SFB's 2021 Award Recipients

Submitted on Wed, 04/14/2021

Society For Biomaterials Announces its 2021 Award Recipients

SFB’s prestigious industry awards recognize outstanding achievements in and contributions to the biomaterials field


The Society For Biomaterials (SFB), a multidisciplinary society of academic, healthcare, governmental and business professionals dedicated to promoting advancements in all aspects of biomaterial science, education and professional standards to enhance human health and quality of life, recently announced its slate of 2021 award recipients.

“Each year, the SFB awards recognize the most extraordinary members of the SFB,” said Shelly Sakiyama-Elbert, PhD, President of the SFB. “In a time when the intersection of industry, academia and policy in healthcare is more important than ever, SFB members’ research plays a vital role in solving critical challenges facing our society.”

SFB’s members include professionals who have experience in numerous sectors of the biomaterials field, ranging from clinicians and researchers to medical device manufacturers and students studying biomaterials.


SFB is proud to present the following awards:


Founders Award

This is awarded to an individual who has made a long-term, landmark contribution to the biomaterials discipline.

William R. Wagner, PhD, University of Pittsburgh

“He developed what is, in my opinion, the best-designed degradable polyurethane to this day, and he demonstrated efficacy in realistic animal models,” wrote nominator Jeffrey A. Hubbell. “Indeed, this has been a hallmark of Bill’s research–development of novel biomaterials technology and demonstration in advanced animal models.”


C. William Hall Award

This award honors an industry and government member of the Society For Biomaterials who has made a significant contribution to the Society and has an outstanding record in establishing, developing, maintaining and promoting the objectives and goals of SFB

SuPing Lyu, PhD, Medtronic

“SuPing made significant contributions to SFB,” wrote nominator Huinan Liu, PhD. “He has been an industrial member of SFB since 2001. SuPing was an invited industrial participant to recent NAE and NSF engineering symposia. He has been instrumental in developing liaison for U.S. and Chinese SFB joint symposia in the area of biomaterials from 2013 through 2016.”


Society For Biomaterials Award for Service

This award honors significant service to the Society For Biomaterials in establishing, developing, maintaining and promoting its objectives and goals.

Liisa Kuhn, PhD, UConn Health

“Her term as President of the Society For Biomaterials in 2016-2017 has led to strengthening the relationship between SFB and the European Society for Biomaterials by establishing a joint summer school in France in Summer 2018,” wrote nominator Martine LaBerge, PhD, FBSE, Fellow AIMBE, Fellow BMES. “This program is a first among professional societies and a unique opportunity to build collaboration and leadership for biomaterials science and engineering.”


Technology Innovation and Development Award

This award recognizes an individual’s (or a team’s) successful application of basic and applied biomaterials research in the development of a novel medical product or technology that significantly benefits the health and well-being of medical and surgical patients.

Lonnie Shea (University of Michigan), Stephen Miller (Northwestern University), John Puisis, Jim Herrmann, Cour Pharmaceutical

Nominator, Ariella Shikanov, PhD, for Lonnie Shea, Stephen Miller, John Puisis, and Jim Herrmann expressed her support for the Technology Innovation and Development Award due to the team’s amazing work towards the development of nanoparticles for the novel therapy of Celiac Disease, which could have broad applications to other autoimmune disease.


Clemson Award for Applied Research

This is awarded to an individual whose accomplishments include significant utilization or application of basic knowledge in science to achieve a specific goal in the field of biomaterials.

Karen Christman, PhD, University of California, San Diego

“Karen has pioneered the use of injectable biomaterials to treat tissue after myocardial infarction (MI),” wrote nominator Jason Burdick, PhD. “This is an area that has grown greatly in the biomaterials community in the past decade, where biomaterials have been developed to deliver various biological and mechanical signals to the myocardium to improve outcomes of tissue remodeling.”


Clemson Award for Basic Research

This is awarded to an individual who has made an original contribution to the basic knowledge and understanding of the interaction between materials and tissue.

Brendan Harley, PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“As a highlight of a recent paper, Brendan’s group published a beautiful study in Science Advances on a scaffold design containing osseous and tendinous tissue compartments connected through a PEG hydrogel to dissipate strain,” wrote Jason Burdick, PhD. “This is an important contribution where biomaterials may play a significant role to address a clinical concern.”


Clemson Award for Contributions to the Literature

This is awarded to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the literature on the science or technology of biomaterials.

Guillermo Ameer, ScD, Northwestern University

“Dr. Ameer is a highly regarded researcher, innovator, mentor, and entrepreneur. His research group at Northwestern University was the first to describe the synthesis of bioresorbable biomaterials that are based on citric acid. These biomaterials are used for 3D printing medical devices such as stents, drug and protein delivery, and the regeneration several tissues including blood vessels, cartilage, bone, bladder, and skin,” wrote nominator Robert S. Langer, ScD. “Dr. Ameer has co-authored numerous publications in high impact journals, book chapters, patents, and conference proceedings and has received several awards for his research.”


Mid-Career Award

This award recognizes an individual SFB member who has demonstrated outstanding achievements in and/or contributions to the field of biomaterials research.

Sarah Stabenfeldt, PhD, Arizona State University

“Her recent manuscript in Tissue Engineering identified a sex-dependent role in blood-brain barrier disruption after TBI that substantially impacts nanoparticle and drug delivery to the injured brain,” wrote nominator Elizabeth Cosgriff-Hernandez, PhD. “This finding is crucial for biomaterials-based nanoparticle delivery for brain injury applications.”


Young Investigators Award

This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding achievements in the field of biomaterials research.

Nasim Annabi, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles

“Nasim’s research has opened new avenues in biomaterials,” wrote nominator Arthur J. Coury, PhD. “For example, she has developed innovative adhesive biomaterials for targeted drug delivery in the eye and treatment of various ocular diseases (published recently in Science Advances and Biomaterials Science) as well as nanoengineered biomaterials for modulating immune responses which is published in Small.”


Student Awards for Outstanding Research

This is awarded to undergraduate, graduate and/or PhD students who have shown outstanding achievement in biomaterials research.

Recipients in the PhD Candidate Category:

o          Marian Ackun-Farmmer, University of Rochester

o          Taneidra Buie, University of Texas at Austin

o          Zoe Lynn Harrison, University of Memphis


C. William Hall Scholarship

This award honors the memory of the Society's first president, Dr. C. William Hall. This student scholarship is awarded to a junior or senior undergraduate pursuing a bachelor's degree in bioengineering or a related discipline.

Kaylee Bundy, Mississippi State University


Cato T. Laurencin, MD, PhD Travel Fellowship

Named in honor of a distinguished member of the Society For Biomaterials, Cato T. Laurencin, MD, PhD, the travel fellowship will support undergraduate students of underrepresented minorities in the field of biomaterials to attend the World Biomaterials Congress.

o          Breajah Tyson, University of Connecticut

o          Sophia Saenz, University of Florida


One of the defining aspects of SFB is its commitment to bridging the gap between academic research and its application within an industry setting to advance the biomaterials field and lead to innovations in research, patient care and policy.

About the Society for Biomaterials

The Society for Biomaterials is a professional society that promotes advances in biomedical materials research and development by encouragement of cooperative educational programs, clinical applications, and professional standards in the biomaterials field. Biomaterials scientists and engineers study cells, their components, complex tissues and organs and their interactions with natural and synthetic materials and implanted prosthetic devices, as well as develop and characterize the materials used to measure, restore, and improve physiologic function, and enhance survival and quality of life. For more information, please visit biomaterials.org.