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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.
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.
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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”.