The Future of Biomaterials

Throughout his career, Arthur Coury has con­tributed to the devel­op­ment of implantable med­ical devices for the car­dio­vas­cular, ortho­pedic, and neu­ro­log­ical fields, among many others. A leading expert in poly­meric bio­ma­te­rials, he holds more than 50 patents that helped advance med­ical prod­ucts including car­dio­vas­cular devices, hydrogel-​​based devices, and drug delivery systems.

“Inno­va­tions pub­lished in many of my col­leagues’ and my patents are still in use today, 40 years later,” he said.

Now, Coury will bring more than four decades of indus­trial and aca­d­emic expe­ri­ence to North­eastern Uni­ver­sity as a newly appointed Uni­ver­sity Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor in the Depart­ment of Chem­ical Engi­neering. His pri­mary exper­tise lies in the under­standing of poly­mers, having worked at top med­ical device and biotech­nology com­pa­nies including Medtronic, in Min­nesota, where he served as a research fellow and the director of Polymer Tech­nology, and Gen­zyme, in Boston, where he served as vice pres­i­dent of Bio­ma­te­rials Research. In the 1970s he started the polymer group at Medtronic, where he co-​​invented the injection-​​molded polyurethane con­nector and other com­po­nents com­pa­nies still use in pacemakers.

“I would say my biggest con­tri­bu­tion is helping with the com­mer­cial­iza­tion of med­ical prod­ucts,” Coury explained.

This semester, Coury is teaching the grad­uate course “Bio­ma­te­rials: Prin­ci­ples and Appli­ca­tions.” He said he’s focused on growing the university’s bio­ma­te­rials pro­gram and teaching stu­dents about the field’s cur­rent state and future trans­for­ma­tions. Some of his lec­tures will examine how the field is shifting from replace­ment med­i­cine, like giving patients’ pace­makers or knee replace­ments, to tissue engi­neering, which includes regen­er­a­tion of tissues.

“We are seeing a lot of progress in research that would replace pace­makers with an injec­tion of cells that have been genet­i­cally engi­neered to take over the pace­maker cells that failed in the heart,” Coury noted. “The field is going to trend more and more toward engi­neering the gen­er­a­tion or restora­tion of nat­ural tis­sues and organs.”

Coury has also already worked with new col­league Tom Web­ster, a pro­fessor and chair of the Depart­ment of Chem­ical Engi­neering. Coury is the co-​​chair of the National Research Council of the National Acad­e­mies’ Round­table on Bio­med­ical Engi­neering Mate­rials and Appli­ca­tions, and he has invited Web­ster to present on nanomed­i­cine and 3-​​D printing at the group’s pre­vious meetings.

Coury earned his bach­elor of sci­ence from the Uni­ver­sity of Delaware and hisMBA and doc­torate from the Uni­ver­sity of Min­nesota, where he also pre­vi­ously held a posi­tion as an adjunct professor.

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Related Faculty: Arthur J. Coury

Related Departments:Chemical Engineering