Press Release December 2011
Society For Biomaterials Recognizes Outstanding Achievements with Annual Awards Program
MOUNT LAUREL, N.J.- December, 2011 - The Society For Biomaterials (SFB), a professional society that promotes advances in biomedical materials research and development, announces its 2012 award winners.
"We are proud to recognize these individuals for their contributions to the Society's mission, and for their dedication to excellence in biomaterials science and engineering," said SFB Awards, Ceremonies and Nominations Committee Chair, Dr. Anne Meyer, from the University at Buffalo.
This year's honorees are:
Art Coury, Ph.D., Genzyme Corporation, will be recognized with the Founder's Award. The Founder's Award is based on long-term, landmark contributions to the discipline of biomaterials. Dr. Coury recently retired from Genzyme Corporation and currently serves as a consultant. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2009. Dr. Coury's research focuses on polymeric biomaterials for medical products such as implantable electronic devices, hydrogel-based devices and drug delivery systems. He holds over 50 distinct patents and has published widely in his field.
"[Art] is an internationally recognized industry leader in biomaterials and medical devices," said Nicholas A. Peppas, Sc.D., who nominated Coury for the award. "He has excelled in the field of biomaterials engineering through his leadership in the biomaterials community."
Dharam S. Dhindsa, D.V.M., Ph.D., National Institutes of Health, is the recipient of the C. William Hall Award. The C. William Hall Award honors members of the SFB who have made a significant contribution to the Society and have an outstanding record in establishing, developing, maintaining, and promoting the objectives and goals of the Society.
Dr. Dhindsa recently retired from the National Institutes of Health, where he served over 36 years in the Center for Scientific Review.
"Dharam's career most certainly meets the criteria for the C. William Hall Award," said Dr. James Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., editor of the Society's Journal of Biomedical Materials Research-Part A, who nominated him. "He regularly attended annual meetings of the Society For Biomaterials to gain perspective and insight into the breadth and depth of research being carried out with biomaterials as well as tissue engineering. This exemplifies his commitment to understand the science with which he was working and to facilitate appropriate peer review."
"Dr. Dhindsa's guidance in the review process ensured that each and every application received a fair and appropriate level of review based upon the scientific merits. His leadership was firm to the policies of the NIH Scientific Review Process and resulted in scoring processes that were consistently beyond reproach."
Dr. Dhindsa has enthusiastically participated in the Society For Biomaterials as both an active member and past member of the Executive Committee.
Martine LaBerge, Ph.D., Clemson University, will receive the very first Society For Biomaterials Award For Service. This newly established award honors significant service to SFB in establishing, developing, maintaining and promoting its objectives and goals.
"I believe that Dr. LaBerge epitomizes the type of person for which this award was created," said Lynne Jones, Ph.D., professor at Johns Hopkins University, who nominated LaBerge for the award. "We have been very fortunate that Martine brings the same high level of energy and creativity to her leadership roles for SFB, as she has for her research."
Dr. LaBerge is a professor and chair of bioengineering at Clemson University. She has served SFB in numerous positions including, President (2007-2008); Board Member and Council Member for over 15 years; Annual Meeting Program Chair; and the Chair of the Publications and the Educational and Professional Development Committees. As President-Elect, LaBerge helped guide the Task Force Groups during a comprehensive strategic planning program. Additionally, she served as the Executive Editor of the Biomaterials Forum from 2000 to 2005 providing Society members with the frequent opportunity to benefit from her editorials.
Dr. LaBerge has also been an active mentor to the SFB Clemson Student Chapter - bringing students to the annual meeting and encouraging them to participate not only as presenters of their own research, but as members of the National Chapter and in workshops.
"Under her direction, the SFB-endorsed 'Biomaterials Days' at Clemson University have been an example for others to emulate," continued Jones. â€œBut her mentorship did not stop at the Clemson doors. She has supported many SFB members, including myself."
The Clemson Awards:
Each year, SFB solicits nominations for outstanding work in the Clemson Award categories. The awards reflect the strong ties between the SFB and Clemson University since 1974. Awardees are selected by the SFB Awards, Ceremonies and Nominations Committee and confirmed by the president of Clemson University.
