UA to unite area biomaterials experts for event


Faculty members from The University of Akron’s Colleges of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, Arts and Sciences and Engineering will join researchers from the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM), Summa Health System and Akron Children’s and Akron General hospitals for a Biomaterials Symposium, Wednesday, Oct. 27, at the UA Goodyear Polymer Center.

Throughout the daylong symposium, researchers will discuss their findings in tissue engineering, biofilms and biomimetics.

A morning keynote speech, “Silica Biomineralization in Diatoms: From Molecular Mechanism to Functional Materials,” will be presented by Dr. Nils Kroger, assistant professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at The Georgia Institute of Technology. An afternoon keynote presentation, “New Tunable Engineered Biomaterial Systems and Strategies for Tissue Regeneration,” will be presented by Dr. Eben Alsberg, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and orthopaedic surgery at Case Western Reserve University.

UA researchers among the presenters

Other speakers include

  • Matthew Becker, associate professor of polymer science, and Ali Dhinojwala, chair and professor of polymer science;
  • Noland Holland, associate professor of chemical and biomedical engineering, Cleveland State University;
  • Jun Hu, associate professor of chemistry;
  • Jolanta Marszalek, postdoctoral fellow, polymer engineering;
  • Matthew Shawkey, assistant professor of biology;
  • Peter Niewiarowski, professor of biology and interim director, integrated bioscience Ph.D. program;
  • Shivakumar Sastry, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering;
  • Rebecca Willits, associate professor of biomedical engineering and The Margaret F. Donovan Chair for Women in Engineering; and
  • Wiley Youngs, distinguished professor of chemistry.

Topics range from “Gecko-Inspired Adhesives” by Dhinojwala to “Developing a Biocompatible Glucose Responsive to Hydro Gel — Design or Serendipity?” by Hu.

The University of Akron

Dr. Brian Davis, left, vice president and director of the ABIA Medical Device Development Center, and Dr. William Landis, G. Stafford, Whitby Chair in Polymer Science at UA, will direct the symposium.

The Biomaterials Symposium — co-directed by Dr. William Landis, G. Stafford, Whitby Chair in Polymer Science at UA, and Dr. Brian Davis, vice president and director of the ABIA Medical Device Development Center — was planned during a series of biweekly forums. These continuing forums merge faculty from UA and other local universities and colleges with researchers from area hospitals and industry and personnel from the Austin BioInnovation Institute in Akron, all with interests in biomaterials research and education. The overall biomaterials initiative unites forum members of various disciplines and allows them to gain an understanding of their collective strength in biomaterials and to unify and support their individual efforts.

“A major intent is to encourage and institute discussion in biomaterials as well as possible collaboration, submission of joint projects for funding and potential commercialization of projects,” says Landis, who is leading this biomaterials initiative.

Landis adds that the multifaceted initiative also aims to engage undergraduate and graduates students and postdoctoral fellows to enhance education in biomaterials.

For more details, contact Davis at 330-572-7547 or, or Landis at 330-972-8483 or

About the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron

The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron is a unique alignment of institutional, state and philanthropic aspirations that will transform Akron through economic development, enhanced community reputation and pride.

Through the collaboration of complementary research, education and health institutions, the goal of this initiative is to transform Akron into a model for biomedical discovery and enterprise.

The commitment is to set a new trajectory for economic growth and community health.  The vision of becoming a global leader in the biomaterials field is an attainable goal given the historic and existing positioning of Akron’s core intellectual property, research, educational, health care and commercial strengths.

Media contact: Denise Henry, 330-972-6477 or