On June 17-18, 2015, Stevens hosted the 3rd Stevens Conference on Bacteria-Material Interactions, an event that investigates and raises awareness of the latest research concerning a prevalent, significant and costly medical problem, namely, implant-associated infection. A group of 79 interdisciplinary scientists, students, engineers and clinicians from seven countries gathered on the Stevens campus to identify and address the scientific, technical and regulatory challenges facing the development of infection-resistant tissue-contacting biomaterials.
“International awareness of infection-resisting biomaterials continues to expand as scientific and engineering problems are brought forward and addressed by diverse communities that span materials, microbiology, cell signaling and micro/nano technology, among other disciplines,” said Matthew Libera, conference chair and Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Stevens.
Advances in solving the interdisciplinary problem of biomaterials interaction will improve the quality of life for many thousands of patients annually who have joints, heart valves or tendons replaced, who receive dental or breast implants, or who undergo a variety of other clinical procedures involving biomaterials.
The Stevens conference covered a range of topics relevant to this growing field, including biomaterials-associated infection, biofilms and antimicrobial resistance, new approaches to evaluating biomaterials efficacy, and computational microbiology and materials design. Throughout the two-day meeting, international scientists in the fields of biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, chemical biology, chemistry, materials science, mechanical engineering, and computer science shared presentations and posters on the most cutting edge advancements in biomaterials research.
The conference concluded with a panel discussion moderated by Libera, and consisting of Thelma Valdes and Scott Phillips of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Phil Stewart of Montana State University and David Grainger of the University of Utah, centered on the question, “How can we bring new materials-based infection controls strategies to clinical practice quicker?”
The discussion addressed the many challenges faced by researchers with the FDA’s rules and regulations regarding the implementation of biomedical devices and materials, many of which predate advances in current technologies and forestall the application of new and urgently needed research.
“What can we do?” asked Stewart. “We can continue to participate in meetings like this,” he said. “The interactions are invaluable.”
“We hope the evolving paradigm that underlies biomaterials science and engineering will soon include infection control among its foundational concepts,” concludes Libera.
For more information: http://www.stevens.edu/news/content/stevens-interdisciplinary-conference-examines-bacteria-materials-interactions#sthash.CLfUfYM1.dpuf