Polish Society for Biomaterials

The history of the Polish Society for Biomaterials (PSB) dates back to the early 90s of the twentieth century when, among the people involved in designing and testing of materials for medicine, the idea of creating an organization bringing together scientists, doctors, and entrepreneurs interested in all aspects of biomaterials was born. The founding meeting of 28 participants was held on 26th October 1995, during the VI Conference "Carbon and Ceramic Biomaterials" in Rytro, Poland. At the request of the Founding Committee, by the decision of the Provincial Court in Krakow, the Society was entered into the register of associations on 29th February 1996. The Polish Society for Biomaterials operates in accordance with the Act of 7th April 1989 - Law on Associations (Journal of Law of the Republic of Poland, No. 20, item 4) and on the basis of the Statute of the Society. Since 2004, the Polish Society for Biomaterials has been affiliated with the European Society for Biomaterials (established in 1976).

The first General Assembly of the PSB members was held on 18th May 1996. During this meeting, the Society's Authorities, i.e. the Council, the Audit Commission, and the Arbitration Committee were elected. It was decided that Dr. Emil Staszków, MD – orthopedic physician, a pioneer in the use of carbon materials in reconstructive surgery of the musculoskeletal system – will be the first President of the Polish Society for Biomaterials. He served as the head of the Society for 16 years, until 2013. Next, the position was appointed to Professor Jan Chłopek - Head of the Department of Biomaterials and Composites, Faculty of Materials Science and Ceramics, AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow. The current President of the Polish Society for Biomaterials (since 2017) is Professor Elżbieta Pamuła (Department of Biomaterials and Composites, AGH University of Science and Technology).

The objective of the Society is to cooperate in creating interdisciplinary partner relations and joint implementation of projects and initiatives serving the development of knowledge about materials for medicine, their promotion, application in theory and practice. The Society pursues its goals through scientific, research, educational and publishing activities.

Currently, the Society includes more than 200 ordinary members from all over Poland, most of whom are academics, both from the technical and medical sciences, as well as graduate and PhD students. In accordance with the Statute, the Polish Society for Biomaterials has the right to award an Honorary Member title to a person who has made distinctive contributions to the realization of the PSB objectives. So far, Honorary Membership was granted to four individuals, i.e. Professor Roman Pampuch, Professor Wojciech Maria Kuś, MD, Dr. Emil Staszków, MD., and Professor Stanisław Błażewicz.

The General Assembly of Members is held once a year, in December. During this meeting in Kraków, year-long activities of the PSB are summed up and the directions for further actions are outlined. The General Assembly of Members, as the highest authority of the Society, decides upon all major issues. Its competence includes appointment and dismissal of the Council, including the President, the Audit Commision, the Arbitration Committee, the Editor-in-Chief; nominating Honorary Members; adopting interim reports of the Council; making changes to the Statute; deciding upon members’ dues. Traditionally, the December annual meeting of the PSB is combined with the Krakow Christmas Eve Dinner. It additionally integrates the community gathered around the Polish Society for Biomaterials. It is also an excellent opportunity to establish closer, less formal contacts and exchange experiences and opinion.

One of the most important elements of the statutory activity of the Polish Society for Biomaterials is the publishing. In 1997, the Society released the first issue of the long-awaited, by the technical and medical environment, journal - "Inżynieria Biomateriałów" (in English: Engineering of Biomaterials). The position of Editor-in-Chief was appointed to Professor Stanisław Błażewicz, who managed the journal continuously until 2006. Since 2007, the journal has been published under the new English-language title "Engineering of Biomaterials" and edited by Professor Jan Chłopek. This quarterly journal publishes peer-reviewed original papers and review articles on biomaterial engineering and biomedical engineering. The journal presents the results of research on the technology of manufacturing of biomaterials and their interaction with the biological environment, aimed at improving the biocompatibility and biofunctionality of materials for medical applications. The journal is included in the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education journal’s list (20 points) and is indexed in the Index Copernicus, BazTech, Polish Medical Bibliography and Polish Scientific Bibliography databases. In 2017, the „Engineering of Biomaterials” Journal celebrated its 20th Anniversary with a Gala held during the annual conference of the PSB in Rytro. In the years 2019-2020, the journal was financed by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education within the national program "Support for scientific journals". As part of the project, the journal introduced many solutions related to increasing the journal's visibility in the international arena, as well as improving the quality of published articles and introducing a new, improved publishing policy (the use of digital objects identifiers DOI, open researcher and contributor identifiers ORCID, launching of a new journal’s website www.biomaterials.pl, implementation of "Editorial System" - an electronic manuscript submission system and "Journals System" - the system for journal’s website managing). In 2020, due to the death of Professor Jan Chłopek, a new Editor-in-Chief of the journal had to be chosen. This position was taken by prof. Elżbieta Pamuła, who has served as thematic editor for many years. The continuous development of the journal and its high scientific quality make it possible to apply for indexation in international databases of scientific journals: Scopus and Web of Science, as well as for the Impact Factor, which will be another milestone in the journal's history.

