Penn Dental Medicine’s Lizeng Gao Wins 2015 IADR Innovation in Oral Care Award

Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194
Monday, March 16, 2015

Lizeng Gao, a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, has won a 2015 International Association for Dental Research Innovation in Oral Care Award. The prize is jointly sponsored by IADR and GlaxoSmithKline.

This prestigious and highly competitive award offers as much as $75,000 in research funding. Winners are chosen after rigorous scientific review, based on scientific merit and novelty, from a worldwide pool “to advance oral care programs directed toward the development of innovative and novel compounds, biomaterials or devices that can be used ultimately at the public health level,” according to the IADR.

Gao is a member of the lab of Hyun (Michel) Koo, a professor in Penn Dental Medicine’s Department of Orthodontics and divisions of Pediatric Dentistry and Community Oral Health, who also won the Innovation in Oral Care award in 2006 and was part of a team that won in 2013.

The award recognizes Gao and his team’s research into a novel nanoparticle-based technology that offers a sophisticated approach to eliminating pathogenic biofilms and preventing dental caries. The specially designed nanoparticles simultaneously degrade the biofilm matrix and kill the bacterial pathogens embedded within while preventing tooth-enamel dissolution under acidic conditions. Furthermore, these nanoparticles are inexpensive to produce and non-toxic. The technology is patent-pending. 

The IADR award has a special focus on promoting interdisciplinary projects. The award proposal was submitted in collaboration with Koo as well as David Cormode, an assistant professor of radiology and bioengineering with appointments in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Gao was honored at an award reception and dinner at the IADR/AADR/CADR General Session and Exhibition in Boston on March 11.

Lizeng Gao

Lizeng Gao