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Volpe Research Center celebrates 90 years

January 21, 2019

By Kelly Ganski

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90th Anniversary iconNinety years of research. Ninety years of talent. Ninety years of opportunity.

The memories are endless when it comes to the nostalgia of the ADA Foundation Volpe Research Center. The research center has had name changes throughout the years but has always kept a consistent mission. For 90 years, scientists have developed materials, tools and technologies for the dental community, resulting in over 200 products that have provided the foundation for how dentistry is practiced throughout the world.

“Through working with scientists from the ADA, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Institutes of Health, military, industry and academia, our scientists have helped develop materials, tools and technologies that have provided a foundation to how we diagnose and treat dental diseases,” said Dr. Tom Hart, Ph.D., senior director of the ADA Foundation Research Division. “We have also played an important role in development of standards and development of instruments such as the tensiometer that help determine how well dental materials perform. Other programs such as the ADA Seal program were initially developed by our scientists.”  

VRC scientists are now focused on developing improved “smart” dental materials such as dental composites that are resistant to breakdown,
are capable of self-healing and have antimicrobial properties. Together these properties will extend the lifespan of restorations more than threefold. Scientists are also focusing on developing improved sensors to help early detection of dental decay, periodontal diseases and systemic diseases including heart attacks.  

“More is to come on research developments but we’ve had a wonderful 90-year run and in our 91st year, we’re spreading our wings,”
Dr. Hart said.