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Congressional dentists express ‘strong support’ for ADAF Volpe Research Center agreement

October 04, 2017

By Jennifer Garvin

Gaithersburg, Md.— On Oct. 2 the four dentists in Congress expressed their ongoing support for the cooperative venture between National Institute for Standards and Technology and the American Dental Association Foundation’s Volpe Research Center.
In a letter to Kent Rochford, Ph.D., who is both acting under secretary of commerce for standards and technology and acting director for NIST, Reps. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., Brian Babin, R-Texas, and Drew Ferguson, R-Ga., urged the U.S. Department of Commerce to keep the partnership ongoing.

“We are writing to express our strong support for the cooperative research and development agreement,” the congressional dentists wrote. “This agreement, which has been in place for almost 90 years, is part of a longstanding initiative to include private organizations in research of mutual interest to NIST.

“Since 1928, the cooperative venture between NIST [formerly known as the National Bureau of Standards] and ADAF Volpe Research Center has produced a number of major technological breakthroughs that make modern dentistry possible,” they wrote. “We see these breakthroughs every time a dentist uses a high-speed dental handpiece, takes a panoramic X-ray or places a tooth-colored composite. These are just a few of the revolutionary technologies that NIST and VRC have jointly moved from the laboratory to the point of care.”

The congressmen pointed out that the VRC receives funding from a number of public and private sources, including the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, and that support from NIST allows VRC staff to share office space and collaborate with NIST researchers in ways that would not otherwise be possible.

“The NIST/VRC partnership has been a model for how the public sector can work with industry to bring new scientific advances to market. Continuing this historic relationship will help revolutionize how dental diseases are treated in the future,” the congressmen said.  

“We recently learned of ongoing discussions about the future of the NIST/VRC partnership. We would welcome the opportunity to visit the NIST/VRC research facilities and discuss how we can help strengthen this remarkably successful public/private venture,” the letter concluded.