Xu Wins NIH Grant

Dr. Xiaoming Xu, director of biomaterials research, has achieved a major milestone in his research career with the award of a R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the amount of $1.77 million over four years. He has been with the LSU School of Dentistry since 1995 and is currently associate professor in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry & Biomaterials.

The purpose of this research project is to develop dental materials with fluoride-releasing and antibacterial properties. "The development of these materials has the potential to make a huge impact on oral health care and oral health quality of life," he said. "This is especially true for vulnerable populations like children, the elderly, those who suffer from dry mouth and those who are mentally or physically challenged."

To appreciate the significance of this award, it's important to note that the NIH currently funds only 18 out of every 100 applications, according to Dr. Paul Fidel, director of the Center of Excellence in Oral and Craniofacial Biology. "Competition for these grants is fierce," he said. "Some of most accomplished scientists in America carefully review each application. Dr. Xu had to compellingly prove that his work is significant and innovative. Also, that he has a supportive environment and a track record for getting his work done."

Dr. Xu was a junior principal investigator under the NIH-COBRE mentoring grant of Dr. Paul Fidel. The objective of that grant has been fulfilled as he evolved to the status of independent researcher, as evidenced by the awarding of the R01 grant.

Dr. Xu's track record since Hurricane Katrina speaks volumes about facing the setbacks of life. Shortly after the storm, he persuaded the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation of Metairie to award him $300,000 as seed money for equipment replacement while negotiations with FEMA took place. This grant helped in the rebuilding of the biomaterials laboratory, which suffered major damage from Katrina.

In 2007, Dr. Xu obtained another grant from the Brown Foundation for $492,192 over three years. The objective of this project is to develop new technology for producing novel functional polymer nanofibers for biomedical applications.

His fourth major grant since Katrina was an earlier R21 grant, also from the NIH. The grant was for $525,000 over three years. Last year, the NIH funded only 16% of all R21 applicants. The purpose of this project is to develop zirconia ceramic nanofibers and nanofiber-reinforced dental composites, which will be much stronger and tougher than current materials.

Dr. Xu started his research career at LSUSD in 1995 as research associate and joined the faculty in 2001. Over the past 14 years, he has mentored 60 students, residents and postdoctoral research associates who conducted research in the biomaterials laboratory. He has authored or co-authored 120 publications, including journal articles, book chapters, meeting proceedings and abstracts. He has received two U.S. patents and has four patent applications pending.


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