Lifetime Achievement Award – Wednesday, April 12

Toward Bioengineering Translation

Kyriacos A. Athanasiou, Ph.D

Kyriacos A. Athanasiou has impacted health science and technology, especially in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TERM), addressing significant societal needs through the development of life-saving technologies. He is a Distinguished Professor, Samueli Chair, and the Director of DELTAi at the University of California, Irvine. He has served as faculty member at the University of Texas, Rice University, and the University of California (first at Davis and now at Irvine).

Dr. Athanasiou is a tissue engineer who develops technologies in the laboratory and then translates them into products to help people suffering from various afflictions. His scientific contributions and translational impacts in TERM are evident through his academic research, inventions and resultant medical products, and service. He has established one of the most recognized TERM research groups, especially of musculoskeletal tissues. His work provided the first robust evidence of healing TMJ defects using TERM implants in large animal models (Science Translational Medicine, 2018) and demonstrated the tissue engineering of cartilage on par with native tissue (Nature Materials, 2017) with the right collagen-crosslinking (PNAS, 2014). Central to his efforts is a scaffold-free tissue engineering platform technology, termed the self-assembling process (Science, 2012), first described in 2003. He has published 20 books, 380 peer-reviewed full-size papers, 355 conference proceedings and abstracts, and 33 patents. An important aspect of his impact on the field is his training of 47 Ph.D. students and 31 postdoctoral fellows who continue to follow his systematic approach to TERM.

Thus far, his technologies include 15 FDA-approved products. For example, OsteoBiologics, founded based on his patents for biodegradable scaffolds, developed multiple FDA approved products (acquired by Smith & Nephew). Diabetica Solutions, founded based on his work to alleviate pathologies in diabetic feet, developed three FDA products licensed out to larger companies. VidaCare, formed based on his patents for intraosseous infusion and acquired by Teleflex Medical, developed three FDA approved products used in emergency medicine (also featured in TV shows ER, Grey’s Anatomy, and National Geographic’s ‘inside combat zone’). He formed his latest company, Cartilage Inc., using platform technologies that his group developed for addressing TMJ and cartilage pathologies; the company is now performing the IND-enabling studies for its biological products.

In terms of service, he has made major contributions to TERM and to biomedical engineering. He has served as Editor-in-Chief of the Annals of Biomedical Engineering, President of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), Member of the Board of Directors of BMES, Chair of various BMES committees, and Member of various Scientific Advisory Boards of companies and other organizations. Every year since 2018, the “Athanasiou Awards” are given at the annual BMES meeting to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows for the best published papers. In 2023, the “Athanasiou Medal” will be given annually to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of biomedical engineering with particular focus on translation.

Dr. Athanasiou was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2020 and the National Academy of Inventors in 2014.  His list of awards includes the Voigt Award from BMES, Nemitsas Prize (Cyprus’ most significant award, presented by the President of Cyprus), Lissner Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (the top award for bioengineers), Woo Medal for Translational Biomechanics from ASME, Distinguished Service Award from BMES, Wall Street Journal’s Innovation Award, Edison Patent Award from ASME, Urist Award for Excellence in Tissue Regeneration Research from the Orthopaedic Research Society, and Mow Medal from ASME. Other awards include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Beall Family Foundation, UCI Applied Innovation (the award also included a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition” by the US Congress and citations by the California Legislature Assembly and the California Senate); Faculty Excellence in Research (Senior Award) and Innovator of the Year Award from the Samueli School of Engineering; and High Tech Innovation Award from OCTANe. He is a Fellow of BMES, AAAS, AIMBE, and ASME.

Senior Scientist Award – Thursday, April 13

“Cellular Engineering Approaches to Understand Neural Rewiring after Injury”

Shelly E. Sakiyama-Elbert, Ph.D.

