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  5. UW-Madison biomedical engineering, pharmacy researcher earns international honor

UW-Madison biomedical engineering, pharmacy researcher earns international honor

Biomedical Engineering and Pharmacy Professor Weiyuan John Kao
Biomedical Engineering and Pharmacy Professor Weiyuan John Kao

The International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering has named Weiyuan John Kao, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of pharmacy and biomedical engineering, an international fellow. Kao will receive the honor in person at the World Biomaterials Congress in Chengdu, China next month. The honorary title is conferred every four years to outstanding researchers and educators in the biomaterials field.

Kao’s work on a material platform for understanding tissue regeneration and healing drew the organization’s praise, but the award is more than just a personal honor for him. "If anything, it definitely gave everybody in the lab a dose of confidence. Doing good science can be tedious, and you have very little idea of the impact,” Kao explains. “These kinds of recognition are always good morale boosters. I want this as a chance to recognize my group.” 

The material developed by Kao and his group works as an advanced liquid bandage–a mixture of synthetic polymers and biomolecules that forms a three-dimensional superstructure around tissue damaged by burns or other injuries. This protective layer allows tissue to regenerate unimpeded by the frequent disruption caused by removal and reapplication of traditional bandages. Research into clinical applications of the material is underway with help from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) to develop a working prototype.

The fellowship is reviewed and approved by experts in the biomaterials field from all around the world, potentially elevating UW-Madison’s profile in the biomedical engineering field on a global stage. "This is just one of the many ways we hope we can elevate departmental recognition," says Kao. "That can only be good for the college as a whole too, to always be at the forefront of what people see and what they read."

Mark Riechers
5/14/2012