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Silicon’s surprising benefit

Dylan Patrick

D2 Dylan Patrick

Media Resources/Steven Doll

D2 Dylan Patrick is using one of the world’s most abundant elements to stimulate bone mineralization — and at an impressive rate.

There’s that one thing about research: “Your job is never done,” says D2 Dylan Patrick. “There is always something to be thinking about, reading about or trouble-shooting so that you get quality results.”

That mentality may be part of the reason Patrick recently won a $2,500 student research award from the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. His topic: the stimulatory effect of silicon on bone mineralization.

“Dylan was showing that the bone-forming cells called osteoblasts were forming this bio-mineral at a faster rate when exposed to silicon, even at very low concentrations,” says Dr. Venu Varanasi, assistant professor in biomedical sciences and Patrick’s mentor. “These results were quite surprising, considering the concentrations of silicon that Dylan used were far lower than we would typically use for calcium. His work is very promising.”

Future applications of the research could include using silicon-based materials to enhance integration of titanium implants within bony structures.

In addition to the eight weeks Patrick spent in Varanasi’s lab this summer, he will assist with repeat studies and data compilation that will be used for the submission of a manuscript to the Journal of Dental Research.

From Varanasi’s perspective, Patrick’s presence in the lab has been a welcome addition.

“Dylan is extremely proactive; he’s a planner. He’s very well organized and doesn’t get distracted,” says Varanasi. “He was pretty productive, and that was just for two months. I can only imagine the work he would do over the course of a full year."



American Academy of Implant Dentistry student research award
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Patrick; Dr. Neda Saffarian Tousi Hozhabri, postdoctoral fellow in biomedical sciences; and Dr. Venu
Varanasi, assistant professor in biomedical sciences.

Media Resources/Steven Doll