Kam Leong, Ph.D., Duke University, will receive the Clemson Award for Applied Research and is currently a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Pratt School of Engineering. Nominees for the award, must show significant utilization or application of basic science to accomplish a significant goal in the biomaterials area.
"Dr. Leong is innovative and extremely productive," said nominator, Sun Wong Kim, Ph.D., University of Utah."â€œHis work has been published over 240 times."
Dr. Leong is responsible for the development of surface-eroding polyanhydrides for controlled drug delivery, leading to the invention of Gliadel, a biodegradable wafer for the delivery of anti-cancer drugs for brain cancer therapy. Gliadel has been used in the treatment of thousands of patients worldwide. He has active roles in international collaborations and is on the editorial board of several peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. Leong has presented his work at many symposia and was the Keynote Speaker at the Molecular Nanotechnology Symposium held in Nara, Japan in [year?].
Andres Garcia, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology, is being recognized with the Clemson Award for Basic Research. Dr. Garcia is professor and Woodruff Faculty Fellow, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. Nominees for this award must have contributed to the basic knowledge and understanding of the interaction of materials with biological molecules, cells, and/or tissues.
Dr. Garcia's research has led to advances across many areas of regenerative medicine (e.g. wound healing, tissue engineering), including applications related to the bone and cartilage, angiogenesis, neurogenesis, inflammation, and implant integration with tissues.
"Professor Andrés Garcia is an outstanding candidate for this award," said Dr. Buddy Ratnor, Ph.D., professor of bioengineering and chemical engineering at the University of Washington, who recommended Dr. Garcia for the award. "His strong commitment to polymeric biomaterials and to the modern biology of healing and regeneration, coupled with a fine intelligence, a charismatic personality and much energy has propelled his career and technical impact to the top of the discipline."
Molly Shoichet, Ph.D., F.R.S.C., O. Ont., University of Toronto, will be awarded the Clemson Award for Contributions to the Literature. Nominees must have made significant contributions to the literature on the science or technology of biomaterials.
Dr. Shoichet is a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto. Her work focuses primarily on tissue repair, specifically spinal cord injury repair. Her lab has investigated and created materials that will gel upon injection, while remaining biocompatible and biodegradable. Dr. Shoichet and her team have extended this concept to regions in the brain and, in so doing, are tackling local therapeutic delivery after stroke to stimulate endogenous stem cells. This research has attracted international attention and collaboration with industry and academia.
"In addition to her outstanding research contributions, Molly is an effective lecturer and has an ability to communicate complex ideas in an inspiring, valuable and refreshing manner," said Professor Michael Sefton, University of Toronto, who nominated Shoichet for the award. "Molly is recognized as a leader in neural tissue engineering and I am pleased to nominate her for a Clemson Award."
"There is no doubt that this extraordinary scientist is making a difference in the way we think and this will, one day, impact the way we live," said Sefton.
The Society For Biomaterials Young Investigator Award
The SFB Young Investigator Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding achievements in the field of biomaterials research. Candidates must be within 10 years of receipt of their terminal degree (Ph.D. or equivalent) and, if they work in an academic institution, must not be tenured at the time of nomination.
Steven Little, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, is the 2012 Young Investigator Award winner. Dr. Little is an assistant professor and Bicentennial Alumni Faculty Fellow in the departments of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, Immunology, and The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. He also is the Chair of SFB's Drug Delivery Special Interest Group (SIG).
Dr. Little's research focuses on targeting multi-drug resistant cancers and combines his expertise in theoretical modeling, polymer fabrication and product formulation to produce and evaluate new systems for the predictable sustained delivery of bioactive molecules.
"I believe I can state with confidence that Steve's work is seminal and extremely valuable in elucidating critical variables associated with sustained drug delivery and is bringing substantive value to the field," said Dr. Art Coury, who nominated Dr. Little.
To achieve his objectives, Dr. Little has succeeded in bringing over $4.5 million in grants to the University of Pittsburgh, has mentored approximately 47 individuals, and has run undergraduate research programs averaging 10 students at a time in his lab.
