David F. Williams, DSc, FREng
David F. Williams, D.Sc., FREng., Professor and Director of International Affairs
David Williams was trained as a materials scientist and has 40 years experience in the medical device/tissue engineering fields, all at the University of Liverpool, UK, where he has been Head of Clinical Engineering and Director, UK Centre for Tissue Engineering, and is now Emeritus Professor. He is the Editor-in-Chief, Biomaterials, the world’s leading journal in this field, and is Continental Chair-Elect, TERMIS-Europe. He has written or edited 35 books and published close to 400 scientific papers. He received the prestigious Founders Award of the US Society for Biomaterials in 2007. He was appointed as Professor and Director of International Affairs, Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine in 2008 and is also a Visiting Professor, Christiaan Barnard Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Cape Town, South Africa, a Visiting Professorial Fellow, Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, University of New South Wales, Australia, and Guest Professor, at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.
SYNOPSIS OF AREA OF INTEREST: The main areas of interest have been in the development and selection of biomaterials, the science of biocompatibility in relation to medical devices and tissue engineering scaffolds, material degradation and the design and performance of medical devices including heart valves.
DETAILED AREA OF INTEREST: Having established one of Europe’s first biomaterials laboratories in 1968, Williams has since concentrated on the development, selection, evaluation and clinical use of biomaterials in the fields of medical devices and regenerative medicine. In recent years, as Director of the UK Centre for Tissue Engineering and Scientific Director of the European Program on the Systems Engineering Approach to Tissue Engineering, he has focused on the increasingly important issues of the biocompatibility of materials used in the various forms of medical technology and also on the infrastructure issues concerned with the transition from medical device technology to regenerative medicine.
It has become increasingly obvious that the paradigms that define the biocompatibility of materials used in medical devices no longer apply to the materials for regenerative medicine. His work over several decades has concentrated on the understanding of the mechanisms of host-material interactions in implantable devices, including the techniques for the quantification of such interactions. For the majority of such devices, these mechanisms are now largely understood and appropriate materials chosen. With regenerative medicine, and especially tissue engineering scaffolds, quite different approaches have become necessary and the work of his research groups in Europe has concentrated on the development of degradable systems that display bioactivity without the stimulation of inflammation or immune responses.
The maturity of the implantable medical device sector and the transition to regenerative medicine has also involved cultural, economic and legal changes as well as technical ones and much of my research and general activities in the last decade have been focused on these matters. Williams has been an advisor to the European Commission and Parliament on the economic, ethical and regulatory issues of regenerative medicine. He has also explored a wide variety of global issues concerned with the international commercialization of medical technology, writing reports for the British Government on both China and Japan, and working on new developments to provide better access to medical technologies in Africa.