Ong is a leading educator and researcher in biomedical engineering who has trained and mentored several generations of engineers in the design of innovative medical devices. He was the founder of the undergraduate program in biomedical engineering at UTSA and was the first chair of the department of biomedical engineering, now the department of biomedical engineering and chemical engineering. He was also co-director of the joint graduate program in biomedical engineering offered by UTSA and UT Health San Antonio.
Ong has secured total funding of over $ 40 million to support its UTSA research programs. He is recognized for his innovations in medical devices using biomaterials and holds nine US patents (three utility patents and six provisional patents) as well as four international utility patents. One of the latter is licensed to an American medical device company.
His most important patent, “Double Layer Bone Shaped Scaffoldingâ(US8916228B2), describes a methodology to meet a critical need to save injured limbs of wounded soldiers on the battlefield by preparing and using new double-layered bone-shaped scaffolds. Previous clinical processes have used cadaver bone as implants, treatments that have been associated with serious complications including infections, poor fit, and limited availability of cadaver bone. Ong focused his research on the design and manufacture of synthetic fillers for large bone defects, which reduced the complications associated with cadaver bone. Its solution provides tailor-made fillers that reduce the risk of infection and disease transmission to recipients. This innovation has resulted in better recovery after surgery and improved quality of life for military patients and their families.
Ong also co-founded GenOsteo Inc, a start-up that has developed and marketed medical products to help military personnel who have suffered traumatic injuries. The impact of Ong’s contributions is particularly significant for San Antonio, a city with a large military community.
Ong received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa, and his master’s and doctorate. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has co-authored 160 peer-reviewed publications, one textbook, one edited book, 16 additional book chapters, and over 284 abstracts. In addition, he has participated in over 50 guest and lead presentations at national and international conferences and meetings.
Ong is a member of three professional societies: the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the Biomedical Engineering Society, and the International Union of Societies for the Science and Engineering of Biomaterials. He is also deputy editor-in-chief of Journal of Biomedical Materials Research: Part B and is a past president of the Implantology Research Group of the International Association for Dental Research.
“Academy membership is a public recognition by our academic and research peers of the accomplishments of our faculty, and recognition by the National Academy of Inventors is a key indicator of successful innovation and commercialization,” said declared Bernard Arulanandam, vice-president of research, economic development and the knowledge enterprise at UTSA. “Dr. Ong’s selection illustrates the quality and immediate benefits of the cutting-edge work he has done in biomedical engineering to meet the great challenges of healthcare.
The NAI Fellows program shines a spotlight on academic inventors who have demonstrated a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating exceptional inventions that have had a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development and well-being of the society. To date, NAI Fellows hold more than 48,000 issued US patents, which have generated more than 13,000 licensed technologies and companies and created more than one million jobs. Over $ 3 trillion in revenue has been generated based on NAI Fellow’s findings.