2016 SFB Elections: Biographies

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Officer Nominees


The President-elect shall become familiar with the duties of the President and shall, at all times, cooperate and assist with the duties of that office. In the absence of the President, the President-elect shall preside at the meetings of the Society, the Council and the Board of Directors, and perform the duties and exercise the powers of President. The term of office is for a period of one year without succession. The President-elect is the chairperson of the Long Range Planning Committee.

Nominees for President-Elect

David H. Kohn, PhD
Departments of Biologic and Materials Sciences; and Biomedical Engineering
University of Michigan

Biographical Sketch: 

David is a Professor at the University of Michigan in Biologic and Materials Sciences, and Biomedical Engineering.  He received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Tulane University (1983) and his M.S. (1985) and Ph.D. (1989) in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and joined the faculty at Michigan in 1989.  David served as Graduate Chair in Biomedical Engineering, is Director of an NIH Training Program in Tissue Engineering, and Co-Director of a new Regenerative Medicine Center. 

David’s research has progressed from top-down investigations of synthetic biomaterials at the macroscopic and microstructural-levels to the bottom-up synthesis and characterization of biomaterials at smaller levels of scale.  In parallel, he has a research program in tissue mechanics across length scales.  David’s research program now focusses on biomineralization, which is investigated by establishing structure-function relations in mineralized tissues and utilizing this information to develop strategies to engineer tissue.  His work has provided insight into mechanisms of bone fragility and mechanically mediated tissue adaptation.  His lab has also developed organic/inorganic hybrid materials that can communicate with their biological microenvironment leading to better control of cell function in-vitro and tissue formation in-vivo. David has been continually funded throughout his career, including support from NIH, NSF, DoD and industry. He has published over 125 peer reviewed papers and book chapters, holds 5 patents, and has over 100 invited presentations. David is the recipient of a Whitaker Foundation Biomedical Research Award, NSF Research Initiation Award, NIH IPA award, and a Distinguished Scientist Award from IADR.  David is a Fellow of the International Union of Biomaterials Scientists and Engineers, AIMBE and AAAS.  

David has taught biomaterials and tissue engineering courses to undergraduate and graduate engineering students, as well as clinical students and residents.  He has trained 37 graduate students, 7 post-docs, 40 undergraduates, 14 residents and 5 visiting scholars.

David has been an active member of SFB for almost 30 years. He was Chair of the Oral/Craniofacial Biomaterials SIG (1996-1999), and has served on the Program Committee (1997-2002, 2007, 2015), Awards, Ceremonies and Nominations Committee (2003-2004), and the Education and Professional Development Committee (2005-2006 and 2009-2010 as Chair).  David was Member-at-Large in 2006-2007 and served on the Long Range Planning Committee. As Member-at-Large, he brought concerns of members to the Board and Council and was able to create a forum for having members’ concerns better addressed.  As EP&D Chair, the committee helped expand the quantity and quality of Biomaterials Days, implemented student chapter awards and helped launch a mentorship program.  David served as Secretary-Treasurer (2013-2015).  He helped guide the Society during times of financial concern, declining membership, and competition from other societies, managing its resources and helping the Society grow its assets, enabling the Society to add value to your membership.  As Secretary-Treasurer, David was involved in all aspects of society operation and governance.  These experiences have provided David a depth and breadth of understanding of critical issues facing the Society and a vision of how to best advance the Society.           

Vision Statement

My first SFB meeting was in 1984.  I have made life-long friends and colleagues through SFB.  I am honored to have been nominated for the position of President-Elect and to have the opportunity to help guide the Society and give back to an organization that has meant so much to me professionally and personally. 

The field of biomaterials has undergone significant growth in the last 20 years, and SFB should be at the forefront of this expansion.  We are the most comprehensive society in the field and our comprehensive excellence is unmatched.  Being this comprehensive, we need to balance breadth and depth, and create synergies across our breadth.  If elected, I will strive to ensure that our members from all sectors see the value of membership, meetings and publications, and that this value is provided in a cost-effective manner. 

As President, it will be my responsibility to lead the Society and help set goals to enable the Society to advance excellence in biomaterials science.  I view my role as one of leadership and strategic direction management. The process of making clinically relevant and efficacious biomaterials is lengthy and interdisciplinary.  Basic, applied, clinical, industrial and regulatory expertise is required, and is best integrated in a parallel fashion, but often implemented in series.  SFB is uniquely suited to facilitate a paradigm shift toward a more parallel approach of translating biomaterials research.  Since the process can be lengthy, it is also incumbent to mold the next generation of biomaterials scientists and engineers, and SFB is a unique agent of this training. 

