University of Otago, New Zealand


Te Tari Hua-Ruanuku

Dr Carla Meledandri - Otago Innovation Proof of Concept Grant

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Dr Carla Meledandri

Filling fix wins pair Proof of Concept Grant.

Development of silver nanoparticle-based materials for treating dental caries has won two Otago researchers the 2011 Otago Innovation Proof of Concept Grant worth $50,000.

Dentistry Senior Lecturer Dr Don Schwass and Chemistry Lecturer Dr Carla Meledandri are together researching the application of silver-nanoparticles as a way to deliver and maintain antibacterial effects deep within the tooth.

Their aim is to create a product that eliminates bacteria and prevents its recurrence under and around fillings.

The Proof of Concept Grant will help fund their efforts to prove that these ultra-small nanoparticles are effective on teeth, as well as to conduct toxicity studies and then take the work to a stage that will interest dental materials manufacturers.

The project began with Dr Schwass’s interest in new strategies for prevention of dental caries (tooth decay).

Dr Schwass felt the chemical compound silver diamine fluoride showed real promise, but when applied on teeth it leaves an unappealing black silver fluoride deposit on the cavity surface of carious lesions.

A chance encounter at a speed-collaboration exercise for Otago academic researchers linked him with Dr Meledandri, who is interested in nanoparticles.

In partnership, the pair have developed suspensions of silver nanoparticle-based materials which testing showed to have tremendously potent antibacterial qualities at very low concentrations. At these concentrations, the nanoparticle suspensions appear pale yellow in colour, or more often,
completely colourless, solving the aesthetics problem.

Otago Innovation Commercialisation Manager David Christensen says all University of Otago researchers are invited to enter the annual competition for the Proof of Concept Grant. The competition is intended to encourage researchers to consider possible commercial applications for their work.

Otago Bulletin, Issue 16, 26 Aug 2011