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Clinical and translational research programme

Programme director

Dr Joanne Choi

Programme staff

Key research staff, postgraduate students and collaborations

Programme overview

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.

Current research

Novel therapeutic agents

  • Silver nanoparticles (Silverbone project) - in vitro and preclinical animal trial
  • Optimisation of MoaBone® natural hydroxyapatite xenograft (with Molteno Ophthalmic Ltd) - in vitro and preclinical
  • Manuka honey as an antibacterial agent - in vitro and clinical trial
  • Manuka oil as an antibacterial agent - in vitro
  • Regenerative membrane for alveolar ridge preservation (with Aroa Biosurgery Ltd) - preclinical trial
  • Gel-loaded lactoferrin for oral bone grafting (with the University of Auckland and the CReaTE Group, UO Christchurch) - in vitro and preclinical animal trial
  • Novel grafting materials for sinus lift therapy - preclinical animal trial
  • Healing mechanisms in stem-cell driven regeneration of deer antler

Novel therapeutic approaches

  • Hall Technique for childhood caries - clinical trial
  • Development of white crowns for Hall Technique - in vitro
  • Vital tooth bleaching - clinical trial
  • Orthodontic tipping and bodily movement of premolars in a sheep model - clinical trial

Implant therapy

  • Titanium-zirconium narrow dental implants for replacing single posterior missing teeth - clinical trial
  • Dental implant abutment-interface and marginal bone loss - preclinical animal trial


  • Ultrasonic devices for early diagnosis of periodontal diseases (UltraD3 project) - benchtop, preclinical animal trial, clinical trial

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.

Clinical facilities CSB 186pxClinical facilities within the new Faculty of Dentistry Clinical Services Building.

ARCHnetwork186px[1]ARCH Network website

More information

Clinical and translational research programme profile
(Extract from our 2019-2020 SJWRI Research Report)

Key research staff, postgraduate students and collaborations

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