Chris Ward, a student in his final year at the University of Manitoba College of Dentistry, has been studying magnetic nanoparticles to see if they could be used to carry drugs to the inside of teeth—for instance, to transport antibiotics to treat diseases such as periodontitis.
“I was pretty skeptical. I went into it thinking they probably wouldn’t penetrate the teeth,” said Ward.
Working in the college’s dental biomaterials lab, Ward has shown that superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles can fully penetrate human molars when subjected to an external magnetic field. These particles potentially could be used for targeted drug delivery.
“This is new, and our initial results are promising,” said Ward, whose project recently won the poster competition at the College of Dentistry’s annual Research Day.
“Research is an integral part of being an allied health professional, and for lifelong learning,” said Raj Bhullar, PhD, associate dean of research at the school. “Research Day allows our future dental professionals to assess developments in their field as they go on to practice.”
Ward’s work also won a Student Research Award from the Canadian Association for Dental Research and the Network for Canadian Oral Health Research. He conducted the research as part of the requirements for his bachelor of science in dentistry degree.
“It’s a really interesting way to have a summer job and do some research,” said Ward. “The bonus is you get a second degree.”