Celebrating 30 years of innovation at the MDRCBB

Joe Oxman presents to an audience at the MDRCBB 30th anniversary.

The Minnesota Dental Research Center for Biomaterials and Biomechanics celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in December with a global symposium recognizing three decades of achievement and excellence.

Founded under the leadership of Bill Douglas, BDS, MS, PhD, in 1992, the MDRCBB is a multi-disciplinary resource dedicated to furthering research and development in biomaterials, biomechanics and related fields. The center is home to the revolutionary artificial chewing machine and has partnered with corporations like 3M and General Mills to test and produce dental materials, foods and more. The MDRCBB hosts the Key Opinion Leaders program, which welcomes scholars from developing nations to sponsor their educational and research endeavors. Today, the center continues to thrive under the leadership of Alex Fok, PhD, MSc.

The 30-year celebration spanned across continents and time zones, with events taking place in Minneapolis, Cairo, Ribeirao Preto, Guangzhou, Kuala Lumpur, Tainan and Manchester on December 9 and 10.

Fok introduced the event from Brazil, honoring the center’s founders, alumni and current participants. “The MDRCBB has all the necessary conditions for its members to flourish and succeed,” he said. “We are also one of the most, if not the most, diverse groups of researchers at the University of Minnesota, with researchers from across the world who cover a wide range of topics including dental, medical, food science, pharmaceutics and even nuclear energy.”

Dean Keith Mays speaks at the MDRCBB 30th anniversary event

Dean Keith Mays, DDS, MS, PhD, shared his gratitude for Douglas, Fok and all alumni in attendance. “Dr. Bill Douglas pioneered a public-private partnership with outstanding research and training that have made an impact worldwide,” he said. “I’m thankful for an ongoing legacy continued by Dr. Alex Fok, and for all of your work and contributions. It is because of each of you that we are celebrating today.”

A global keynote from Joe Oxman, PhD, corporate scientist for 3M Oral Care Solutions, focused on the future of dentistry. “We live in a dynamic world that is changing faster than ever before,” he said, as he invited participants to move outside their comfort zone.

“Growth and comfort do not coexist,” he said, inviting participants to ponder what the future of oral health might look like. “Let’s start getting uncomfortable, so you can feel like you’re on the verge of growth.”

Dean Keith Mays speaks at the MDRCBB 30th anniversary event

Oxman encouraged attendees to think creatively, continue learning and consider the ways disruptions in the dental market and the technologies of the future will impact the field over the next three decades.

Following Oxman’s keynote, the symposium continued with regional catch-ups, where researchers from across the globe shared updates to their research. Alumni came together locally and internationally to celebrate their accomplishments.

“The MDRCBB started with a dream,” reflected Douglas in a video shown at the event, “to build a public-private partnership connecting dental materials and resynthesizing mechanics. Today, we celebrate 30 years of that dream.”

Hear more from Douglas, Fok and alumni on how the first 30 years of the MDRCBB impacted them personally.