Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Institute for Engineering and Medicine | B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Rice University

  • Engineering West Hall Room 331A 828-0190

Dr. Boyan specializes in cell and tissue engineering



Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., Executive Director, Institute for Engineering and Medicine, is a nationally acclaimed researcher and entrepreneur. Her laboratory is focused on research in all aspects of bone and cartilage biology, from basic science studies on steroid hormone signaling to the use of cells for regenerative medicine strategies, focusing on how cells interact with biomaterial surfaces. Her work in the bone and cartilage field began with studies to understand the underlying mechanisms of mineralized tissue formation. Her recent research developments include novel technologies for controlling nanotexture on metal and polymer surfaces in order to study cell responses for regenerative medicine applications as well as elucidating the mechanisms used by steroid hormones like vitamin D and estrogen and microRNAs in the regulation of bone and cartilage cells.

An industry leader and proponent of improving quality of life around the world, Boyan is the co-founder of four companies:

SpherIngenics, Inc., (cell-based therapies) as Director and Chief Scientific Officer
Orthonics, Inc., (medical devices) as Chief Scientific Officer
OsteoBiologics, Inc., (tissue engineered medical products) as Chairman and CEO, Board of Directors
Biomedical Development Corporation, (innovative medical technologies) Chief Scientific Officer

Also serving on the Board of Directors for six other companies, Boyan’s influence has helped shape many scientific advancements. These companies are:

Carticept Medical, Inc., (innovative injection devices) Independent Director, Board of Directors, and Chief Scientific Officer
Cartiva, Inc. (Cartilage repair technologies) Independent Director, Board of Directors, and Chief Scientific Officer
Commonwealth Center for Advanced Logistics Systems (CCALS), Chair of the Board
IsoTis, Inc., (Bone graft material) Independent Director, Board of Directors, and Chief Scientific Officer
IsoTis SA, (Bone graft material) Independent Director, Board of Directors
ArthroCare, Inc., (Medical devices) Independent Director, Board of Directors

She was previously associate dean for research and innovation at the Georgia Institute of Technology's College of Engineering. Boyan received her B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. while studying biology at Rice University, and holds many scholarly and national awards.

Industry Expertise

Medical Devices

Areas of Expertise

Cell and Tissue Engineering
Response of Cells to Biomaterials
Mechanisms of Action of Hormones and Growth Factors in Cartilage and Bone
Normal and Pathological Calcification
Stem Cell Delivery Technologies


Rice University’s Distinguished Bioengineering Alumna Award for 2017


The award recognizes Rice alumni whose scholarship, mentorship and innovations have made significant contributions to their professions and communities.

Fellow, National Academy of Inventors



Fellow, American Institute of Mechanical and Biological Engineering


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Rice University


Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology


Rice University


Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology


Rice University





  • National Academy of Engineering (Member)
  • National Academy of Inventors (Fellow)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (Fellow)
  • European Academy of Sciences and Arts (Fellow)
  • American Institute for Mechanical and Biological Engineering (Fellow)
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Media Appearances

Medicines for All: Revolutionizing the Global Supply Chain

Next  print


Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., the Alice T. and William H. Goodwin Jr. Dean of the College of Engineering, said, “With the creation of the pharmaceutical engineering Ph.D. program, VCU will be a national leader in the education of the pharmaceutical workforce of today and innovators leading future developments. The program will address the growing need for a new generation of researchers trained in cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary science who recognize the need for a team-based approach to solving challenges related to the design and manufacturing of pharmaceutical products.”

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Get to know Frank Gupton, founder/CEO of Medicines for All Institute at VCU

Richmond Times-Dispatch  print


“He’s a force of nature," said Barbara D. Boyan, dean of the VCU College of Engineering. And he has “changed the landscape of Richmond."

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Barbara D. Boyan column: Solving the new literacy crisis

Richmond Times-Dispatch  print


Today’s undergraduates are the most sophisticated users and consumers of technology colleges have ever seen. This is not surprising. Generation Z, those born after 1996, are digital natives. They have never known an analog world.

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Selected Articles

Change in Surface Roughness by Dynamic Shape-Memory Acrylate Networks Enhances Osteoblast Differentiation



Microscale surface roughness has been shown to enhance osseointegration of titanium implants through increased osteoblast differentiation while osteoblast proliferation remains greater on smooth titanium. Taking advantage of these phenomena, we ...

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Implant osseointegration and the role of microroughness and nanostructures: lessons for spine implants

Acta Biomaterialia


The use of spinal implants for spine fusion has been steadily increasing to avoid the risks of complications and donor site morbidity involved when using autologous bone. A variety of fusion cages are clinically available, with different shapes and chemical ...

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A review on the wettability of dental implant surfaces II: biological and clinical aspects

Acta Biomaterialia


Dental and orthopedic implants have been under continuous advancement to improve their interactions with bone and ensure a successful outcome for patients. Surface characteristics such as surface topography and surface chemistry can serve as design ...

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