Bowman and Stansbury received a grant along with ChBE alum Chris Kloxin for their proposed study, "CU-catalyzed azide-alkyne reactions for novel dental composite materials." Bowman's individual proposal, "Dental composite materials based on photoinitiated thiol-vinyl sulfone reactions," was also awarded funding.
The NIH awarded $2.8 million to pursue longer-lasting dental composites. The average fail rate on the more than 122 million dental composites placed each year is less than eight years. The majority of these composites employ the methacrylate monomer Bis-GMA, which is polymerized in the mouth. There is concern that this polymerized Bis-GMA may work with oral bacteria to further decay repaired teeth.
The NIH is looking to team material scientists, polymer chemists, and microbiologists to synthesize improved composites.
(pictured: Scanning electron micrograph of generic composite structure showing 70% filler. Courtesy of Drs. Parag Shah and Jeff Stansbury.)