UW News

April 2, 2009

Ratner honored for work on biomaterials

By Nedra Floyd Pautler
Dept. of Bioengineering 

Buddy Ratner was recently selected as the 2009 recipient of the Acta Biomaterialia Gold Medal, which recognizes excellence and leadership in biomaterials research and practical applications.

Ratner, a professor of bioengineering and chemical engineering, is an international leader in engineered biomaterials and received the honor for his body of work.

“Much of my work has been controversial and has pointed to new directions for the field,” Ratner said. “But intellectual fields have their own momentum, and moving them to new directions can be challenging. Receiving this international award has validated my ideas and research directions. This is a huge honor.”

The award was created in 2008 to honor “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,” according to the invitation for nominations. The prize includes a gold medal, a certificate and a cash award. It will be presented at an international meeting of Ratner’s choice. The first award went to Robert Langer, a chemical engineering professor at MIT.

“Professor Buddy Ratner is and will remain one of the most important figures in the field of biomaterials,” said Paul Yager, professor and chair of bioengineering. “When I headed out from my last position 21 years ago to come to the University of Washington, a chemist colleague of mine who was not in the biomaterials field said ‘the University of Washington, isn’t that where Buddy Ratner works?’

“His reputation has continued to grow every year since then, as well,” Yager noted. “Buddy is one the best known figures in science and engineering. His reputation in his field is due to brilliant science, fabulous teamwork, excellent mentoring, extraordinarily good social skills, talent for being a gadfly or a coalition-builder as necessary, and an indefatigable willingness to travel to the ends of the earth to preach the gospel of biomaterials. It is delightful that many international organizations are recognizing this extraordinary career.”

Ratner is recipient of 27 awards, fellowships and lectureships.