Shelly E. Sakiyama-Elbert, Ph.D. is the Vice Dean for Research and Graduate Education in the University of Washington School of Medicine and Professor of Bioengineering.  From August 2016 to June 2022, she served as Department Chair of Biomedical Engineering and the Fletcher Stuckey Pratt Chair in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on developing biomaterials for drug delivery and cell transplantation for the treatment of peripheral nerve and spinal cord injury. Dr. Sakiyama-Elbert is funded by the NINDS & NIAMS (NIH), and previously she received early career awards from the Whitaker Foundation and the WH Coulter Foundation. Her honors include the Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (2017), Society for Biomaterials Clemson Award for Basic Research (2017), WU Distinguished Faculty Award (2013) and Outstanding Faculty Mentor from the WU Graduate Student Senate (2015). She is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the Biomedical Engineering Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the International College of Fellows in Biomaterials Science and Engineering. Her other professional service includes serving as an Associate Editor for Biotechnology and Bioengineering and the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, a member of the Editorial Board of Acta Biomaterialia, and serving as a standing member of the Biomaterials/ Biointerfaces (BMBI) study section for the NIH (2010- 2013).  She served as Chair for the 2013 Gordon Research Conference on Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering and the 2017 Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting.  She is co-editor of the 4th edition of the seminal textbook “Biomaterials Science: An Introduction to Materials in Medicine”.

Educational, Training and Outreach Award – Thursday, April 13

“Sprouting Careers in Regenerative Medicine:  Past, Present, and Future”

Joan F. Schanck, MPA

Joan Schanck joined the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) in June 2013 and assumed role as Chief Education Program Officer.  She is Director of the NSF and institutionally-sponsored Summer Scholars Program at WFIRM, co-leader of the NIH NIDDK R25 program at WFIRM (PI, E. Opara 1R25DK126625-01A1),  Director of the Annual Regenerative Medicine Essentials Course, Chair of the Education Committee at WFIRM, WF program lead for the training and dissemination core of the Center for Engineering Complex Tissues (5P41EB023833) and leader for the outreach Core of the DOD HBCU Center of Excellence in Biotechnology (W911NF2120265).  She also engages as Director of Education with the National Regenerative Medicine Foundation and as leader of education technology and outreach activities in partnership with the Regenerative Medicine Development Organization.  Her efforts focus on providing high quality, multi-tiered and multi-institutional educational programming within the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine with special emphasis on advancing partnerships and programming with URM institutions. Joan’s professional background includes nearly 25 years of specialized experience in administration, education, research, fund raising, collaborative team building, program development and direct care/services delivery within the university, community and non-profit, public health, and education settings.

Joan was formerly Director of Education and Workforce Development of the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative (2001-2013).  She has served as PI of NIH, NSF, FIPSE, and DOD projects for development of regional and national educational programing in the broad area of STEM with focus on joining academic researchers with the community, government, military, and K-12 classroom.  She possesses extensive experience in STEM outreach, with emphasis on URM students, and networking as a founding member of the Biotech Bus at University of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy’s Biotechnology program with articulations with the Community College of Allegheny County, the Annual Summer Camp in Tissue Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh initiated in 2006 (currently Camp BioE) and multiple other NSF and FIPSE funded STEM programs as well as PI to NIH SEPA awards.

Over tenures at WFIRM and PTEI, Joan has led and developed WFIRM and PTEI’s educational portfolios expanding from sets of regionally based programming toward national, multi-institutional training and educational initiatives to include: multi-institutional pre- and post- doctoral training programs in partnership with the Armed Forces Institute for Surgical Research (DOD AFIRM) consortium, and the Advanced Regenerative Medicine (DOD ARM) program Phases III-V; Summer Undergraduate Research Programs (NSF and NIH); Postdoctoral Fellowship Program; Research Experiences for Teachers (FIPSE); Adventures in Biotechnology for HS Students (PADCED); Summer High School Research Program, K-12 TE and Biotech education and curricula development; 2+2+2 Life Sciences Pipeline (FIPSE and PADCED); Middle and High School Summer Camps for disadvantaged students; SEPA and a host of other formal and informal educational activities including a Phase I and Phase II SEPA project featuring a permanent science center exhibit, travel component (7 sites across US, with videos within Scotland Stem Cell Center Exhibit and translation into Spanish) and teacher professional development and curricula materials (Tea. As Academic Program Officer at WFIRM and Director of Education for the Regenerative Medicine Foundation, she continues to work collaboratively with the scientific community to develop new multi-institutional training initiatives and resources spanning new RM concentration at the graduate level, NIH-sponsored pre-doctoral training in translational regenerative medicine, the WFIRM Annual Regenerative Medicine Course, virtual teacher professional development academies and summer research exchanges, NIH and NSF funded summer research programs for undergraduate students and NSF ATE funded programs in partnership with a national consortium of community colleges focused in the biotechnology sector with emphasis on biomanufacturing.