For their research on new testing methods for dental materials, Kulzer honors young scientists around the world with the IADR/Kulzer Travel Award. The award enables them to travel to the world’s largest congress in dentistry and present their research work to a large professional audience.
Even though travel is not possible this year due to the pandemic, Kulzer is maintaining the travel award to recognize the important contribution of young researchers to dentistry. Instead of funding travel to the IADR-Dental Materials Group Business Meeting the company is financially supporting the research of five young scientists.
In interviews the winners talk about their research work and what it means for young investigators to receive the IADR/Kulzer Travel Award.
Abdulrahman A. Balhaddad from University of Maryland, Baltimore (USA) won the IADR/Kulzer Travel Award for his research project on “Enzyme-Responsive Nanoparticles for Targeted Drug Delivery to Inflamed Oral Tissues”.
What were you examining?
Abdulrahman A. Balhaddad: Most of the used photosensitizers in antimicrobial photodynamic therapy have limited diffusion inside the core of biofilms due to the photosensitizers’ hydrophobicity and their high susceptibility to degradation and aggregation. Our research project involved the conjugation of a photosensitizer, named toluidine blue ortho (TBO), with iron oxide nanoparticles inside a microemulsion and using a magnetic field force to enhance the penetration of the photosensitizer inside the biofilm and improve its antibacterial action.
What was the result of your research?
The results of our research project are promising. Antimicrobial photodynamic therapy using the synthesized microemulsion resulted in a significant bacterial reduction against mature and thick multispecies biofilms compared to conventional antimicrobial photodynamic therapy.
What surprised you about your work?
We were surprised by the high effectiveness of the microemulsion. While the TBO photosensitizer alone reduced the 7-day multispecies biofilm by around 1-log compared to the control with no treatment, the microemulsion achieved 4 to 5-log reduction.
How long did you research it?
We have started this research project in 2018. We had some difficulties due to the pandemic, but we were able to deliver good efforts running what is essential to validate our approach.
What are you researching now?
We are currently investigating the effectiveness of our approach using a dynamic biofilm model. If the results are good, we may consider conducting a translational model to investigate the effectiveness of our approach using in situ models.
Why did you apply for the Travel Award 2021?
The IADR is the most prominent dental meeting in the world. Therefore, our supervisors encouraged us to present our projects and apply for different awards in each previous IADR meeting. I also believe that winning the IADR/Kulzer Travel Award will add a lot to my future career.
What does the award mean to you?
Being recognized by the oldest and biggest dental organization means a lot to me. I am earnestly grateful for the recognition I have received for my work. I sincerely thank my supervisor, Dr. Mary Anne Melo, and my co-authors for helping me reach a stage where I can proudly hold up this award as a mark of my achievement.