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Alabama educator earns investigator award

March 07, 2016

By Michelle Manchir

Dr. Lawson
Asked about his future plans, Dr. Nathaniel Lawson talks about one of his passions: presenting research in a way that makes it exciting and relevant to practicing clinicians.
The assistant professor at the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Dentistry is the recipient of the 2015 John W. Stanford New Investigator Award for his research project examining methods used to measure the depth of cure of composites, answering the question of whether new materials work.
"Within the last few years, a paradigm shift has begun to occur in restorative dentistry as new materials have made it possible to place composite restorations in bulk 4 mm increments," Dr. Lawson explained in an email. "As these materials transition to mainstream dentistry, clinicians will need to know if they are able to fully polymerize at this depth. Our research project examined the method we use to measure the depth of cure of composites, specifically bulk fill composites."
Dr. Lawson will present his winning research project, "Depth of Cure Of Bulk Fill Composites with Monowave and Polywave Curing Lights," at the ADA Standards Committee on Dental Products annual meeting in Los Angeles, March 14-16.
The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs in December selected Dr. Lawson to receive the award, which is being bestowed for the third time in as many years.
"It was a huge honor for me to receive a national research award from the ADA," Dr. Lawson said. "The recognition from the ADA helps me realize the benefits of pursuing an academic career and serves as encouragement for me to continue working in dental research."
Before becoming an assistant professor, Dr. Lawson earned his D.M.D. in 2011 and his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering in 2012 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His research interests include clinical and translational materials research and laboratory testing of the mechanical properties of composites, adhesives, ceramics and cements.
The John W. Stanford New Investigator Award honors the contributions of one of the ADA Standards Program's most vital figures, the late John Stanford, Ph.D., who retired from the ADA in 1992 following a 40-year career, and died in February 2011. He is credited with establishing the ADA's current standards program. The award acknowledges the original research that dental students and new dentists produce in the realm of dental standards.
The application period for the 2016 John W. Stanford New Investigator Award runs through Oct. 1. For more information or to apply, visit