Thomas Horbett, PhD

University of Washington


Professor Horbett did research and teaching in biomaterials for over 40 years at the University of Washington in Seattle after receiving his PhD in biochemistry at the same institution in 1970. He received many NIH grants and published many original research articles and also was an editor on several books related to his main research area of protein adsorption to biomaterials. His research was often done in collaboration with Buddy Ratner and Allan Hoffman. His academic appointments were in bioengineering and chemical engineering. He received the Society for Biomaterials Award for Research in 1989 and became a fellow of that society in 1994 and the world congress of biomaterials in 1996. He became a fellow of the American Institute for Biomedical Engineering in 1995. He was lucky to have had many fine students and postdoctoral fellows over the years, who were the lead authors on most of his publications. Professor Horbett also did original research on controlled delivery of insulin from glucose sensitive membranes in collaboration with Buddy Ratner, for which he was awarded the 1989 Distinguished Lecturer in Controlled Drug-Delivery, College of Pharmacy, Rutgers University. Horbett's research on protein adsorption was typically done in conjunction with parallel studies of cell interactions with biomaterials, with many studies focusing on blood platelets. The University of Washington's longstanding commitment to world class research was a major reason for the success of Porfessor Horbett's career. Another major factor in his success was his early adoption of I-125 radiobelling of proteins as I-125 as this enabled the detection of the trace amounts of proteins that adsorb to biomaterials.