Basic Materials Research and New Technology in Orphopaedic Reconstructions
Professor and Chair
Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Does new basic materials knowledge drive technology innovation or do emerging technology needs motivate the creation of new knowledge and new materials? In this talk we will discuss two different experiences stemming my own research in shape memory materials. In the field of bone fracture fixation and fusion, basic science research aimed at understanding a vexing materials phenomenon “unintentionally” created knowledge that enabled a shape memory alloy product breakthrough. On the other hand, in the field of soft tissue ACL reconstruction, a known product need unleashed a flurry of basic materials research aimed at creating and understanding a new class of medical grade shape memory polymers. I will tell both stories from a historical perspective, highlighting the critical basic materials science discoveries and commercialization challenges throughout.
Ken Gall is currently the Chair of the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Department at Duke University. Professor Gall’s technical expertise is in the mechanical properties of materials, and his contributions to the scientific community range from the discovery of a new phase transformation in gold nanowires to the creation and understanding of several new functional biomaterials. He has over 180 peer-reviewed publications with a publication H-index of 53. He is a passionate entrepreneur who has several dozen patents and has founded two medical device start-up companies, MedShape and Vertera. He is actively involved in both companies who are commercializing university technologies in the orthopedic medical device space.