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VCU School of Engineering Dean Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., Named Rice University’s Distinguished Bioengineering Alumna for 2017

By Rebecca E. Jones

Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., Alice T. and William H. Goodwin Chair and dean of the VCU School of Engineering, has received Rice University’s Distinguished Bioengineering Alumna Award for 2017.

The award recognizes Rice alumni whose scholarship, mentorship and innovations have made significant contributions to their professions and communities.

Boyan is a world-renowned researcher and entrepreneur in the development of implant technologies for bone and cartilage repair.

Her work has led to the development of novel dental and orthopedic biomaterials. Recent developments include new technologies for controlling nanotexture on metal and polymer surfaces to study cell responses, as well as use of hydrogels to deliver cells and pharmaceuticals for regenerating tissues following injury.

Boyan’s passion for biomedical research began with studies to understand the underlying mechanisms of mineralized tissue formation. Under Rice Professor James Campbell’s direction, she completed her B.A. in biology in 1970, M.A. in 1974 and Ph.D. in comparative biochemistry and physiology in 1975. She was a postdoctoral fellow through grants from the National Institutes of Health at the University of Texas (UT) Health Science Center in Houston.

Prior to her appointment as Alice T. and William H. Goodwin professor and dean at VCU, Boyan was associate dean for research and innovation in the College of Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and deputy director at the Georgia Tech/Emory Center for Engineering of Living Tissues.

Boyan is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a member of the National Academy of Inventors. She is the author of more than 460 journal publications and the inventor on 22 U.S. patents and multiple international patents. She is co-founder of SpherIngenics, Inc.; Orthonics, Inc.; OsteoBiologics, Inc.; and the Biomedical Development Corporation. She has served on the boards of directors for five additional public and private companies in addition to not-for-profit agencies.

The award was presented Oct. 12, 2017, at the Rice University reception during the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Ariz.