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John M. Powers, PHD Houston Center for Biomaterials and Biomimetics

UTHealth School of Dentistry is home to the John M. Powers, PhD, Houston Center for Biomaterials and Biomimetics. The HCBB seeks to become a comprehensive, world-class research and development center of excellence for biomaterials and biomimetics, and a synergistic force in increasing the scholarship of discovery, integration of knowledge within and between disciplines, teaching, and application.

The HCBB provides leadership and support in the development of new scientific discoveries, professional collaborations and teaching creativity, based on support from federal agencies, private industry and other sources. The HCBB also provides expertise in the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of new clinical and educational technologies.


The HCBB focuses specifically on laboratory and clinical research, patient care and education in the following areas:

1. Biomaterials, especially the mechanical and physical properties of oral biomaterials • Head: Joe C. Ontiveros, DDS, MS

2. Clinical technology – includes CAD/CAM, lasers, point-of-care patient technologies, and transfer of biomedical technologies to clinical practice) • Co Heads: Maria D. Gonzalez, DDS, MS and Marilia M. Sly, DDS, MSD

3. Tissue Engineering – using modern tissue-compatible biomaterials and bioprinting to create implantable living cell constructs, both for oral soft tissues and hard tissues. technology • Head: Daniel A. Harrington, PhD

4. Advanced Applications in Orthodontics: including digital and 3D-printed models for diagnosis and treatment planning, orthodontic appliances for tooth movement and retention, material-based approaches for craniofacial bone regeneration, and guides for surgical procedures, including orthognathic surgery and tooth auto transplantation • Head: Fred K, Kasper, PhD

5. Maxillofacial prosthodontics, including clinical and laboratory research related to treatment outcome and patient satisfaction, longevity and appearance (mechanical and physical properties • Head: Sudarat Kiat-amnuay, DDS, MS

6. Color and appearance research – includes evaluation of fundamental optical properties of oral and maxillofacial tissues, testing of existing products and invention of new materials, clinical and didactic tools • Rade D. Paravina, DDS, MS, PhD

7. Oral health prevention and risk assessment – includes caries management by risk assessment - CAMBRA, dental caries susceptibility, dental disease prevention and control, minimal invasive operative care, fluoride releasing materials, and remineralizing agents • Head: Ana Neumann, DDS, MPH, PhD

Facilities & Equipment


The Houston Center for Biomaterials and Biomimetics has 2,200 square feet of laboratory space and uses 1,200 square feet of office and conference space. The research space consists of several laboratories as follows: Mechanical Testing I, Mechanical Testing II, Technology, Artificial Aging, Color and Appearance I, Color and Appearance II, and Indirect Restoration.



  • Servo-hydraulic mechanical tester
  • Knoop, Rockwell and Rockwell Superficial hardness testers
  • Impact tester
  • Wear tester
  • Stiffness tester
  • Thermal cycling apparatus
  • Measuring microscope
  • Steady state spectrofluorometer
  • Spectroradiometer
  • Benchtop spectrophotometer
  • Intra-oral spectrophotometers
  • Dental colorimeter
  • Image analyzing system
  • Color viewing booth
  • Macbeth Book of Color
  • Accelerated aging chamber
  • Gloss meter
  • Surface roughness instrument
  • Frequency response analyzers
  • Tensiometer


Membership Requirements:

A person being considered for a formal appointment to the Houston Center for Biomaterials and Biomimetics must have an appropriate advanced degree, a permanent academic or research appointment with a qualifying institution in or affiliated with the Texas Medical Center, and must meet the stated qualifications.

Membership Process:

Appointments are made by the director upon approval of the Center's Executive Committee and the dean.

Term of Appointment:

All appointments are made for three years and may be renewed based on merit if mutually agreeable to the director and appointee.