Penn Dental's big plans for oral health innovation

The University of Pennsylvania's School of Dental Medicine in Philadelphia is planning major projects to drive innovation in the oral health industry at its Center for Innovation and Precision Dentistry.

The center, which was launched in January in collaboration with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, is advancing its efforts to combine dentistry and technology to solve oral health challenges. It recently received multiple awards and a $2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. It has also established a network of partners to help boost their projects.

The NIH grant will be used this fall to train postdoctoral-level fellows in engineering, computational sciences and oral-craniofacial sciences to develop low-cost solutions to oral health challenges, including diagnostics, therapies and devices.

The CiPD is partnering with diversity programs, underrepresented institutions and schools serving minority populations for the training project as part of its commitment to diversifying the workforce. The center will also partner with industry companies such as Colgate-Palmolive and Johnson & Johnson so that trainees can learn more about the product development process.

Additionally, the CiPD is providing awards and grants to multiple professors at the university to support projects related to exploring technology innovations and tackling oral health diseases and craniofacial disorders. For example, the center recently awarded two professors funds to support their efforts in developing a plant-based chewing gum that can break down dental plaque and possibly deliver biopharmaceuticals to reduce COVID-19 particles in saliva.

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