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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jul 10, 2006    #116
Contact: Paulette Spencer, D.D.S., Ph.D., UMKC School of Dentistry
(816) 235-2071

One-of-a-kind research training program taking place at dental schoolProgram lays the foundation for a new kind of research workforce

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Dentistry will wrap up its 10-week Dental and Craniofacial Bioengineering research training program with a presentation and celebration day July 28. That is when program participants give their final presentations to faculty, students, family and friends.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the goal of the training program is to create a new workforce paradigm called dental and craniofacial bioengineering. This is the only NIH Roadmap Initiative program of this type in a dental school.

The program fuses dental and craniofacial sciences to create intensive immersion instruction and research experiences for pre- and post-doctoral engineering students of various disciplines. Students come from around the country attend this innovative program. This year, students represent institutions such as the University of Notre Dame, Tennessee State University, State University of New York, University of Kansas, Washington University.

Previous program participants have praised the interdisciplinary experience as uncommon and cutting-edge.

“I've learned that input from many people with different experiences can solve a problem faster than one person working by trial and error,” said one student who participated last year.

Another student remarked, “I was very lucky to be a part of this new paradigm and I will proudly hang up my certificate. My parents were very excited to get to see my presentation and are still raving about it to all the friends and family.”

This is the second year for the summer program.

Participants receive stipends for the 10-week period, as well as reimbursement for travel costs to the UMKC campus and a $1,600 housing allowance.

Faculty for the program come from the UMKC Center for Research on Interfacial Structure and Properties (UMKC-CRISP), led by director Paulette Spencer D.D.S., Ph.D., Curators' Professor and Hamilton B.G. Robinson Professor with the Departments of Oral Biology and Pediatric Dentistry at the UMKC School of Dentistry.

“The identification, characterization and synthesis of revolutionary materials that can be used to replace or repair tissues lost as a result of disease, trauma or age require the expertise of researchers from a variety of disciplines (bioengineers, chemists, physicists, material scientists, life scientists and computer scientists) working hand-in-hand with clinical researchers,” said Spencer. “The synergy arising from the convergence of research in these disciplines will dramatically advance the translation of discoveries made in the lab to clinical applications that will impact the health and well-being of society for decades.”

UMKC-CRISP is represented by a diverse group of faculty and students who think like scientists, but create like engineers to turn ideas into materials, products and therapies that will change people’s lives. For more information, visit www.umkc.edu/dentistry/oralbiology/crisp.htm

The UMKC School of Dentistry provides a four-year curriculum that combines classroom education with clinical experience. The school maintains teaching relationships with six hospitals and five community health clinics. It is the only dental school in Missouri and neighboring Kansas. In addition to teaching and service, research is an element vital to the school’s identity and international reputation.

UMKC is one of four University of Missouri campuses. It is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health and life sciences, and urban affairs.

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