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February 28, 2002

Engineering group honors UW’s Ratner

Buddy Ratner, director of the UW Engineered Biomaterials research center (UWEB), has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Ratner was among 74 engineers nationwide who were chosen for membership in the academy’s Class of 2002, which was announced on Feb. 15. Membership in the academy is considered among the highest professional distinctions accorded an engineer.

In electing Ratner, the academy cited his contributions “to the understanding of the surface interactions of biological molecules and cells with medical implants.”

Ratner’s research involves the study of biomaterials — specially designed materials used in medical devices and implants that come into contact with blood, tissue and bodily fluids. Understanding how the body reacts to such materials can allow scientists to engineer device surfaces that decrease rejection, lessen the chance of infection and promote healing.

Including Ratner, the UW College of Engineering now counts 11 academy members among its faculty.

Denice Denton, dean of the college, said Ratner is a leader in the integration of research and education both on campus and at the national level and is “richly deserving” of election to the academy.

“Professor Ratner’s work in bioengineered materials will have a long-term impact on our quality of life,” Denton said. “In addition, his outstanding work in engineering education has affected generations of UW students. We are very proud to be associated with Professor Ratner. He is a great asset to the UW.”

Ratner earned a doctorate in polymer chemistry in 1972 from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in New York. He joined the UW the same year as a postdoctoral fellow and research associate in the Department of Chemical Engineering. In 1996, he became the director of UWEB.

According to NAE President Wm. A. Wulf, academy membership honors those who have made “important contributions to engineering theory and practice” and those who have demonstrated “unusual accomplishment in the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology.”