I will use my experience and understanding of the Society’s structure and operations to increase the value of membership so it is unambiguous why someone would join SFB or renew their membership.  I will work to: 1) improve the quantity and quality of educational and professional development; 2) improve the visibility and impact of the Society; and 3) evaluate our governance and operations to streamline achieving our goals.

I believe it is vital to increase our educational and professional development activities.  I will work to advance a mentoring program for members at all levels.  I would also like to introduce a grants review program.  Leveraging our successful Biomaterials Days, the Society can strengthen interactions between basic researchers, clinicians and industry by introducing challenge grants.

Increasing the visibility and impact of the Society is critical to helping the Society fulfill its vision of promoting human health.  I will therefore work toward integrating SFB with other societies, so that our members are point people for providing biomaterials expertise, and SFB increases its branding, but does not lose its identity.  A public relations plan is needed, as well as outreach to promote biomaterials awareness and visibility of SFB.

I believe in investing in people and processes as a means of accomplishing these goals. I will engage you and listen to your ideas on what we do well and what we can do better.  I believe that the Board and Council, in concert with all of you, need to be operationally successful, but to also place emphasis on setting a bold vision and direction for the Society.  If the Society can better serve its members and provide a structure and excitement for its members to want to belong, we will be able to provide a forum for your recognition in the field of biomaterials.  If we think in a bold manner, the quantity and quality of our endeavors will improve. 

I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve the Society.

Steven R. Little, PhD
Chair, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Pittsburgh.

Biographical Sketch:  

Steve Little is the William Kepler Whiteford Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical
Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also a Professor of Bioengineering, Pharmaceutical
Sciences, Immunology, Ophthalmology and The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Steve has
been an active member of the Society for Biomaterials from his days as a graduate student and since that time
he has served in a number of roles including the Vice Chair of the Drug Delivery SIG from 2009-2011, the
Chair of the Drug Delivery SIG from 2011-2013, and the SIG Representative on the Board of Directors from
2013-2015. He also has organized a large number of sessions, symposiums, and panel discussions for the
Society and has served on committees including the website-redesign committee. Steve was also the 2012
recipient of the Society for Biomaterials’ Young Investigator Award.
Steve’s research focuses on next generation drug delivery formulations that mimic the spatial and temporal
presentation of biological stimuli observed in situ. His work on the fundamentals of controlled release has also
led to the founding of Qrono Inc, the first custom controlled release formulation startup company based in
Pittsburgh, PA. Qrono has received a number of national accolades including CNBC’s 15 Promising New
Startups, one of the Kauffman Foundation’s most promising ventures from around the world, and a number of
Phase I and II STTR/SBIR contracts from the NIH, the DoD, and the US FDA.
Steve has received a number of awards for his work in the area of Biomaterials including, but not limited to:

  • The American Association for Advancement of Science’s Excellence in Research Award
  • The American Heart Association’s Career Development Award
  • The NIH K Award
  • The Beckman Young Investigator Award from the Arnold & Mabel Beckman Foundation
  • Both the Phase I and Phase II Coulter Translational Research Awards from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation
  • The University of Pittsburgh's Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award
  • The University of Pittsburgh’s Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award
  • Named a “Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar” by the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation
  • The Carnegie Science Award for Advanced Materials
  • The Carnegie Science Award for University Educators
  • Research to Prevent Blindness’ Innovative Ophthalmic Research Award
  • Named a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)
  • Named one of Pittsburgh Magazine’s “40 under 40”
  • Named one of only five individuals in Pittsburgh who are “reshaping our world” by Pop City Media
  • The Curtis W. McGraw Research Award from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)

Steve’s research has been funded by the NIH, NSF, DoD, AHA, the US FDA, the Wallace Coulter Foundation,
the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, Johnson and
Johnson, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a number of other private foundations and industrial
Finally, Steve is very active in educational charity and serves on the Board of Directors for EduNations, an
organization that establishes educational infrastructure by building schools, training teachers and provides
children with free education in Sierra Leone, Africa (consistently rated as the worst place to live on the planet).

