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Clinical and translational research

Programme director:

Professor Warwick Duncan

Te Kaupeka Pūniho, New Zealand’s National Centre for Dentistry, is the centre of excellence in New Zealand for clinical and translational research in dentistry and oral health. The Clinical and Translational Research Programme groups together researchers and projects whose objective is to enhance care and achieve better outcomes for our patients. We focus on studies of direct clinical relevance as well as the translation of basic research into clinical practice with the objective of delivering better and more efficient treatments. There is considerable overlap with other research programmes, particularly with respect to the translation from benchtop, in vitro and preclinical animal research into development of commercially-viable products or improvements in clinical practice.

Research projects

Current projects range from clinical trials conducted within the school and in the community of new products or modified treatment protocols, to development of new therapeutic agents and devices from benchtop through initial in vitro and preclinical animal trials with the objective of phase 1 clinical trials, to surveys conducted within the school or in the community regarding the techniques employed in clinical dental practice and their outcomes. Funding for this work ranges across contestable research grants, commercial sponsorship and contract research, and includes both researcher-initiated investigations and research driven by manufacturers of dental products.

  • Development of novel therapeutic agents and approaches
  • Implant therapy
  • Stem cell therapy
  • Outcomes of treatment
  • Clinical audits
  • Diagnostics
  • Epidemiology of disease
  • Development of new animal models of disease

More information on these research projects can be found in our Clinical and Translational Research Programme Profile (PDF extract from our 2015-2016 SJWRI Research Report).

A novel approach to caries management in New Zealand children: The Hall Technique.

The Hall Technique is a novel method of managing decayed primary teeth, without injections or drilling, by sealing in the decay with a stainless steel crown. This research examines the training of dental therapists in the Hall Technique, and the practicalities of using the Hall Technique in the New Zealand primary care setting.

Biomimetics research

Biomimetics in dentistry means to copy what is life-like. When restoring teeth, the goal is to return the tooth to its original form and function. Biomimetic research in dentistry investigates the materials and techniques used to achieve that goal. The Biomimetic Research Group, under the leadership of Associate Professor Vincent Bennani, undertakes research that creates and validates dental treatment paradigms for restorative dentistry that have a goal of mimicking natural healthy dentition.

ARCH: our practice-based research network

We have developed a Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN) called ARCH (Applied Research through Clinicians’ Hands). ARCH reaches out to dental practitioners throughout New Zealand to conduct research of direct clinical relevance to New Zealand and to bring the wealth of data that exists in individual dental practices and the public sector to benefit all patients. The types of studies undertaken within PBRNs include retrospective studies using dental records, observational studies of routine care, case-control studies and clinical trials.