Faculty Member Receives $200,000 for Biomaterials Research

An RSDM researcher specializing in clinical biomaterials has received two grants totaling $200,000 for his work, including funding to develop a new form of endodontic sealer and money for high-tech lab equipment.

Dr. Mohammad Ali Saghiri, director of RSDM’s Biomaterials Lab, was awarded $100,000 from Rutgers TechAdvance to create an innovative sealer that can expand during treatment to fill small gaps in the root canal space that are often unreachable by conventional materials.

“It’s a game changer,’’ said Saghiri, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry. “This will improve endodontic treatment outcomes. It could lead to faster, more affordable, and far less invasive alternatives to regular sealers.”

Saghiri has filed a patent through the Rutgers University Office of Research and Economic Development and will continue in-vitro and in-vivo studies designed to make the sealer ready for FDA approval and commercialization.

In addition to the grant for that project, he was awarded $100,000 to purchase a powerful microscope to examine surfaces and observe their molecular structure at the nanometer scale. The grant, awarded by Rutgers Strategic Alliances and University Core Facilities, Research Instrumentation program, will fund a Scanning Electronic Microscope, which will replace much older equipment at RSDM and can be used by researchers and faculty across departments.

“This tool provides a plethora of information about the sample including its physical and chemical structure sand composition,’’ he said.

Saghiri — who describes the field of biomaterials as “the interface of engineering, art and dentistry” — said the new equipment could lead to great discoveries and breakthroughs. “It’s the same as creating art. If you don’t have great materials and equipment, it’s impossible to generate create art.’’