Vision Statement:

Of all the Societies, the Society for Biomaterials has had the biggest impact on my career.
Since my time as a graduate student, SFB has been the place where I have developed the strongest and most
meaningful relationships with collaborators, mentors, and friends. It has also been a place where I have been
privileged to have been given the opportunity to give back, which began in the SIGs. In no other Society can
its young members find the opportunities to become involved and serve in a Society like they can in the SIGs
of the Society for Biomaterials. It has been my continued vision and mission to promote the SIGs to a position
of prominence in the Society, and with the help of our past Presidents, our SIGs now have more resources and
more members than ever before. It would be my continued commitment to provide the SIGs with the
resources necessary to provide excellence in programming for our annual meetings as well as increased
opportunities for its members to engage in the Society through networking and exchange of ideas.
It will also be my commitment to always look for ways to increase the value of your membership. Every effort
needs to be made to keep the cost of membership and attendance at the annual meeting as low as possible
while ensuring that the location of the annual meeting is accessible and attractive. I also want to explore ways
to produce more value to the many individuals that attend the annual meeting each year who are recruiting
new talent (and to those who wish to be recruited). I would envision specific poster sessions (or a specific
location in the poster sessions) for those searching for a faculty position or industrial position. It would also be
helpful if those recruiting had a demarcation on their nametag stating that they were hiring (or likewise a
demarcation that someone is looking to be hired).
Finally, we also must make every effort to advance SFB’s prominence and leadership in the field of
Biomaterials globally. I envision that we would benefit greatly from an increased public-relations presence in
order to get the word out to the community at large as well as to the public that our members are indeed the
global leaders in the field of Biomaterials. It should be the case that when a media outlet wishes to write a
story on a remarkable surgical procedure or the sale of a company that specializes in Biomaterials, that the
Society Headquarters is contacted to identify members to quote as experts in the field. It should also be the
case that the public is regularly made aware of the extraordinary accomplishments of our members, increasing
our visibility and putting us in a greater position to educate and advocate.
During my time in leadership of the SIGs and then serving on the Board of Directors, I witnessed the impact
that several, extremely gifted Presidents had on the Society. In addition, these Presidents listened to me, they
supported me, and they championed my ideas. It is for this reason that I am deeply honored for the
nomination to serve as President-elect for the Society for Biomaterials so that I might be in a position to listen
to you, support you, and champion your ideas in the same way as those who came before me.


The Member-at-Large shall serve as an unencumbered representative of the membership at meetings of both the Board of Directors and Council. The Member-at-Large shall serve for a period of one year.

Nominees for Member-at-Large

Andrés J. García, PhD
Rae S. and Frank H. Neely Chair and Regents’ Professor
George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology

Biographical Sketch: 

Andrés J. García is the Rae S. and Frank H. Neely Endowed Chair and Regents’ Professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with Honors from Cornell University in 1991, and M.S.E. (1992) and Ph.D. (1996) degrees in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship in cell and molecular biology at the School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania and thenjoined the faculty at Georgia Tech in 1998. Dr. García’s research program integrates innovative engineering, materials science, and cell biology concepts and technologies to create cell-instructive biomaterials for regenerative medicine and generate new knowledge in mechanobiology. This cross-disciplinary effort has resulted in new biomaterial platforms that elicit targeted cellular responses and tissue repair in various biomedical applications, innovative technologies to study and exploit cell adhesive interactions, and new mechanistic insights into the interplay of mechanics and cell biology. Dr. García is recognized as an international leader in bioengineering as demonstrated by his prestigious scholarly publications, invited presentations at conferences and research programs world-wide, research funding from NIH, NSF and private foundations, and membership on the editorial boards of leading biomaterial and regenerative medicine journals, including serving as Associate Editor for the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A and Biomaterials. In addition, his research has generated intellectual property and licensing agreements with start-up and multi-national companies, demonstrating the translational potential and impact of this work. He has received several distinctions, including the NSF CAREER Award, Arthritis Investigator Award, Young Investigator Award from the Society for Biomaterials, Georgia Tech’s Outstanding Interdisciplinary Activities Award, and the Clemson Award for Basic Science from the Society for Biomaterials. He has been recognized as a top Latino educator by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. He is an elected Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering (by the International Union of Societies of Biomaterials Science and Engineering), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. 

Vision Statement: 

I am deeply honored to be nominated for the position of Member-at-Large. I have been an active member of SFB for more than 20 years as a student, post-doc, and faculty member. In addition to regularly organizing sessions at the annual meeting, I have provided significant leadership within SFB and our community as SIG Chair, Executive Board and Council Member (2005-2007), Vice-Chair (2005) and Chair (2007) of the Gordon Research Conference on Biomaterials, Program Chair of the SFB Fall Symposium (2008), member of the Program Committee for the annual meeting (2007, 2008, 2011, 2015), and member of the Awards and Nomination Committee (2008-2009, 2014-2015). In addition to outstanding diverse professional opportunities for scientific discussions, networking and interactions with industry and government, the Society has provided a nurturing environment where I have developed many good and lasting collaborations and friendships.

