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David Williams Receives Acta Biomaterialia Gold Medal Award

David Williams
David Williams, Ph.D., professor of regenerative medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, was the 2012 winner of the Acta Biomaterialia Gold Medal Award. The award is given to an “undisputed world leader in the field of biomaterials, whose accomplishments in discovery and translation to practice are surpassing and known to all in the field.”

Williams is the director of international affairs at Wake Forest Baptist’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine and has academic and advisory appointments in various countries around the world.

This is the 5th awarding of the medal, which was presented to Williams at the World Biomaterials Congress on June 1 in Chengdu, China.

Williams received his undergraduate and doctoral degrees from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, in metallurgy/materials science. When he started his career in biomechanics and biomaterials science, there were very few materials in clinical use. He worked alongside some of the early pioneers in implant surgery, including the inventor of total hip replacement, and realized too little was known about the body’s response to implanted biomaterials.

He established one of the first research laboratories in Europe concerned with biomaterials science and set out to develop systems to explore the subject of biocompatibility. He developed systems for measuring the body’s response to biomaterials and introduced into clinical practice some high-performance biomaterials, including titanium alloys, silver-based products and biodegradable polymers. Due to his expertise in biomaterials, he has served as an expert witness and given testimony on many of the scientific issues that have underpinned the major legal actions that have followed the failure of medical devices to achieve desirable outcomes in patients.

For many years, Williams advised the European Commission on aspects of research policy, In 1997, he was appointed as Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool.

Williams has published 400 peer-reviewed papers and edited or authored more than 30 books.  He has received major awards from the U.S., European, United Kingdom and Indian societies for biomaterials. In 1999 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the highest engineering honor in the UK, and also as a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, as one of the few overseas fellows.

Williams joined the Medical Center in 2007. He serves as editor-in-chief on the journal Biomaterials, has been elected to the position of president-elect of TERMIS, the international society concerned with regenerative medicine, and is actively promoting the application of biomaterials science in Asia and Africa.

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