute rapid-fire presentations. Awards were given to the top undergraduate and graduate student presenters in each category. The winners for Best Rapid-Fire Presentation were Marissa Wechsler (graduate student in Dr. Nicholas A. Peppas’ lab at The University of Texas at Austin) and Michael Talanker (undergraduate student in Dr. Elizabeth Cosgriff-Hernandez’s lab at The University of Texas at Austin). The winners for Best Poster were Courtney Shrode (undergraduate student in Dr. Melissa Grunlan’s lab at Texas A&M) and Kabir Dhada (graduate student in Dr. Laura Suggs’ lab at The University of Texas at Austin).
In addition to Alge, other biomedical engineering faculty who helped organize Biomaterials Day were Dr. Melissa Grunlan, Dr. Akhilesh Gaharwar and Dr. Corey Bishop. The student chapter of the Society for Biomaterials at Texas A&M, which is advised by Alge, also played a key role in planning the conference and ensuring its success.
The conference was sponsored by the Society for Biomaterials, the Texas A&M College of Engineering, the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M, the Office for Commercialization and Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M, the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing at Texas A&M, the Stephenson School of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Oklahoma, the PATHS-UP Engineering Research Center at Texas A&M, Integra Life Sciences, Malvern Panalytical, Anton Paar, Netzsch and APL Bioengineering.