On June 9-10, 2011, a select group of 85 researchers from across the country and around world gathered at Stevens Institute of Technology to share their latest advances in the area of infection-resistant biomaterials at the Stevens Conference on Bacteria-Material Interactions. The University played host to participants from the public, private, and academic spheres to discuss clinical needs, laboratory research, and future-oriented strategies critical to developing safer, more effective biomaterials that promote healing while minimizing the risk of infection.
"The research discussed at the conference couples an exciting combination of fundamental scientific questions with compelling societal relevance," says Dr. Matthew Libera, Conference Chair and Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Stevens. "A highly interdisciplinary group of scientists, engineers, and clinicians in attendance provided an ideal environment for thought-provoking discussion and facilitated professional networking among a global community."
Research in the area of bacteria-material interactions has a major impact on the growing use of orthopedic implants and other biocompatible devices that must be protected from harmful bacterial biofilms, which can cause infections and implant failure. The conference featured 23 invited and contributed oral presentations and twenty posters covering advances in this $16 billion market, including implantable devices, bacteriology, evaluation, pharmaceutical development, and surgical practices management. Attendees also enjoyed a dinner keynote from noted engineer Dr. William J. Costerton during a reception at the upscale W Hotel in Hoboken.
The combination of pioneering research topics, the focus on practical applications, and a diverse pool of partakers won the conference rave reviews. "The Stevens Conference on Bacteria-Material Interactions was one of the most productive and enjoyable meetings I've ever attended," says Dr. Jeff Kaplan of the New Jersey Dental School. "The mix of people—engineers, clinicians, microbiologists—was fantastic, allowing me to expand my knowledge and set up new collaborations for the future."
Mark your calendars for the next iteration of this biennial conference during Summer of 2013. The 2011 Stevens Conference on Bacteria-Material Interactions was made possible in part by financial support from Stryker Orthopaedics and the National Science Foundation.