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The Center for Innovation and Precision Dentistry, a new collaboration between the School of Dental Medicine and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, launched on Jan. 22 

Credit: Maria Murad

A new collaboration between the School of Dental Medicine and the School of Engineering and Applied Science seeks to transform oral healthcare.

The Center for Innovation and Precision Dentistry will work to discover and develop new technology and approaches to treat overlooked needs in oral health, especially dental caries, periodontal disease, and head and neck cancer. CiPD also hopes to train future generations of leaders in oral healthcare research and innovation, Penn Today reported. The Center officially launched on Jan. 22 and it celebrated its establishment through a virtual program.

CiPD co-founder and Dental School professor Michel Koo told Penn Today that he and Kathleen Stebe, co-founder and Engineering professor, were motivated to create the Center due to a global crisis in oral health.

“Oral diseases and craniofacial disorders affect 3.5 billion people, disproportionately affecting the poor and the medically and physically compromised,” Koo told Penn Today. “There is an urgent need to find better ways to diagnose, prevent, and treat these conditions, particularly in ways that are affordable and accessible for the most susceptible populations.”

The CiPD’s core partners include the Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Penn Health Tech, the Institute for Biomedical Informatics, and the Penn Center for Innovation. These partners will help fund training and research opportunities at the Center for younger dentists and engineers, Penn Today reported.

The CiPD will also develop research and technologies in fields such as nanotechnology, periodontal diseases, tissue regeneration, and artificial intelligence, according to its website.

The Dental School and the School of Engineering have collaborated in the past. In 2019, the schools worked together to develop microbots that are able to clean plaque buildup from the surface of teeth, according to Penn Today.