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Colgate Palmolive Awards $30K Research Grant
Colgate Palmolive has a history of funding innovative projects in the dental industry. Over the course of more than 200 years, what began as a small soap and candle business has grown to become a globally recognized brand serving millions of consumers worldwide.

The company’s efforts, however, extend beyond the production and distribution of oral healthcare products. The company works to promote oral health and overall health through a variety of community programs.

One of their major partners is the Starlight Children’s Foundation, which works “to embrace, empower and enrich the lives of children from illness to wellness.” In the last 23 years, Colgate-Palmolive has donated nearly $9 million to the foundation’s efforts.

In partnership with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Colgate Palmolive also works to place Hispanic youth on the college track through their Haz-La-U program, which awards financial relief in the form of educational grants totaling $100,000.

One of the most recent recipients of grant funding from Colgate-Palmolive is a program spearheaded by Karina Carneiro, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto. Professor Carneiro’s program was awarded a total of $30,000 in research funding earlier this year.

The program centers around furthering research on self-assembling DNA nanostructures. Carneiro has been working on building “scaffolds” made of these DNA nanostructures. These “scaffolds” attract proteins and other building blocks that are essential in the formation of dental enamel.

By constructing these “scaffolds” very precisely, Carneiro has discovered that the nanostructures also organize the materials they attract, which allows these materials to coalesce in the exact same manner that the process of enamel creation occurs naturally in the body. It is Carneiro’s hope that these “scaffolds” will organize materials in a way that further attracts other molecules essential to the creation of enamel, such as calcium and phosphate.

According to Professor Carneiro, “The hypothesis is that because we can arrange these materials with nanometer precision, we can more exactly mirror what happens in vivo.” On this project, Carneiro is also collaborating with Professor Bernhard Ganss, Vice-Dean, Research of the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto.

Using the labs overseen by both Carneiro and Ganss, a collaborative effort will focus on investigating whether combining amelotin, a mineral-promoting enamel protein discovered by Ganss, with Carneiro’s DNA “scaffolds” can provide a novel approach to regenerating mineralized tissues.

“This is a great example of how collaborations can create exciting opportunities to advance the field of dental research,” says Professor Ganss. And although the immediate goal of their collaborative research is to enhance understanding of how enamel forms naturally in the body, Carneiro maintains that knowledge gleaned from this research may provide long-term solutions that have previously been unthinkable.

“I dream of the day we can put patches or networks on a decaying tooth that will help regenerate the enamel,” she says. “The body will regenerate itself using DNA as the guide.” For the time being, it’s clear that both Carneiro and Ganss will be working diligently to make the best use of their recent funding award from Colgate-Palmolive.

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Posted by: DSR
Monday, May 1, 2017
Tag: Dental
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