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Award-winning Prestigious National Academy of Engineering Member Joins Florida Tech Faculty

03/07/2013

MELBOURNE, FLA. – Florida Institute of Technology welcomes world-renowned scientist Larry Hench as University Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering. Hench, who specializes in bio-ceramics, is the second faculty member to join Florida Tech who holds a prestigious membership in the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). The NAE recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to the engineering field and to the advancement of new technological fields. The other Florida Tech NAE member is University Professor Martin Glicksman.

Born in Ohio in 1938, Hench received his bachelor's degree in 1961 and doctoral degree in 1964 in ceramic engineering from The Ohio State University. After 32 years on the faculty, Hench retired from the University of Florida as Emeritus Professor to join Imperial College London, University of London, as chair of ceramic materials. There, he co-founded and co-directed the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Centre for 10 years.

In 1969 Hench discovered Bioglass, the first man-made material to bond to living tissues, which is now clinically used throughout the world to repair bones, joints and teeth. Prior to this discovery, all materials used in medicine or dentistry could be tolerated by the body only by forming a non-adherent fibrous layer to isolate living tissues from the foreign material.

Discoveries made by Hench and his colleagues in the 1980s and 1990s have resulted in numerous Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approvals. In the mid-‘80s the FDA approved the use of bioactive glass devices to reconstruct the ossicular chain (part of the middle ear) and restore hearing. A subsequent FDA approval led to bioactive glass implants to replace teeth to maintain jaw stability and repair maxillo-facial bone defects. In the ‘90s the FDA approved the use of a particulate form of bioactive glass that led to regenerating new bone to repair bone defects caused by periodontal disease. Numerous FDA approved applications in orthopedic surgery include repair of bone defects following revision surgery of failed hip and knee prostheses, and spinal repair.

Hench, who has dedicated more than 40 years to his work, has earned many international awards, published 800 research papers, 30 books and has 32 U.S. patents. Twelve companies have been founded based upon technology created in Hench’s laboratories and the commercial products have led to numerous advanced technology awards. He is also an author of a series of children's books featuring Boing-Boing the Bionic Cat and educational materials such as workbooks, experiment books and hands-on kits to stimulate interest in science, engineering and technology.

Hench has chaired 13 national and international conferences and symposia. In addition to his NAE membership, he is a member of the World Academy of Ceramics and a fellow of numerous professional societies including the American Ceramic Society, Society of Glass Technology, Institute of Materials and Royal Society of Chemistry. He is a Distinguished Life Member of the American Ceramic Society and has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering by the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology.

About National Academy of Engineering

Founded in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. The mission of the NAE is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology. The NAE has more than 2,000 peer-elected members and foreign associates, senior professionals in business, academia, and government who are among the world’s most accomplished engineers. They provide the leadership and expertise for numerous projects focused on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. For more information, visit www.nae.edu.

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