[Image above] Professor of materials science and engineering and ACerS Fellow John Mauro shared his insights at ACerS Short Course “Introduction to Machine Learning for Materials Science.” Credit: ACerS


MS&T18 closed yesterday after welcoming more than 3,200 attendees, 92 vendors, and thousands of presentations.

The American Ceramic Society also held its 120th Annual Meeting during MS&T. The Annual Meeting encompasses the Board of Directors meeting, award lectures, Division executive committee and business meetings, annual members meeting and awards banquet, along with many committee meetings, and the annual meeting of the President’s Council of Student Advisors.

It was a busy week!

Again this year, the Orton Lecture award winner served as ACerS’ speaker for the conference plenary session. The award committee made an excellent selection in choosing Cato T. Laurencin, M.D, Ph.D. Laurencin’s spoke on “Regenerative Engineering: Materials in Convergence.” He defined convergence as the “coming together of insights and applications from originally distinct areas to create new science.”

Regenerative engineering—the engineered regeneration of tissue—meets the criteria of new science and results from work he and others have done that knits together materials science, nanotechnology, physiology, stem cell science, and medicine.

This new science could impact healing and quality of life for millions of people. For example, about 2.4 million people suffer burn injuries every year, and 8,000–10,000 do not survive. Researchers are developing an electrospun nanofiber matrix to repair damaged skin tissue. Other applications include shoulder rotator cuff repairs, which are only 30–40% successful, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repairs, and bone regeneration.

The common theme with these diverse applications is the interaction between the engineered materials and the body, which combine materials nanotechnology and stem cell science. For example, using a two-polymer biodegradable nanofiber composite to deliver stem cells improves cellular interactions and encourages differentiation of stem cells to promote tissue regeneration and healing.

“Stem cells are changing the local environment and immune system; they act locally to make things happen,” Laurencin says. “The immune system is locally changed and the more primordial environment allows regeneration to occur.”

And, in case you are wondering from whence the stem cells come, they come from the patient’s own fat.

Other ACerS-related award lectures at MS&T included the Friedberg Lecture by Jennifer Lewis, Rustum Roy Lecture by David Morse, Basic Science Division Sosman Lecture by Jürgen Rodel, the Fulrath Award Symposium, and the GOMD Cooper Symposium. All contributions this year were exceptionally good and well-received.

On Monday, President Mike Alexander led the annual membership meeting and reported on Society activities and finances. New officers and Board members were sworn in, and outgoing leaders were recognized. Alexander talked about the importance to the Society of the “triple helix” of government, industry, and academia. “The efforts of these groups are not completed if they don’t have the support of the other two groups,” he says.

Treasurer Dan Lease reported that the Society is financially healthy, enjoys a strong asset position, and carries no debt.

Incoming president Sylvia Johnson outlined her goals for the year, which include continuing the momentum of existing initiatives while ensuring that membership in the Society is a rewarding experience for all. Look for a more detailed profile of Johnson and her goals in the January–February 2019 ACerS Bulletin.

Alexander closed by recognizing the retirement of executive director Charlie Spahr and announcing the appointment of Mark Mecklenborg as the new executive director in January. Spahr told the members, “I always considered it to be a privilege to be the executive director. I’ve made a lot of good friends here, and this has been the highlight of my career.”

The Monday evening awards banquet gave members, colleagues, family, and friends the opportunity to recognize members who have made significant contributions to the discipline and to the Society. Please see the ACerS website for award details.

Plans are well underway for next year’s Annual Meeting and MS&T19, and we hope you will join us September 29–October 3 in Portland, Ore.

And, for those looking farther ahead, save the dates for MS&T20 (October 4–8 in Pittsburgh, Pa.) and MS&T21 (October 17–21, Columbus, Ohio).

Society members recognize retiring executive director Charlie Spahr with a warm applause and a standing ovation at Monday’s Annual Meeting. Credit: ACerS

President Michael Alexander reports on the state of the Society, and incoming president Sylvia Johnson outlines her goals for the 2018–2019 term. Credit: ACerS

Cato Laurencin delivers the ACerS Orton Lecture at Tuesday’s conference plenary session on the subject of regenerative engineering of tissue. Credit: ACerS

The crowd at the Awards Banquet gave the honorees a standing ovation. Credit: ACerS

Executive director Charlie Spahr presents outgoing president Mike Alexander with a certificate of appreciation for his service during the past year. Credit: ACerS

The exhibit floor was busy with vendors discussing their products and services with prospective clients. Credit: ACerS

After a long day of technical sessions, MS&T18 attendees enjoyed a networking happy hour. Credit: ACerS