OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA. – A multidisciplinary team of researchers recently received a $33.6 million grant from the Department of Energy’s Basic Energy Sciences program to construct a novel imaging platform that could advance discoveries in medicine, dentistry, materials science, and engineering.
The team is led by principal investigator Adrian Brügger, Ph.D., the director of the Robert A. W. Carleton Strength of Materials Laboratory, and faculty in the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at Columbia University. Fernando Luis Esteban Florez, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D., a tenured associate professor and head of the Division of Dental Biomaterials at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry, is the leader of the project’s medical and dental applications team.
The project is known as CUPI2D, short for “Complex, Unique and Powerful Imaging Instrument for Dynamics.” The funding from the Department of Energy will support the instrument’s construction at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
“CUPI2D could have a transformative impact on scientific studies such as energy storage and conversion such as for batteries and fuel cells, engineering materials, including additive manufacturing and advanced superalloys, as well as biological, medical and dental applications,” Esteban Florez said. “The instrument will integrate a number of traditional and novel techniques that will advance the fields of medicine and dentistry because it will reveal how complex mechanics impact the fate and longevity of different types of biomaterials used in both fields. This will positively influence the development of novel biomaterials with long-term antibacterial and biomimetic properties.”
Current dental biomaterials cannot remain antibacterial for extended periods of time, meaning most can only be used for as little as a few weeks up to a few months. Esteban Florez and collaborators with the Center for Nanophase and Materials Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed an antimicrobial nanofilled dental adhesive resin that is a breakthrough discovery toward advancing broadscale development of longer-lasting dental biomaterials that can make significant impacts on oral health. This collaborative effort generated three international patents and has been published in six high-impact factor peer-reviewed academic journals, including two Scientific Reports published in the esteemed journal Nature.
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