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McMahon Lecture at Alfred University to feature talk on ‘tissue engineering’
10/04/11

Aldo R. Boccaccini

Aldo R. Boccaccini

An internationally recognized expert on materials that provide a "scaffolding" for the growth of human tissue will deliver the annual John F. McMahon Lecture at 11:20 am Oct. 13 in Holmes Auditorium, Harder Hall, on the Alfred University campus.

Sponsored by the Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University, the annual invited lecture recognizes a renowned expert in materials science. It was created to honor the memory of John F. McMahon, an Alfred University alumnus, faculty member and dean of the New York State College of Ceramics.

This year’s speaker is Aldo R. Boccaccini, professor and head of the Institute of Biomaterials at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. His topic is "Development and Applications of Bioactive Glass and Composite Scaffolds for Bone Engineering: Advances and Challenges."

Other events being held in conjunction with the McMahon Lecture include a symposium on spark plasma sintering, to be held from 9-11 am and 2-4 pm, with both sessions to be held in Binns Merrill Hall, Room 106.

The symposium is open to both academic and industrial collaborators who are interested in becoming partners with the University in the use of its new spark plasma sintering facility. The new facility will be dedicated at 4:15 pm that day.

More information about the symposium and the McMahon Lecture may be obtained by contacting Marlene Wightman, director of continuing education and outreach, at Wightman@alfred.edu or by calling her at 607.871.2425.

Boccaccini is among the researchers who are working to create multifunctional scaffolds for bone tissue engineering, using biodegradable polymers and bioreactive inorganic materials, such as glasses. His group is fabricating foam-like scaffolds that are partially crystallized to provide sufficient mechanical integrity and strength. When immersed in simulated body fluid, the scaffold induces formation of nanostructured hydroxyapatite, an artificial bone material.

Boccaccini will discuss his research results, which demonstrate that as the bioreactive glasses react with the simulated body fluids, they stimulate growth of bone cells, as well as the blood vessels required to deliver nutrients to the new cells. He will also discuss the future direction of his research initiatives, including tissue engineering therapeutics and interface tissue regeneration.

Prior to joining the faculty of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Boccaccini was a professor of materials science at Imperial College, London. He continues to hold an appointment as a visiting professor at Imperial College. He has also taught at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom; the University of California -San Diego and Ilmenau University of Technology in German.

His research interests are in the areas of glasses, ceramics, and polymer/glass composites for biomedical, functional and/or structural applications. He is the author or co-author of more than 450 scientific papers and 15 book chapters.
In recent years, he has worked extensively in the area of scaffold materials for tissue engineering applications, and has developed a new family of highly porous bioactive and degradable composite scaffolds combining bioactive glasses and biodegradable polymers.

The addition of the bioactive component is seen as a significant improvement toward clinical applications (third-generation biomaterials) because of the possibility of "tuning" the degradation rate, mechanical properties and biological response of the scaffold.
He has pioneered the development of novel scaffolds containing carbon nanontubes, which appear to enhance functionality for bone regeneration.

Named as a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society for 2011, Boccaccini was the 2010 recipient of the Ivor Jenkins Medal from the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining in the United Kingdom. He is a Fellow of the Institute as well.

He is a recipient of the Materials Science and Technology Prize (2003) from the Federation of European Materials Society, and the Verulam Medal and Prize from the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, and has chaired the London Materials Society.

He was a member of the European Union board of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society from 2006-10; is the editor-in-chief of the journal "Materials Letters," and serves on the editorial board of several other prominent journals.

Boccaccini was an international ambassador of the Imperial College of London from 2006-09, and has been a visiting professor at a number of colleges and universities around the world, including Japan, Italy, Singapore, Germany, Argentina and Poland. He was the co-chair of EUROMAT 2009, the largest materials conference in Europe, held that year in Glasgow, Scotland.

He holds a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from the Insituto Balseiro in Argentina, and doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University of Technology in Germany.