The first GRC on the topic of biomaterials was held in 1966. Over the past 5 decades, the field has grown substantially, both in numbers and in scope, leading to a vibrant, multidisciplinary community of researchers who share interests in developing materials for a wide range of medical applications. Building on this rich history, the 2021 GRC and GRS on Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering will focus on the design, function, and translation of bio-instructive materials, with a particular emphasis on material modulation of biological activity.
More than simple drug carriers or scaffolds, biomaterials have been engineered to be instructive in a variety of different ways. For example, conjugation of biomolecules and drugs to biomaterials can augment or suppress their native biological activities, in part by changing the way in which they are presented to cells and tissues. Materials-based strategies to alter bioavailability, such as immobilization, controlled release, or gradient generation, along with the precise method of bioconjugation, have also been shown to actively influence how instructive cues are presented and thereby how cells and tissues respond. Furthermore, biomaterials have also been shown to induce long lasting changes in biological systems, attaining a form of biologic memory. This GRC will highlight such cutting-edge advances to understand how material properties and material-biomolecule conjugation strategies affect biological activities, and have thereby enabled the application of instructive biomaterials in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, immune engineering, and diagnostics, to name a few. Efforts to understand native biological activity at a molecular scale to inform biomaterial design will also be featured. However, while biomaterials offer an approach to modulate biological outcomes, it is clear that overly complex designs are inherently more difficult to translate. This GRC will also explore the multifaceted challenges associated with the clinical translation and commercialization of biomaterials.
Finally, in addition to featuring a Power Hour, speakers will be encouraged to share their personal and professional journeys to foster a more inclusive environment and facilitate discussion regarding effective time management strategies and work/life balance. This conference will also adhere to the GRC standard of holding vigorous formal and informal discussions between researchers at all career stages, and feature poster sessions and short talks selected from the submitted abstracts.
The conference will consist of nine sessions, on the topics listed below. The conference chair is currently developing their preliminary program, which will include the names of the invited speakers and discussion leaders for each of these sessions. Please check back regularly for updates to this information.
- Design, Function and Translation of Instructive Materials
- Materials for Brain Repair and Regeneration
- Engineering Microenvironment for Repair
- Immune Engineering: Vaccines, Cancer and Tolerance
- New Biomaterial Design
- Biomaterials for Drug and Gene Delivery
- Materials for Stem Cell Engineering
- Building Vasculature Across Length Scales
- Early-Career Investigator Presentations