About Dr. Anderson

Dr-James-M-AndersonThe 2013 Acta Biomaterialia Gold Medal has been awarded to Dr. James M. Anderson.

Dr. Anderson is Distinguished University Professor, Professor of Pathology, Macromolecular Science, and Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. In addition, he is a practicing pathologist in the Department of Pathology, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, in Cleveland. His research interests range from his activity as a pathologist in clinical implant retrieval and evaluation, to the in vivo evaluation and biocompatibility study of biomaterials and drug delivery systems, to fundamental, mechanistic studies focused on developing a better understanding of tissue, cell, and blood interactions with biomaterials. Dr. Anderson received his M.D. degree from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (1976) and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Oregon State University (1967).

In addition to NIH research grants, Dr. Anderson has been the recipient of a NIH/NHLBI Research Career Development Award (1980-1985) and a NIH/NHLBI MERIT Award (1993-2003). He has 313 peer-reviewed publications, 80 published book chapters, and an “H-index” of greater than 50 and over 9300 citations. A constant theme that runs through Dr. Anderson’s research is the safety of medical devices and implants, and the identification of in vivo mechanisms that lead to the clinical success or failure of medical devices. In particular, his focus is on the inflammatory, wound healing, and foreign body reactions to medical devices and implants. In this regard, he is often sought out as a consultant to the FDA, NIH, and the medical device and pharmaceutical industries.

One example of his research having a significant clinical impact is identification of the cell-mediated biodegradation mechanism of polyurethane pacemaker leads. This body of work by Dr. Anderson and his associates has led to a paradigm shift in the pacemaker industry in their understanding and use of polyurethane materials and their susceptibility to failure.

In 1983, Dr. Anderson and colleagues developed the cage implant system for the quantitative evaluation of the in vivo temporal variation of biomaterial biocompatibility, biodegradation/biostability, controlled release systems, surface dependent macrophage adhesion and foreign body giant cell formation, stability and function of ion-selective membranes and biosensors, and cytokine-modulated cell-material interactions. Over the past two decades, others have utilized this system to address questions and issues related to biomaterial biocompatibility.

Regarding NIH research support, Dr. Anderson received his first NIH R01 grant in 1970, and in 2010, received notification of funding for 4 years of his NIH R01 lymphocyte/macrophage grant. Faculty at CWRU who have received continuous NIH support for their research activities for 45 years are very rare.

Dr. Anderson is a member of the Institute of Medicine, National Academies of Science (2003). It is significant to note that elected membership in the Institute of Medicine is not limited to research activities alone but must include demonstrated and continued involvement with the issues of healthcare, prevention of disease, education, or research as well as skills and resources likely to contribute to the Institute’s tasks of assessing current knowledge, conducting studies, and considering policy issues. Dr. Anderson has served on National Research Council committees for the Postmarket Surveillance of Pediatric Medical Devices, Safe Medical Devices for Children; Ranking FDA Product Categories Based on Health Consequences; and Biomaterials for Military Medical Needs. In addition, he has been an invited speaker to workshops and public meetings sponsored by the National Research Council. Evidence of his commitment to safe medical devices is further given by his efforts since 1990 as Chair of the International Standards Organization (ISO) Committee TC-194; ISO Standard 10993-1, Biological Evaluation of Medical Devices- Part 1: Evaluation and Testing Within a Risk Management Process. It is noteworthy that this is the first Standard accepted by the FDA’s Center for Radiological Health and Devices for the identification of safety/biocompatibility (1995).

In 1993 he was inducted as a Founding Fellow of AIMBE, the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, which recognizes the top 2% of the field. This past year he was elected to the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in the Engineering section, and was cited “for leadership of the international biomaterials community, biomedical engineering, and for significant contributions to the clinical use of biomaterials”. Dr. Anderson is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians (2008). The election to the AAP is based upon an individual’s pursuit of medical knowledge and the advancement through experimentation and discovery of basic and clinical science and their application to clinical medicine. In 2006, he received the Honoris Causa (honorate Doctor of Philosophy degree) from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and the Chugai Mentoring Award from the American Society for Investigative Pathology. In 2005, he was the recipient of the Elsevier Gold Medal Award for the most significant overall contributions to biomaterials science by an individual from 1980 to 2005. Dr. Anderson has been President of both the Society for Biomaterials (USA) and the Controlled Release Society. He is the recipient of the Founders Award from both of these Societies in 1997. Dr. Anderson is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, Part A.

In teaching and education, Dr. Anderson has been responsible for the training of many undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral researchers over several decades. In Biomedical Engineering, he has graduated 11 Ph.D. and 8 Master’s degree students. In Macromolecular Science and Engineering, he has graduated 8 Ph.D. and 9 Master degree students. In addition to these he has supervised countless other undergraduates of both departments. Dr. Anderson was responsible for the creation of, and has continued to teach in EBME 406 Polymers in Medicine; a course that set the pace for biomaterial education at Case Western Reserve University for the past 40 years. This course is a popular elective and capstone in the Polymeric Biomaterials and the Tissue Engineering sequences, in which close to half of the 400+ undergraduates participate.

This course, created in 1970, was the first of its kind in the world, as it recognized that polymeric materials would play a major role in medicine and that engineers would be responsible for helping shape that role.

Dr. Anderson will receive the 2013 Acta Biomaterialia Gold Medal Award (which recognizes undisputed world leaders who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in biomaterials, including basic science and translation to practice) during the Society for Biomaterials Annual Meeting in Boston, MA in April 2013.