MSE Seminar - Professor Ken Gall - MSE, Georgia Tech

MSE Seminar
Event Date:
Monday, January 12, 2015 - 4:00pm
MARC (Callaway) Auditorium

The Chicken or The Egg: Basic Materials Research and New Technology

Ken Gall


Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA 30332


MedShape, Atlanta, GA 30318

Vertera, Atlanta, GA 30318


Abstract: Does new basic materials knowledge drive technology innovation or do emerging technology needs motivate the creation of new knowledge and new materials?  This answer to this question is simple: both.  In this talk we will discuss two different experiences stemming my own research in shape memory materials.  In the field of bone fracture fixation, 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 clear 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 interesting basic materials science and product development challenges throughout. 


Bio: Dr. Gall is a Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology with joint appointments in the School of Materials Science and Engineering, the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, and the Bioengineering Program.  He has over 160 peer-reviewed journal publications, with over 6,000 citations with an h-index of 45. He has given over 200 professional lectures. His technical expertise is in biomaterials and the mechanical properties of materials, and his contributions range from the discovery of a new phase transformation in nanometer scaled gold wires to the creation of a new class of active shape memory polymers.  He has served as a consultant to various companies including Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Labs, Boston Scientific, W.L. Gore, the US Military, and the US Intelligence Community.  Dr. Gall has also been an expert witness on dozens of patent litigations involving biomaterials.  Dr. Gall founded MedShape and Vertera, both commercializing university materials technologies.  MedShape has cleared four distinct orthopedic implants containing new materials through the FDA, all of which are being sold in the medical device market.