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Rice University award honors UTSD oral surgeons, team for innovation

Monday, May 9, 2011 - 7:49am

Drs. Wong and Young

Dr. Mark Wong (left) and Dr. Simon Young of the Dental
Branch Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department are part
of an award-winning Rice University bioengineering team.

Dr. Mark Wong, chair of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMS) at The University of Texas School of Dentistry, and OMS resident Simon Young, DDS, PhD, MD, are part of a team selected to receive the 2011 Hershel M. Rich Invention Award for their "Combined Space Maintenance and Bone Regeneration System for the Reconstruction of Large Osseous Defects."

The Hershel M. Rich Award is presented annually to Rice University faculty or students for an invention that demonstrates creativity and originality. Wong is an adjunct professor in the Department of Engineering at Rice. Other team members include Antonios Mikos, PhD, the Louis Calder Professor in Bioengineering; Kurt Kasper, PhD, of the Rice Department of Bioengineering; postdoctoral student Meng Shi, PhD; and Patrick Spicer, a Baylor College of Medicine doctoral student.

The team’s “space maintenance and bone regeneration system” uses a polymer to maintain space within an injured bone and deliver antibiotics to treat local infections while a custom-shaped, vascularized bone flap is developed in another part of the body for transplantation once the wounded site is ready for grafting. The system involves technology developed with support from an Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine grant.

The award was established by Hershel M. Rich, a Rice alumnus who earned a bachelor of science degree in 1945 in electrical and mechanical engineering. Each team member receives a cash award and a certificate. Dr. Kyriacos Zygourakis nominated Wong and Young for the award.