Our section teaches biomaterials courses in restorative dentistry, conducts biomaterials research, and participates in graduate degree programs affiliated with the UNMC Oral Biology Department and the UN-L College of Engineering and Technology. Including dual-trained faculty housed in the Operative Dentistry and Prosthodontic Sections, the Biomaterials Section is supported by six full-time faculty, one research technologist, one graduate student and part-time student researchers from the UN-L biomedical engineering program. In collaboration with faculty from other departments and universities, our research efforts are focused on the development of various dental and maxillofacial materials, the study of TMJ disc mechanics, and cartilage tissue engineering.

Biomaterials Research 

The Biomaterials section oversees the Biomaterials laboratory, which is housed in a remodeled research wing and supports both faculty and student research projects. As a participant in the Biomaterials and Biomechanics Focus Group, research is conducted in collaboration with investigators from the Growth and Development and Oral Biology departments. In addition, dental biomaterials are clinically evaluated in the Cruzan Center. Research is conducted on dental resin-based composites, cements, maxillofacial prosthetic materials, TMJ disc dynamics, cartilage failure mechanisms and cartilage tissue engineering. Recent outside collaborators include scientists from Ohio State University, Creighton University, Purdue University, Iowa State University and the U.S. Navy. Recent corporate sponsors include Cook Biotech, Inc., and G.C. America Corp.

Graduate Student Thesis Projects

  • Color Stability, Mechanical Properties and Antifungal Effects of ZrO2 Nanoparticle Additions to Polydimethylsiloxaine. MS degree, Dr. Elizabeth Katzberg, Orthodontics.
  • Differences in neo-cartilage derived from two scaffold materials. MS degree, Dr. Ajay Ojha, Biomaterials.
  • The effects of human mastication on the apparent static coefficient of friction in an orthodontic appliance. MS degree, Dr. Jared Randall, Orthodontics.
  • The physical and mechanical properties associated with the aging of maxillofacial elastomers. MS degree, Dr. Richard Williamson, Prosthodontics.
  • Flaw propagation in the porcine temporomandibular joint disc. MS degree, Dr. Rebecca Hohl, Orthodontics
  • Anisotropic tensile fatigue properties of the porcine intervertebral disc. MS degree, Dr. Mark Leiker, Orthodontics.