Dr. Christopher Batich: Bioguard Inventor’s Distinguished Career and Legacy at the University of Florida 

Chris Batich, Ph.D.After more than 40 years at the University of Florida, Christopher Batich, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering, retired in September 2023. Dr. Batich’s pioneering work has left an indelible mark on the fields of materials science, biomedical engineering and healthcare.  

 After earning his doctorate in organic chemistry from Rutgers University in 1974 and a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Basel in Switzerland, Dr. Batich worked as a staff scientist at DuPont’s Central Research Department. He joined UF in 1980, where, in addition to his research and teaching, he was the founding director of the Graduate Biomedical Engineering Program, which eventually became UF’s Biomedical Engineering Department. He later served as the founding associate director and chief operating officer of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.  

 Dr. Batich’s innovative contributions are perhaps most evident through his invention of Bioguard®, an anti-bacterial surface treatment material. This product has since established itself as a clinically used method of care as an advanced wound dressing and a bacterial barrier. It was adopted in multiple burn units and nursing homes throughout the United States and was developed with co-inventors at UF and in a local start-up company. 

“Bioguard® led to a truly new kind of antimicrobial surface. The FDA had a meeting about advanced wound dressings in 2016, and every one of the several hundred products on the market released something into the wound. Several of the agents released had a negative effect on wound healing, and Bioguard® was the only one which killed bacteria on contact without releasing anything,” Dr. Batich said. “Some earlier technologies could also do that, but they were inactivated by proteins released in a wound. We found that Bioguard® did not have that limitation.” 

Beyond Bioguard®, Dr. Batich’s diverse research portfolio spans the analysis of polymeric materials and the development of drug delivery systems for neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s. He also worked with John Catanzaro, MD, at UF Health Jacksonville to create a device aimed at preventing complications associated with cardiac ablation. More recently, Dr. Batich collaborated with Philip Koehler, Ph.D., and Roberto Pereira, Ph.D., from the UF Entomology and Nematology Department and scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, focusing on protection against disease-carrying mosquitoes. Their combined efforts led to a commercialized mosquito-killing device.

Dr. Batich was elected as a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and holds 56 U.S. patents. In 2020, he was inducted into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame, recognizing his contributions to science, technology and medicine.  

Now a professor emeritus, Dr. Batich’s decades of dedication to advancing science and biomedical engineering have not only improved lives but also inspired his countless students to continue pursuing their own dreams of innovation.