Paulette Spencer

Affiliated Society: Society for Biomaterials (USA)
Country of Residence: USA
Current Position: Acker’s Distinguished Professor, Mechanical Engineering

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Dr. Paulette Spencer is an internationally recognized scholar whose research involves the design and development of durable biomaterials. Her work represents some of the earliest examples of Raman spectroscopic analyses of material/tissue interfaces. She is among the pioneers in the development of non-destructive techniques for in situ characterization of structure/property relationships at tissue/tissue and material/tissue interfaces. Although it has been recognized for decades that the failure of reconstructed tissues using synthetic and/or tissue-engineered materials starts at the interface, mechanistic evaluation of interfacial failure remains limited. Her research employs multi-scale structure/property imaging and mathematical modeling to provide insight into mechanistic behavior of native, as well as reconstructed tissue/material interfaces. The analytical results coupled with the modeling provide understanding of interfacial behavior at scales ranging from molecules to fractions of meters. Dr. Spencer’s interdisciplinary research with novel findings and discoveries stems from her diverse education which includes a D.D.S., a Ph.D. in Oral Biology and Physics, and two MS degrees; one in Pediatric Dentistry, and another in Materials Engineering. This combination allows her to undertake approaches that are driven by clinical need and integrate engineering principles with the clinical practice of medicine and dentistry. She has developed a unique research program based on Š—“practice-inspired advances in understanding tissue-material interfaces,Š— to drive biomaterials discovery. She has been a mentor on 3 NIH-supported career development awards, served as chair or member of 49 thesis/dissertation committees, supervised 15 postdoctoral fellows, and directed a NIH research training program that led to a new paradigm, Dental and Craniofacial Bioengineering. Dr. Spencer is a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), Biomaterials Science and Engineering (FBSE)-International Union of Societies for Biomaterials, the American Academy of Dental Materials, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and American College of Dentistry. In 2015, she was named a Fulbright scholar on “Driving Biomaterials Discovery” by the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program and served as an invited visiting professor at the University of Sao Paulo.

Areas of research interest:

Major research interests include: design and development of durable, robust biomaterials for the repair and reconstruction of tissues damaged by disease, age or trauma; development of nondestructive techniques for characterization of phenomena that lead to failure at material/tissue interfaces; design and development of novel approaches for mediating biomaterial/tissue interfacial failure; harnessing biologic knowledge to rationally design and develop novel biomaterials.

Research keywords:

Protein and Cells at Interfaces