2004 Purdue–Silicon Valley Symposia

Tissue Engineering: Purdue Taking the Lead

For 30 years, Purdue researchers have been producing breakthrough discoveries in such areas as implantable devices, artificial joints, and tissue engineering, to name a few. Today, Purdue Biomedical Engineering faculty and students continue to work at the interface between biology and engineering to explore creative solutions to the most difficult problems in medicine.

Professor Thomas J. Webster's presentation, "Tissue Engineering: Purdue Taking the Lead," will examine the development of nanomaterials that are helping to improve orthopedic implant design and promote tissue regeneration. His research initiatives are targeted toward better understanding cellular and molecular responses to novel implantable medical materials and devices. With potential widespread clinical impact, Professor Webster's pioneering approaches to biomaterial design are offering hope for new knee and hip replacement devices with enhanced function and reliability.

Dr. Thomas Webster

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Purdue University

Thomas J. Webster is an assistant professor for the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University. His degrees are in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh (B.S., 1995) and in biomedical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (M.S., 1997; Ph.D., 2000). Prof. Webster's research addresses the design, synthesis, and evaluation of nanophase (that is, materials with fundamental length scales less than 100 nm) materials as more effective biomedical implants. Prof. Webster is the current director of the Nanostructured Biomaterials Laboratory and has completed extensive studies on the use of nanophase materials as implanted materials. His lab has provided or will provide (by the end of 2003): 6 book chapters, 27 invited presentations, 69 literature articles and/or conference proceedings, 127 conference presentations, and 13 provisional or full patents. His research on nanophase materials has received attention in numerous recent media publications such as Chemical and Engineering News, Feb. 28, pp. 39-42, 2000; Advances in Nanomaterial Research, April, pp. 3, 2001; Nanoparticle News magazine, April, pp. 5 6, 2002; highlighted on the cover (with lead story) of the American Ceramic Society Bulletin, June, 2003; and Materials Today, July/August, pp. 10, 2003. In his three years at Purdue, he has graduated 7 M.S. students and currently has a lab of 9 graduate students. He has organized over 21 symposia at academic conferences highlighting the use of nanomaterials in biological applications. Other honors include: 1995, Senior of the Year Finalist (out of over 5,000 seniors), University of Pittsburgh; 1997, Highlighted as Outstanding Alumni in University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering Alumni Newsletter; 1997, Rensselaer Founders Award for Excellence (awarded to less than 1% of graduate student body), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; 1997, Outstanding Education Paper Award, ASEE Frontiers in Engineering Education Conference, Pittsburgh, PA; 1998 2000, Student Travel Award, Biomedical Engineering Society; 1999, Student Travel and Professional Development Award, Society of Biomaterials; 1997 2000, Paul B. Daischt Travel Award, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; 2000, Karen and Lester Gerhardt Graduate Student Award in recognition of outstanding academic achievement and promise for a successful career, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; 2002, Biomedical Engineering Society Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award; and 2003, nominated by Purdue University for the Packard Outstanding Young Investigator Award (2 selected per university). Dr. Webster also has interests in developing novel instructional methods to increase the overall learning experience and representation of females and minorities in biomedical engineering and has received recognition for such efforts from ASEE. He currently serves as the Biomedical Engineering Society advisor at Purdue University.