Biting into the future challenges in biomaterials

Group of enthusiastic biomaterials researchers and microbiologists joined their forces last week to discuss the future challenges related to implantable medical devices in the world without antibiotics.

Our crew is ready to face the challenge and sail towards the unknown waters of developing new medical implants for the post-antibiotic era. © FW/UiO

Department of Biomaterials was well-represented at a one-week intensive think-tank style workshop focussing on future needs for developing materials to reduce the risk biomaterial-associated infections that was funded by Centre of Advanced Study at the Norwegian Academy of Science of Letters. The central idea behind this small, informal workshop was to discuss, debate and exchange ideas regarding the underlying questions relating to the development of innovative anti-infective biomaterials for future implants within a small multidisciplinary group consisting of international scientist from pharmacists and microbiologist to materials scientists. Together the group covered a broad range of scientific disciplines needed to tackle the challenges increasing antibiotic resistance is imposing on implantable biomedical devices. 

Jessica, Manuel and Hanna joined their forces to organise the very first YoungCAS workshop.

This workshop was the first realisation of a YoungCAS project: a brand new initiative from CAS Oslo to encourage and facilitate young scientist to take part in interdisciplinary academic discourse and the project was led by our postdoc Hanna Tiainen. Apart from Hanna, the entire organising team for the workshop had a strong Biomaterials flavour to it with one of our former postdocs Manuel Gómez-Florit and our long-term collaborator and former IOB researcher Jessica Lönn-Stensrud joining Hanna as co-organisers for the workshop. Overall, the team and the participants were very happy with the arrangement and will now continue their daily research work with a totally renewed mind-set, thanks to the many discussions and debates that took place during the workshop.

- We got very good feedback from the participants regarding both the organisation and the overall outcome and usefulness of the workshop. We are very grateful for all the support and practical assistance we received from CAS Oslo for organising the workshop and making this all possible. It is not many opportunities you get as a young early career scientist to invite exactly the scientist you want to work with to spend a week discussing exactly the things you all want to discuss about! It is still hard for me to believe that it was possible for me to organise a workshop like this and I realise how fortunate I have been to have this amazing opportunity, said Hanna. 

However, the organising team felt a little bit greedy keeping the invited scientists all to themselves to discuss and brainstorm with, and so decided to give other young scientists a chance to take part in interacting with them by arranging a open seminar on the topic at the Institute of Clinical Dentistry.  

- We were particularly happy to hear that people really enjoyed the panel discussion we arranged at the end of the YoungCAS seminar. Several people have come to me afterwards telling me that they learned a lot from the discussion and that they thoroughly enjoyed taking part in such an event. Much of that is thanks to professor David Grainger, who did an outstanding job leading the panel discussion and engaging both the panellists and the audience in passionate discussion by his insightful and entertaining questions. Hopefully, we managed to inspire at least some of the students to start working on future solutions to reduce implant-related infections. I have personally learned a lot during the many roundtable discussions we had during the workshop and I wanted others to experience at least a part of that as well, Hanna continued.

When the Norwegian summer weather smiles at you, you should smile back and have a debate about the use of antibiotics as means of preventing implant-related infections outdoors. And that's exactly what our microbiologists Joe and Jessica made us do. © FW/UiO
Sometimes you have to climb high...© JW/UiO
...to see things from a new perspective. © JW/UiO
It wasn't always easy keeping up with the organisers and their fast-paced and intensive programme for the workshop. © JW/UiO
Bryan Coad from University of Adelaide pointed out that it would have actually been a shorter distance for him to come through the Earth instead of flying to Oslo to come and join our workshop. We very much appreciate that he still decided to travel 15 400 km to come and talk about microbes and surfaces with us. © JW/UiO
David Grainger from University of Utah let the audience in on some of the workshop group's inside jokes during his presentation on effectiveness of silver as antibacterial agent. Such a 'fungi'. © JW/UiO
Joe Latimer from University of Salford showing his love for bacteria. © JW/UiO
Pedro Inácio from University of Helsinki gave a presentation on pharmacovigilance. This turned out to be such a burning hot topic that it even set the fire alarms on. © JW/UiO
Rui Domingues from University of Minho entertained us with an even hotter topic setting the fire alarms of twice during his presentation..!
An improvised outdoor panel discussion on led by David Grainger concluded the YoungCAS seminar and engaged an audience of future biomaterials scientists. © JW/UiO
Future challenges in development of implantable biomaterials for the post-antibiotic era made the panel members Pedro, Bryan, Joe and Rui somewhat pensive. © JW/UiO
Audience participation both spiced up the panel discussion and also kept the engaged audience entertained. © JW/UiO

All photos by Jonas Wengenroth and Florian Weber / Department of Biomaterials, UiO.

This workshop was fully funded by CAS Oslo.

Tags: Biomaterials, CAS, youngCAS, Biofilm, implants
Published July 12, 2017 6:24 PM - Last modified Sep. 7, 2017 12:42 PM