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August 05, 2010

W. Gregory Sawyer Keynote on Tribology in Biology at 2010 IJTC Meeting

Greg Sawyer, PhD, Professor and Distinguished Teaching Scholar at the University of Florida will present the Keynote Luncheon Address during the 2010 International Joint Tribology Conference, October 18-20 at the Hilton San Francisco Financial District in San Francisco, California. Doctor Sawyer’s topic is The Tribology in Biology.
According to Sawyer, The human body is an extremely complex moving mechanical assembly of living tissue, with a myriad of contacting interfaces that enable biological function and healthy life from a blink to a heartbeat. By-and-large engineering to date has provided metal and plastic replacement alternatives for biological systems in need of repair. Today there is substantial enthusiasm for regenerative medicine, gene therapy, and other biological alternatives to the current state-of-the-art in medicine. These new biological approaches posses numerous tribological complexities that are often associated with system level biological function. Exciting advances over the past decade enabled tribologists the opportunity to consider macroscopic interfaces in atomic and molecular terms. These developments have entailed ultra-low force measurements that are sensitive to the rupture of single chemical bonds and friction measurements spatially resolved to the level of individual atoms. The opportunity now exists to address the role of tribological action within biological systems, seeking to characterize, understand, and exploit, cellular interfaces and interactions on a molecular scale.
Soft biological materials are often used in applications that involve contact and relative motion. The cornea is prime example of a natural tribological system. The cornea is the optical portal to the visual system and it forms a dense, transparent connective tissue barrier that protects the eye. The cornea experiences approximately 8 million blinks per year. Lubrication and maintenance of the proper cellular and extracellular matrix composition of the cornea is essential to its function. The external surface of the cornea is lined with a thin epithelium composed of 5-6 layers of fibroblastic cells that form a protective layer over the corneal stroma. These cells rapidly regenerate the epithelium following injury. This talk with present some new experiments that have measured the friction on living corneal epithelial cells under contact.

Sawyer, a graduate of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1999 joined the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Florida in 1999. A noted author and contributor to tribology programs, Sawyer was a member of the IJTC Conference Planning Committee, serving as chair for the 2008 Conference. 

Registration and hotel reservations are now available through the IJTC website by clicking on this link. http://www.asmeconferences.org/IJTC2010/ or through the STLE Webiste, www.stle.org.

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