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Health Center dental invention ‘changed the world’

by Pat Keefe - March 20, 2006

A product invented by two Health Center faculty members and manufactured by a Connecticut company has been named one of 25 innovations that changed the world.

The product, FibreKor, a composite material used in dental bridges, crowns, splints, and posts, was invented by Dr. Charles Burstone, a professor emeritus of orthodontics, and Jon Goldberg, a professor of oral rehabilitation, biomaterials, and skeletal development, and director of the Center for Biomaterials.

FibreKor is manufactured by Pentron Clinical Technologies LLC of Wallingford.

FibreKor was designated as an innovation that changed the world by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) on March 2, as part of their Better World Project. The project was launched in 2005 to explain in everyday terms how academic research and technology transfer have changed our way of life and made the world a better place.

“I would have been thrilled just to be in the top 2,500,” says Goldberg. “More importantly, this wonderful recognition validates our goal of addressing both the science and the translation to practical clinical applications.”

The project draws from more than a decade’s worth of case studies and news from AUTM members – the professionals who make academic technology transfer happen.

“This year, AUTM issued two books and an online resource that share the stories behind more than 100 innovations with roots in academic research. These innovations include Honeycrisp apples, Google, the V-chip, nicotine patches, and Taxol, all of which have become household names.

Other top innovations include products on the market whose reputations are in the making, such as Exosurf, synthetic lung surfactant used to treat infants with respiratory distress syndrome; Altropane, a chemical used to diagnose early Parkinson’s disease; and Rheo Knee, a computer-controlled artificial knee.  

“This honor reflects the importance of different disciplines working together – in this case orthodontics and materials science,” says Burstone. “Dr. Goldberg and I continue to work on other projects that we hope will significantly alter the practice of dentistry.”

Goldberg and Burstone have been working together for nearly three decades, and their association goes back to when Goldberg joined the Health Center faculty.

In one of their first projects, they developed a titanium alloy that was used to replace stainless steel wires traditionally used in orthodontics. They then turned their focus to what was to become FibreKor.

The first of two U.S. patents was issued for their invention in 1988.

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