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Implant Biomaterials: Past Accomplishments, Current Advances, and Future Trends

Friday, February 3, 2017, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Engineering Research Building, Room 228

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Rena Bizios, Ph.D. Peter T. Flawn Chair Professor Department of Biomedical Engineering The University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio, TX 78249


The field of “materials” for prosthetic devices has evolved from the times when either existing materials (such as wood) or those developed for other uses (e.g., titanium and its alloys for aeronautical engineering applications) to recent formulations progressively emphasizing biological/physiological aspects. In the case of implants (internal prostheses) such a focus was most appropriate because these prostheses are placed inside the biological/physiological milieu for the life-span of the recipient. For these reasons, specifications for the materials used for such applications require considerations that include not only biocompatibility aspects but also the potential for specific interactions with the surrounding cells in order to promote new tissue formation and, subsequent, integration of implants into the surrounding physiological milieu.

Success for such endeavors requires not only knowledge but also transferring and incorporating the latest developments from various fields including the biomedical sciences and several other scientific/engineering disciplines. For example, advances in in vitro culture of mammalian cells have enabled novel approaches to test in vitro biocompatibility aspects of material candidates and, in addition, test their potential in promoting and sustaining new tissue formation pertinent to tissue regeneration and tissue engineering applications.

Impact of advances in emerging frontiers of the biomedical sciences (e.g., medicine, physiology, biology, biochemistry, etc.) on the current status-quo and future of the field of biomaterials for implants is inevitable but also an untapped source of inspiration and potential for novel developments. Such approaches require close attention to pertinent advances of the aforementioned biomedical sciences, keeping track of novel developments in the frontiers of medicine, as well as formulating and achieving innovative venues leading to creative translation of multidisciplinary knowledge to biomaterials-related applications.

The new challenges necessitate innovative and inspired ways of thinking regarding design and formulation of novel biomaterials. Success of such endeavors requires (1) multidisciplinary team approaches which involve participation of experts from nontraditional backgrounds and (2) expansion of the scope of biomaterial specifications to include unconventional design strategies, for example, immuno-compatibility, gene and stem-cell delivery, regeneration of functional tissues, etc. These opportunities have the potential for seminal contributions which will revolutionize the biomaterials for implant devices field.


Rena Bizios is Peter T. Flawn Chair Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX. She earned her B.S. (Cum Laude) degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst, MA), M.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA), and Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA). She has pursued an academic career.

Professor Bizios has taught various undergraduate and graduate fundamental engineering and biomedical engineering courses as well as developed new courses for biomedical engineering curricula. She has mentored many undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty. Her research interests include cellular and tissue engineering, tissue regeneration, biomaterials (including nanostructured ones) and biocompatibility. She has co-authored a textbook (entitled An Introduction to Tissue-Biomaterial Interactions), co-edited a book (Biological Interactions on Material Surfaces: Understanding and Controlling Protein, Cell and Tissue Responses), authored/co-authored scientific 108 publications and book chapters, and is co-inventor of several patents/disclosures. She has given numerous presentations at scientific conferences and invited seminars/lectures in academic institutions and industry. She has also organized and/or co-chaired numerous symposia and sessions at regional/national/international conferences. Professor Bizios is a member, and has been an active participant (including elected officer positions) in several professional societies. She is a member of the editorial board of five scientific/engineering journals. Professor Bizios has participated in various national-level review committees and has also served on numerous departmental, School/College of Engineering and Institute/University committees.

Professor Bizios’ contributions to education and her research accomplishments have been recognized by the: Rensselaer Alumni Association Teaching Award (1997); Clemson Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Literature by the Society for Biomaterials, (1998); Distinguished Scientist Award by the Houston Society for Engineering in Medicine and Biology (2009); 2010 Women’s Initiatives Mentorship Excellence Award by The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2010); Founders Award by the Society for Biomaterials (2014); Theo C. Pilkington Outstanding Educator Award by the Biomedical Engineering Division, American Society for Engineering Education (2014); Amber Award, The UTSA Ambassadors, The University of Texas at San Antonio (2014); and by her election as Charter Member of the Academy of Distinguished Researchers, The University of Texas at San Antonio (2015). Professor Bizios is Fellow of five professional societies, specifically, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), International Union of the Societies for Biomaterials Sciences and Engineering, Society of Biomedical Engineering (BMES), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She is also member of the National Academy of Medicine of the United States (NAM) and of the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST).

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