My vision for SFB is for the Society to be a thriving, international community of leaders, researchers, experts, and educators from academia, industry, and government with far-reaching and lasting impact on all aspects of biomaterials science, engineering, and policy. If elected Member-at-Large, I will focus my efforts on three major areas:

Be a Voice for all the Members. It is crucial to engage our diverse membership in existing and new activities during and outside the annual meeting to increase membership value. A key aspect of this effort is to establish and maintain good communication between students, academicians, industry, and government and the Council and Executive Board of the Society. Through this improved communication, we will identify targets and allocate resources to maximize membership value and grow SFB.

Foster Scientific Excellence and a Nurturing Environment. The annual and regional meetings (e.g., Biomaterial Days) provide ideal convergence points for the exchange of scientific ideas and community building efforts. I will work with the leadership and program committees to enhance the scientific context and social aspects of these critical meetings.

Expand the Impact of SFB. To truly contribute and improve human health, our activities must extend beyond our society. I will work to expand our sphere of influence including broadening marketing and visibility, highlighting positive impact and contributions of the biomaterials community, and reaching out to other professional groups where biomaterials expertise is important.

If elected for this position, it will be my honor to continue serving SFB and I will work diligently and vigorously to improve the SFB community.


Joo L. Ong, PhD 
Chairman, Department of Biomedical Engineering
University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

Biographical Sketch: 

Joo L. Ong, Ph.D. is currently the USAA Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering and the Associate Dean of Administration for the College of Engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.  He received his B.S. degree from the University of Iowa in 1987, and his M.S.B.M.E. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1990 and 1994, respectively.

His primary research interests focus on the regeneration of bone for large critical-sized defects, surface modifications and characterization of the implant biomaterials for dental and orthopedic applications, modifications of tissue-engineered ceramic scaffolds, protein-biomaterials interactions, and cell-biomaterials interactions in vitro and in vivo using small and large animal models.  His work has been funded by the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, the Whitaker Foundation, Implant Dentistry Research and Education Foundation, Academy of Prosthodontics, American Association for Dental Research, and the US Army, as well as numerous biomedical industries.  At present, Dr. Ong has authored/co-authored 1 biomaterials textbook, 13 book chapters, 141 peer-reviewed papers and over 200 conference abstracts in dental, orthopaedic, and tissue-engineering biomaterials.  In addition, he has given invited lectures and keynote lectures at national and international meetings and has served as a manuscript reviewer for several biomedical engineering related scientific journals.  He has also served as a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundations, Department of Defense, European and Canadian funding agencies as well as state-based agencies.

In addition to being active in other professional societies, Dr. Ong is also an active member of the Society for Biomaterials.  He has served many roles within the Society, including being on the Membership Committee, Long Range Planning Committee, Meetings Committee, and the Program Committee.  He served as the Chair for the Program Committee for the 2014 Annual Meeting for the Society for Biomaterials in Denver.  Dr. Ong is currently one of the Associate Editors for the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, Part B.                   

Vision Statement:

My vision as a Member-at-Large is to improve the strength of the Society’s membership.  I will act as a liaison between the student members and academician and industry members, and to listen and hear your needs and concerns with regards to Society-led activities.  One of our most important members are our very own students, and their membership is crucial to the Society.  These students are the pipeline for ensuring that our Society membership remains strong as they graduate to becoming active members.  As important as having academician and clinician members in the Society, memberships from the industries are also key to the success of the Society.  With the many biomedical industries around the nation, increasing members from the industry is critical since many of our research are translational.

Additionally, the Society provides many activities and roles for all members to participate, including organizing its annual meeting every three years for networking, to learn new and the latest technologies and discoveries, and to catch up with old friends.  By participating in Society-led activities, all members are provided the opportunity to learn about its governance at different levels, either through the SIG, Council, or Board of Directors.  As such, my role as the Member-at-Large will be to serve as the spokesperson for the Society members as a whole to address your needs and concerns.  In this role, my priorities will be:

To encourage members to participate in the different roles available in the Society, either through election or by volunteering for specific committees.  This allows members to understand and be part of the Society rather than to view the Society as an annual event to present their work. 

To work with the national student chapter on means to increase student involvement in the Society.  As a pipeline to increase our membership strength, I want to ensure that their needs in the Society are being addressed.
To work with the industry members and to enhance its membership through different SIG activities and program involvements.  Interacting with the biomedical industries is key for translating technologies and discoveries discovered in research laboratories, and increasing membership from the industries allows the Society members to increase their network and to foster discussions in basic science as well as translational research.

It is an honor to be nominated for this position, and if elected, I will work to represent your views and concerns to the Council.

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