Our lab develops technologies to improve oral and systemic health through the use of smart (stimuli-responsive) biomaterials.
Our work navigates along three areas including bioengineering & materials science, microbiology and molecular biology all applied in dental and bone applications
--- Bioresponsive Biomaterials for Antibacterial, Antifungal and Tissue Regeneration ---
After nearly seven decades of research, dental composites restorations continue to show limited clinical service, with more than 50% of placed bonded restorations failing in less than 10 years. The triggering point for restoration failure is the degradation of the bond at the tooth-biomaterial interface. All the materials at this interface (hard dental tissue, adhesives, and resins) suffer from chemical, biological, and mechanical degradation. As a result, gaps are formed facilitating the infiltration of saliva and bacteria, and consequently, secondary caries.
To mitigate the risk of restoration failure, improving the seal and bonding of biomaterials to dental hard tissues is critical. Removing bacteria/biofilms at the bonded interface will prevent the (bio)chemical degradation of the materials, and thus, increases the clinical service of restorations.
We have and continue to develop new antibacterial antifungal, and remineralization technologies. We have experience working with quaternary ammonium, silver and hydroxyapatite nanoparticles, dimethylaminohexadecyl methacrylate (DMAHDM).
To test our materials and the bonding strength, we have an unique rig that subjects bonded samples to cyclic loading while submerged in liquid culture of bacteria (or saliva, or fungi). The setup enable us to study the effect of different degradative factors working in synergy.
---- Targeted Modulation of the Oral Microbiome ----
Currently, we are developing bio-responsive biomaterials that target specific pathogenic species present in relevant oral diseases such as caries or periodontal disease. We aim to restore the microbiome balance and prevent the progression of disease by eliminating these organisms.
We use a combination of microbiology technics with omics-technologies to assesses changes in the microbiome induced by our biomaterials
--- Platforms for Oral Drug Delivery ----
We have developed a chitosan capsule that is tailored to be biodegraded by saliva in a controlled fashion. The capsule contains medications, which will be delivered systematically thru the body via mucosal diffusion.
--- Oral Biosensors ----
We are currently collaborating to design and develop wearable biosensors capable of recording data such as sodium (state of well being), glucose (state of diet) and saliva (dehydration and fatigue levels)