Regenerative Bone Therapy:

An Innovation Hub Project

improved oral bone regeneration.

Schematic illustration of the use of nanocalcium sulfate synthetic bone graft material.

As part of the Innovation Hub initiative, Distinguished Professor and Chair, Mark Swihart is joining Rosemary Dziak, Professor in the Department of Oral Biology, School of Dental Medicine in a project aimed at improving regenerative bone therapy.


With large, irregular defects in the jaw that cannot heal on their own, over 500,000 patients per year require bone grafts for successful treatment. Current bone-grafting materials are often either extracted from cadavers or from patients themselves. While synthetic materials are available, they are infrequently used. To further the field of synthetic grafting and address the aforementioned concerns, this team is optimizing their patented nanocalcium sulfate product for the development of synthetic nanobone grafting materials that will provide both superior strength and usability characteristics.

With the $64,000 award, the Swihart research group in collaboration with Professor Rosemary Dziak of the Department of Oral Biology will work to find a solution to the ethical and patient concerns around regenerative bone therapy.

Scanning electron microscopy images of synthetic bone graft materials.

Electron microscopy images of currently-available and FDA-approved calcium sulfate (left) and patented nano calcium sulfate (right).

Innovation Hub Initiative

Six months ago, UB and partners launched the Innovation Hub initiative to support the region’s growing startup economy. “Innovation Hub is closing the gap between innovators and the marketplace by connecting researchers, students and clinicians to the funding, facilities and expertise they need to commercialize their ideas more rapidly and effectively.” -Christina Orsi, Associate Vice President for Economic Development

With applications accepted on a biannual basis, the second round of applicants currently under review, and the search for the third round beginning in early 2020. There are now seven entrepreneurial teams working to advance promising new technologies that aim to solve pressing societal challenges. The teams — six from UB, one from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center — are developing new therapeutics for respiratory failure, more efficient and sustainable batteries, opioid alternatives for chronic pain and other innovations.

See more about the initiative and projects here, or visit the Innovation Hub website for more information.

Project Team

  • Mark Swihart, Ph.D., (Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering - Partner, Manager Engineering)
  • Rosemary Dziak, Ph.D., (Professor, Department of Oral Biology, SUNY- Buffalo School of Dental Medicine - Partner, Manager Oral Biology)
  • Dr. Rosemary Dziak’s research group, Department of Oral Biology 
  • Bhoomika Sheth (M.S. Chemical and Biological Engineering, August 2019)