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At the Intersection between Materials Engineering and Dentistry

New DFG Research Unit Develops Tailor-Made Implants

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The picture shows a blue colored model of a denture. © ©Alexandr Mitiuc - stock.adobe.com
Implants individually adapted to the respective body promise good tolerability and lasting performance.

On 9 December, the German Research Foun­da­tion (DFG) announced it plans to establish a new re­search unit at TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity. Prof. Frank Walther is the spokesperson for the group consisting of a total of eight in­sti­tu­ti­ons. The partners will be jointly developing new types of implants for dentistry. The DFG is providing around 3.4 million euros of funding to the proj­ect for an initial four years.

Nowadays, when patients need dentures, dentists rely on standard solutions. That is set to change in the fu­ture, with implants tailored to individual bodies promising excellent compatibility and long-lasting capability. An inter­dis­ci­plin­ary team from the fields of materials science and engineering, medical engineering and numeric simulation is working on this proj­ect in the newly established re­search unit 5250 titled “Mechanism-based characterization and modeling of permanent and bioresorbable implants with tailored functionality based on in­no­va­ti­ve in vivo, in vitro and in silico methods”.

The aim is to develop additively manufactured implants for maxillofacial surgery. The proj­ect is ex­ten­sive, ranging from the production to the characterization and simulation of the implants and taking into account physiological conditions in the body. Prof. Frank Walther explains the vision: “What sets the patient-specific, permanent and bioresorbable implants apart is their reliability when it comes to performance and tissue integration. For instance, special lattice structures and topologies are used to compensate for the stiffness discrepancy between the bone and the implant.”

Frank Walther is Pro­fes­sor of Materials Test Engineering at TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity. His colleague Jochen Tenkamp will be taking over the management of the re­search unit.

Portrait of Professor Frank Walther © Felix Schmale​/​ TU Dort­mund
Frank Walther is Pro­fes­sor of Materials Test Engineering at TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity and spokesman for the new re­search group.

In the proj­ect, the Dort­mund team will focus on testing the implants – for example, through fatigue tests in mediums re­le­vant to the body. “What is so special about this is that we map the conditions in the human body as realistically as possible in our test environment,” says Jochen Tenkamp.

The re­search partnership

Since the topic is diverse and complex, the TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity team is working in the re­search unit alongside distinguished experts from all over Germany: Laser Zen­trum Han­no­ver e.V., Reutlingen Uni­ver­sity, Han­no­ver Medical School (MHH), Uni­ver­sity Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), Ros­tock Uni­ver­sity Medical Center (UMR), TU Berlin and Leibniz Uni­ver­sity Han­no­ver. The co-spokesperson for the new group is Prof. Meike Stiesch from Han­no­ver Medical School.

The image shows a logo with an indicated drawn tooth and black lettering. © TU Dort­mund

Contact for further in­for­mation:

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Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is “Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen” (closer to South Cam­pus), and from B 1 / A 40 “Dort­mund-Dorstfeld” (closer to North Cam­pus). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from North Cam­pus to South Cam­pus by car, there is the connection via Vo­gel­pothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at North Cam­pus and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity has its own train station (“Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät”). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station (“Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof”) and Düsseldorf main station via the “Düsseldorf Airport Train Station” (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 15 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bo­chum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duis­burg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station “Stadtgarten”, usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At “Stadtgarten” you switch trains and get on line U42 towards “Hombruch”. Look out for the Station “An der Palmweide”. From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop “Dort­mund Kampstraße”. From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop “Dort­mund Wittener Straße”. Switch to bus line 447 and get off at “Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S”.

The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dort­mund Airport (DTM) to Dort­mund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dort­mund Central Station, you can continue to the uni­ver­si­ty campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of in­ter­na­tio­nal flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the uni­ver­si­ty station.

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity. There are two stations on North Cam­pus. One (“Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S”) is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the “Technologiepark” and (via South Cam­pus) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at North Cam­pus and offers a direct connection to South Cam­pus every five minutes.

The facilities of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity are spread over two campuses, the larger Cam­pus North and the smaller Cam­pus South. Additionally, some areas of the uni­ver­si­ty are located in the adjacent “Technologiepark”.

Site Map of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity (Second Page in English).