"I feel so honored to nominate Steve Little for the next Young Investigator's Award," continued Coury ." I have not observed anyone more deserving currently or in the past."
This year's Student Awards For Outstanding Research recipients are: Undergraduate Category -- Anna K. Blakney, University of Colorado and Ph.D. Candidate Category -- Paschalia Maria Mountziaris, Rice University and Mark Tibbitt, University of Colorado. Student Awards For Outstanding Research are given to those who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in biomaterials research. Submission of a manuscript to the Society's Journal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A is a requirement for each nominee.
Anna K. Blakney is a senior undergraduate at the University of Colorado, Boulder, majoring in Chemical and Biological Engineering. Blakney's interest in the field of biomaterials began early, and she has been working in the laboratory of Dr. Stephanie Bryant since the summer prior to her freshman year of college.
Throughout her college career, Blakney has proven herself to be a motivated self-starter, successfully securing several of her own fellowships and grants, including a Sigma Xi Grant-In-Aid Research National Award, where she received $2000 to pursue her research. She has also co-authored 3 manuscripts which have been published or are in preparation for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
"I believe that Anna is an outstanding undergraduate researcher and is a natural leader" said Dr. Bryant. â€œShe has served as a role model for many of the new undergraduate researchers in my laboratory and beyond at the department and college levels."
Paschalia Maria Mountziaris is an M.D., Ph.D. candidate in the joint Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). Mountziaris' doctoral research involves investigations towards the development of biomaterials strategies to modulate inflammatory signaling. Targeted applications include prevention of joint damage in the setting of disease and promotion of bone regeneration following injury.
"This [research] is extremely important," said Mountziaris' graduate advisor, Dr. Antonios Mikos. "It will lead to major advances in the fields of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) drug delivery and bone tissue engineering, both of which will ultimately improve the quality and specificity of therapies available in modern medicine."
According to Dr. Mikos, Moutziaris' background in both engineering and medicine has enabled her to examine and analyze medical, biological sciences and bioengineering literature, developing a fundamental understanding of both synthesis and characterization of novel drug delivery systems, particularly in the clinical management and intra-articular therapy of TMJ disorders. Her preliminary results were recognized with a Student Travel Achievement Recognition (STAR) for Outstanding Contribution at the 2009 SFB Annual Meeting.
"As an M.D., Ph.D. student with a chemical engineering background, she has the unique combination of knowledge and insight that has enabled her to understand clinical problems and design biomaterials strategies to modulate inflammation and improve healthcare," finished Mikos.
Mark Tibbitt is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Colorado, where he is exploring the synthesis and characterization of photo-responsive polymer gels. His research involves tailoring material chemistry and properties in both a spatially and temporally defined manner so he can better understand how cells, particularly mesenchymal stem cells, send and receive information from their environment.
"Mark's approach to his thesis research has been outstanding," said Dr. Kristi Anseth, distinguished professor at the University of Colorado, who nominated Tibbitt. "He is one of the most gifted students I have ever supervised."
Mark has co-authored manuscripts that have appeared in Advanced Materials and in Nature Protocols. According to Dr. Anseth, even though Mark is a second author on these manuscripts, he was instrumental in planning and completing the experiments, as well as writing significant portions.
"Mark is committed to high quality work. He is innovative and insightful in research, and devoted to hard work and success," concluded Anseth.
SFB congratulates each of this year's winners and, based on each awardee's preference, will present the awards at either the 2012 World Biomaterials Congress taking place June 1-5, 2012 in Chengdu, China or the SFB 2012 Fall Symposium taking place October 3-6, 2012 in New Orleans.
About the Society For Biomaterials
The Society For Biomaterials is a professional society which promotes advances in biomedical materials research and development by encouragement of cooperative educational programs, clinical applications, and professional standards in the biomaterials field. Biomaterials scientists and engineers study cells, their components, complex tissues and organs and their interactions with natural and synthetic materials and implanted prosthetic devices, as well as develop and characterize the materials used to measure, restore, and improve physiologic function, and enhance survival and quality of life.