Today my grandson turns four. (Happy birthday Grand-Boy!) He loves to talk, and he is always interacting with anyone who will listen (even if they are not quite living anymore—see image above).

He’s still young, so we don’t know yet how he did in the hereditary lottery, but we won’t be surprised if he needs eyeglasses and orthodontics, and gets creaky knees. However, he is likely to have better options for addressing health issues than his older relatives, and might even avoid the “blessings from the ancestors” altogether, thanks to the tremendous explosion of discovery underway in the healthcare field.

Besides pharmaceuticals, much medical intervention today depends on materials, whether for appliances, such as contact lenses; surgical implants, such as knee prostheses and pacemakers; or to promote healing, such as some brands of toothpaste.

The stakes are high—human health is on the line, and the industry is heavily regulated, fast moving, and expensive. Financial and medical success turns on many factors, chief among them being innovation.

Grand-Boy would feel right at home at the ACerS Innovations in Biomedical Materials: Focus on Ceramics in a few weeks, July 30–August 1. Organizers planned a conference with maximum interaction between presenters and attendees with panel discussions instead of symposia tracks. Plenary talks will lead into a series of panel discussions. After a short presentation by each panel expert, a moderator will lead a facilitated discussion between the panelists and audience.

Plenary and panel speakers come largely from industry—Medtronic, NovaBone Products, Prosidyan, Mo-Sci, Ultramet, The Spine Institute, MH2 Technology Law Group, and more. Their expertise springs from dealing every day with challenges in this business. They know what they are talking about.

Even the poster session is organized to encourage exchange of ideas with a “rapid-fire” format. Presenters will give a two-minute overview in a session before the actual poster session begins. This will orient the audience to make maximum use of the poster session that follows.

The panel discussions are organized into seven topics covering a wide range of materials-dependent medical technology:

  1. Orthopedics
  2. New Technologies
  3. Regulatory, Patents and Intellectual Property
  4. Radiotherapeutics
  5. Clinical Testing
  6. Bioceramic Testing
  7. Dental Applications

Four plenary speakers will give talks on:

  • Hyun Bae, MD—“Surgical Trends”
  • Larry Hench, professor—“Affordable Healthcare? Role of Bioceramic Technology”
  • Safdar Khan, MD—“Clinical Testing”
  • Glenn Stiegman—“The Current Regulatory Environment”

Besides the panel discussion sessions and poster event, organizers built in ample networking breaks to continue the exchange of ideas.

The conference is in Columbus, Ohio—easy to get to from almost anywhere, and registration is still open for the July 30–August 1 meeting.

Grand-Boy is far too young for this conversation-rich conference. But, he may still be a beneficiary, depending on what medical research comes up with to counter what the ancestors contributed.