Carnegie Mellon University's Christopher Bettinger, PhD, assistant professor in the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, is the recipient of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Award for Initiatives in Research for his innovative work on advanced materials for next-generation implanted medical devices. Supported by Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, the NAS Award for Initiatives in Research recognizes "innovative young scientists and encourages research likely to lead toward new capabilities for human benefit." Dr. Bettinger will receive the award, which comes with a $15,000 prize, at the NAS 149th annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
"This is a wonderful honor as I continue to work to improve materials that will degrade benignly in the body, and ultimately, on materials that will sense their surroundings and respond deftly to help cure disease," said Dr. Bettinger, an affiliated faculty member of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Dr. Bettinger has worked at the interface of materials science and biomedical engineering for more than 10 years. He has conceived and produced a number of innovations that aim to better integrate medical devices with the human body. These technologies include new synthetic materials that mimic the natural properties of soft tissue and biodegradable electronics that could usher in a new era of electronically active implants. His work is designed to lead to broader advances in the field of medical devices to reduce the burden of human disease and improve quality of life.
The NAS is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and — with the National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council — provides science, technology, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.
Also, Dr. Bettinger is one of 35 researchers worldwide to be recognized by Technology Review magazine as a TR35 honoree for his innovative work in materials science and biomedical engineering. The award recognizes the world's top innovators under the age of 35, spanning energy, medicine, computing, communications, nanotechnology, and other emerging fields.
"This is a tremendous honor for me as I continue to hone my skills and research for developing technologies that will improve the field of medical devices and the patients these devices serve," said Dr. Bettinger.
Dr. Bettinger was selected as a member of the TR35 class of 2011 by a panel of expert judges and the editorial staff of Technology Review, which evaluated more than 300 nominations. He joined other TR35 honorees in discussing their achievements at the emtechMIT2011 conference at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"Technology innovation is key to driving growth and progress in the areas of research, medicine, business, and economics," said Jason Pontin, editor-in-chief and publisher of Technology Review. "This year's group of TR35 recipients is driving the next wave of transformative technology and making an impact on the way we live, work, and interact. We look forward to profiling and working with these technology leaders each year, and watching their continued advancement in their receptive fields."