Bioengineering Seminar Series

Event Details
  • Date/Time:
    • Thursday February 19, 2015 - Friday February 20, 2015
      10:00 am - 10:59 am
  • Location: Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering & Bioscience, Room 1128
  • Phone: (404) 894-6228
  • URL:
  • Email:
  • Fee(s):
  • Extras:

Faulty host:  Bob Nerem


Summary Sentence: “Defining, Refining and Redefining Biocompatibility: Evolutions in Ideas” - Buddy D. Ratner, PhD - University of Washington

Full Summary: The Bioengineering Seminar Series is a joint seminar series between the Petit Institute and the Biomedical Engineering department. Seminars are held on Tuesdays or Thursdays between 11am-12pm in Petit Institute, room 1128, unless otherwise indicated.

“Defining, Refining and Redefining Biocompatibility: Evolutions in Ideas”

Buddy D. Ratner, PhD
University of Washington Engineered Biomaterials (UWEB)

Millions of medical devices made of synthetic or modified natural materials are implanted in humans each year saving millions of lives and improving the quality of life for millions more. These implants trigger a similar reaction, the foreign body reaction (FBR). Biocompatibility, for materials that pass routine cytotoxicity testing, is largely associated with a mild FBR, i.e., a thin, avascular, non-adherent foreign body capsule. The implant is incorporated into a “dead-zone” of acellular scar. The contemporary biomaterials and tissue engineering paradigm would suggest that all synthetic biomaterials and scaffolds (particularly those lacking cellular, biomolecule or biomimetic elements) will give this same fibrotic, avascular healing reaction.
In this talk, synthetic biomaterials will be described that readily integrate into tissue and may stimulate spontaneous reconstruction of tissue.  One such material is fabricated by sphere-templating and it can be made from many polymers including hydrogels, silicones and polyurethanes.  All pores are identical in size and interconnected. Studies from their group have shown optimal healing (as suggested by appropriate vascularity and minimal fibrosis) for spherical 30-40 microns pores. Good healing results have been seen upon implantation in skin, heart muscle, sclera, skeletal muscle, bone and vaginal wall.  Another material showing desirable biointegration is a zwitterionic hydrogels based on carboxybeteine. This material also heals in a non-fibrotic, pro-angiogenic manner. Other researchers have seen similar healing results, via completely different materials strategies, generally involving biological molecules. The in vivo results from their group and related results from other groups suggest they are on the cusp of a revolution in healing, biomaterials integration and tissue reconstruction. This challenges the present, widely accepted definition of biocompatibility:
“The ability of a material to perform with an appropriate host response in a specific application”  (Definitions in Biomaterials, Elsevier, 1987)
This definition is accurate, but is it useful given new discoveries relating to the biological reaction to implanted materials?
They believe the definition of biocompatibility needs refining and redefinition. As biomaterials are used in more challenging surgical environments, the needs to minimize fibrosis and enhance regeneration increase.  Thus, the boundaries between biomaterials and tissue engineering begin to blur.

Related Links

Additional Information

In Campus Calendar

Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience (IBB), Bioengineering Graduate Program

Invited Audience
Undergraduate students, Faculty/Staff, Graduate students
BioE Seminar, graduate students, IBB
  • Created By: Karen Ethier
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Nov 12, 2014 - 1:53pm
  • Last Updated: Apr 13, 2017 - 5:21pm