Professor's Advisory

    Warren O. Haggard, Ph.D.
    University of Memphis
    Department of Biomedical Engineering

    "A student with an understanding of standards has a head start in working with and for suppliers, buyers, regulatory agents, the military, and so on, who use standards to specify many materials and products."

    At what university and in what department do you teach?
    I teach in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Memphis, Memphis, Tenn.

    What is the nature of the courses you teach?
    I teach biomaterials, advanced biomaterials, and portions of life sciences for biomedical engineering students.

    What year did you join ASTM International? In which committees are you active? Are you a committee officer?
    An ASTM International member since 1993, I work on Committee F04 on Medical and Surgical Materials and Devices and a number of its subcommittees, including:
    F04.11 on Polymeric Materials,
    F04.13 on Ceramic Materials,
    F04.22 on Arthroplasty,
    F04.41 on Classification and Terminology for TEMPS,
    F04.42 on Biomaterials and Biomolecules for TEMPS,
    F04.43 on Cells and Tissue Engineered Constructs for TEMPS, and
    F04.44 on Assessment for TEMPS.
    TEMPS are tissue engineered medical products, and I am also the vice chair of the Division IV group, Subcommittee F04.40, which is TEMPS administration.
    I have also been involved with both the materials test methods subcommittee and the biocompatibility test methods subcommittee.

    What are some advantages of your participation in standards development?
    Standards development allows me to impact new materials and medical device development and interface with my academic, industrial and regulatory colleagues for a common goal of improving medical devices and materials.

    Do you incorporate standards, ASTM or otherwise, into your curriculum? If so, what types? How are they implemented (case studies, research, other)? What is the value of doing so?
    Yes, I incorporate standards in my courses, specifically primary material specifications, which are used as testing methods and as research tools for graduate student research projects. For example, one of our graduate students is using ASTM corrosion and material guidelines and standards in his master's research project. These ASTM standards, with their detailed and tested methods, are a critical component in this medical device research project.

    Have you worked in industry, either past or currently? If so, in what capacity? What role did standards play in this experience?
    Yes. I worked in the battery and medical device industries for more than 20 years, initially as an entry-level engineer, rising to the position of vice president for research. In my work we used standards almost every day.
    In a typical day in my industrial job, I would use the
    F 648 standard on ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene to review the impact strength specification for a comparison to a new polyethylene's impact strength; F 2038 on silicone elastomers for the physical property testing information; and compare the F 67 standard on commercially pure titanium to a vendor's specification.

    Have you been involved in research, either past or presently? If so, in what capacity? What role did standards play in this research?
    All my employment has been in research and development, as a battery engineer/product development engineer and as a vice president of research. Again, we used ASTM and other standards nearly every day in our research, development, regulatory and quality assurance activities.

    What advantages do you see for students to have an understanding of standards and their development?
    Suppliers, buyers, multiple regulatory agents, military, and so on, use standards to specify many materials and products. A student with an understanding of standards has a head start in working with and for these groups and companies.

    In your view, should a familiarity with standards be required for graduate-level education, particularly in engineering, law and business disciplines? Would this assist in gaining professional success?
    Definitely yes for engineering! A familiarity with standards would make a difference in gaining professional success. It would also be helpful for legal folks.