McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Deputy Director William R. Wagner, PhD (pictured), Professor of Surgery, Bioengineering, and Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh as well as the Director of Thrombosis Research for the Artificial Heart and Lung Program, has been named a Fellow in Biomaterials Science and Engineering (FBSE) by the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering (IUSBSE). Dr. Wagner’s appointment recognizes his work applying biomaterials science and engineering principles to address cardiovascular disease and his leadership in the international biomaterials community. The Society for Biomaterials in the U.S. nominated Dr. Wagner for Fellow status. He is the first Fellow from the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Wagner's research interests are generally in the area of cardiovascular engineering with projects that address medical device biocompatibility and design, tissue engineering, and targeted imaging. His research group is comprised of graduate students in Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering as well as post-doctoral fellows with backgrounds in surgery and polymer chemistry. Dr. Wagner and his group enjoy working across the spectrum from in vitro to clinical studies. The McGowan Institute and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center are uniquely positioned to allow such broad-based projects to flourish and complement one another.
A current research project of the Wagner Lab is “Biomaterials for Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering.” Dr. Wagner and his colleagues are developing polymers that function as biodegradable thermoplastic elastomers, meaning that these materials degrade within the body, can readily be processed into a variety of shapes, and have high strength combined with flexibility. Such materials can be combined with cells and used in the development of tissues that are best formed under a mechanical training regimen (e.g. blood vessels) to induce appropriate cellular orientation and matrix elaboration. Research efforts are focused on designing materials that can readily be altered to fit the design need in terms of chemical, mechanical, and biological behavior. This includes investigating novel processing methods to create architectures that direct the intended tissue development.
The IUSBSE is a body that brings together national and multinational groups dedicated to the advancement of biomaterials, surgical implants, prosthetics, artificial organs, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine. It currently includes members from Canada, the United States, the European Union, China, Japan, Korea, India, and Australia. Fellows are recognized for their professional excellence and achievements in the field of biomaterials science and engineering, and are announced only at the World Biomaterials Congress, which is held every 4 years. Dr. Wagner was appointed at the Eighth World Congress, which was held recently in Amsterdam.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Eighth World Biomaterials Congress Program (see page 11 for Dr. Wagner’s 2008 FBSE Award recognition)
Dr. Wagner’s Collaborators and Projects