Among the first initiatives fulfilling the statutory objectives of the Polish Society for Biomaterials, the organization of biomaterials conference should be listed. For the first time, the conference called "Carbon Biomaterials" was held in 1990, in Rytro. Since then, it has been organized periodically. Due to the increasing number of new topics and the interest of scientists and medical doctors, in 1995, the scope of the conference was expanded to include ceramic materials, and the conference adopted the name "Carbon and Ceramic Biomaterials". Since 1996, the conferences have been held under the general title of "Biomaterials in Medicine and Veterinary Medicine" covering all biomaterial groups (carbon, ceramic, metallic, polymeric, composite). Conference materials are published in the "Engineering of Biomaterials" journal. About 100 participants take part in the conference each year, including a dozen foreign guests, e.g. from Belarus, the Czech Republic, Belgium, France, Greece, Ireland, Germany, the United States, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Among the participants are material engineers, technologists, chemists, as well as medical doctors of various specialties. Excellent plenary lectures, numerous oral presentations, interesting posters, as well as the accompanying scientific discussions are the inherent elements of the conference. This scientific meeting allows exchanging experiences between scientists from various research centers and facilitates cooperation between materials scientists and the medical community. In recent years, during the conference, a special session for Ph.D. students, combined with a Best Poster Competition, has been organized. It gives young scientists opportunity to present their first results of biomaterials research, confront them with the best specialists in the field, and gain experience in scientific presentations. In 2016, the conference celebrated its 25th anniversary, combined with the jubilee of scientific and teaching work of Professor Marta Błażewicz and Professor Stanisław Błażewicz, whose scientific careers were in large part devoted to biomaterials research.

Apart from the annual conferences in Rytro, the Polish Society for Biomaterials was also the organizer of the International Biomaterials Congress in 1999, which gathered about 100 participants from Poland and abroad. Experience gained during the organization of this congress and annual conferences in Rytro, in which representatives of the Council of the European Society for Biomaterials (including James Kirkpatrick, Geoff Richards, Josep Planell, Luigi Ambrosio, and Matteo Santin) were invited, allowed the Polish Society for Biomaterials to undertake efforts to organize European Biomaterials Conference in Krakow. In 2011, the ESB Council granted the Polish Society for Biomaterials the right to organize the 27th European Conference on Biomaterials in 2015. This event was a huge success of the Polish scientific community working with biomaterials. The conference was held on 30th August – 3rd September 2015, at the ICE Congress Center in Krakow. It turned out to be a great event in which nearly 1000 people participated, the vast majority of whom were foreign guests from all continents. The Organizing Committee was led by Prof. Jan Chłopek and Prof. Elżbieta Pamuła. Among the invited plenary lecturers, such eminent scientists as Prof. Maria Siemionow, who made the first successful face transplantation in the United States, or the award-winning chairman of the International College of Fellows of Biomaterials Science and Engineering, Prof. Joachim Kohn can be mentioned. In total, 8 plenary lectures, 16 "keynote" presentations, 277 oral presentations, 38 "Rapid Fire" presentations and 534 posters were presented. The conference program included 58 thematic sessions related to modern implant materials, including intelligent and antibacterial biomaterials, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, drug delivery systems, innovative solutions in the field of cancer therapy, neurodegenerative diseases, heart and circulatory system diseases, or use of stem cells. Additionally, the conference was accompanied by special sessions, during which the issues of commercialization of the results of scientific research, cooperation between science and industry, entrepreneurship of young scientists, and education in the field of biomaterials were discussed. A rich cultural program was also organized for the participants of the conference, including a concert of classical music in the St. Mary's Basilica, Keynote and Chairperson Dinner at the National Museum in the Cloth Hall and Gala Dinner at the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

As a result of the success of the ESB2015 conference and its positive reception both in Europe and worldwide, the International Society for Biomedical Polymers and Polymeric Biomaterials (ISBPPB) based in the US, addressed the Polish Society for Biomaterials with a proposal to cooperate in the organization of another` international conference. The 4th International Conference on Biomedical Polymers and Polymeric Biomaterials (ISBPPB 2018) was held on 15th-18th July 2018, at the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow. The Organizing Committee was led by Prof. Jan Chłopek (Head of the Department of Biomaterials and Composites, AGH-UST) and Prof. Elżbieta Pamuła (President of the Polish Society for Biomaterials), while the ISBPPB was represented by: Prof. Gary Bowlin (The University of Memphis, USA) and Prof. Munmaya Mishra (Altria Research Center, Virginia, USA). The conference was attended by over 250 participants from 36 countries (including Poland, USA, Korea, Turkey, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, France, Greece, Mexico and India). The scientific program included: 4 plenary lectures, 11 keynote lectures, 86 oral presentations, 22 “Rapid Fire” presentations and 131 posters. Plenary lectures were given by: prof. Sandra Van Vlierberghe (Universiteit Gent, Belgium), prof. Andreas Lendlein (Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany), prof. Eben Alsberg (Case Western Reserve University, USA) and Prof. Joachim Kohn (The New Jersey Center for Biomaterials, Rutgers, USA). Twelve thematic sessions were dedicated to the following topics: polymers for tissue engineering, orthopaedics, cardiology, wound healing and drug delivery systems, methods of obtaining innovative polymeric implant materials, their characterization, cell and tissue reaction, clinical trials and applications. The conference delegates had also an opportunity to enjoy a special social program, including Welcome Reception, Keynote and Chairperson Dinner in a traditional Polish restaurant and Gala Dinner in “Zalesie Manor”.