Ongoing Research Projects

Smart Dental Implant system

Osseointegrated dental implants have become a routine component of daily dental practice. A significant body of evidence indicates that the accumulation of bacterial biofilms (dental plaque) at the soft tissue-implant interface and the subsequent local inflammatory response seems to be key in the pathogenesis of peri-implant mucositis. Thus, we propose to develop an ambulatory photo-biomodulation therapy using a seamless, human oral motion-powered Smart Dental Implant (SDI) that can prevent the formation of biofilms on implants (and restorative components) and reduce cell inflammation as well as regenerate tissue to minimize the occurrence of implant failures.


* International Application Serial No. PCT/US21/037223 filed

Host-material-pathogen interactions

The precise spatiotemporal control and manipulation of fluid dynamics on a small scale granted by Lab-on-a-Chip devices provide a new biomedical research realm as a substitute for in vivo studies of host-pathogen interactions. While there has been a rise in the use of various medical devices/implants for human use, the applicability of microfluidic models that integrate such functional biomaterials is currently limited. We introduce a novel dental implant-on-a-chip model to better understand host-material-pathogen interactions in the context of peri-implant diseases.

Bacterial-fungal interaction

Biofilm formation is a key virulence factor responsible for various infectious diseases. Particularly, interactions between a fungus, Candida albicans, and a bacterium, Streptococcus mutans, have been known to play important roles in the pathogenesis of dental caries. Enhanced understanding of these interactions may accelerate progress toward devising new and effective therapies to disrupt this cross-kingdom biofilm associated with an important childhood oral disease.

Dynamic biofilm experimental platform

While several biofilm experimental models exist, they often have limited replications of spatiotemporal dynamics surrounding biofilms. For a better understanding of dynamic and complex biofilm development, we present a customizable platform compatible with off-the-shelf well plates that can monitor microbial adhesion, growth, and associated parameters under various relevant scenarios by taking advantage of 3D printing.

Bimodal nanocomposite platform with antibiofilm and self-powering functionalities

Advances in microelectronics and nanofabrication have led to the development of various implantable biomaterials. However, biofilm-associated infection on medical devices still remains a major hurdle that substantially undermines the clinical applicability and advancement of biomaterial systems. We attempt to utilize piezoelectric barium titanate (BTO)-based materials as anti-infectious implantable medical devices in the human body.

Rapid detection of salivary volatile metabolites

Early diagnosis and screening of diseases can significantly affect patient discomfort, prognosis, therapeutic intervention, survival rates, and recurrence. However, many painful and time-consuming invasive procedures for diagnosis and monitoring such as biopsies and repeated blood draws make it complicated. Thus, it is important to develop new non-invasive diagnostic methods that enable accurate and reliable early-stage disease detection.