Smart Biomaterials Research Laboratory

Principal Investigator

Santiago Orrego, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Oral Health Sciences, Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry
Assistant Professor, Bioengineering Department, College of Engineering
Temple University
Phone: 215-707-3817

Short Biography

Santiago was a Postdoctoral Fellow at The Johns Hopkins University in the Department of Mechanical Engineering under guidance of Prof. Sung Hoon Kang. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland Baltimore County under supervision of Prof. Dwayne Arola. His contributions in science, academia and industry focus on the intersection between smart materials, microbiology and medicine.

Research Interests

We seek to exploit features of smart materials (e.g. thermoelectric, piezoelectric, magnetoresistive) applied to the biomedical field enhancing treatment and diagnose of disease and injury. We are developing smart biomaterials to provide:

  • Antibacterial and antifungal effects using unique technologies and mechanisms
  • Tissue regeneration and remineralization
  • Shift in the oral microbiome towards balanced states preventing infection and disease
  • Deliver drugs using biodegradable, dose-controlled oral appliances
  • Oral biosensors (“Oral FitBit” or smart brackets)

Our laboratory has a unique research line. We work at the interface between advanced materials, microbiology, medicine and sensors.

We have expertise in fabrication of advanced materials, testing and evaluation, 3D printing, sensing and electronics, scaffolding, microbiology, confocal microscopy.


Rooms 2L14 and 2L18  (1,000 ft2) - AEGD Clinic - 2nd Floor.

Our laboratory is fully equipped for fabrication, testing and evaluation of smart biomaterials. We have equipment for mechanical testing of different types of materials (ceramics, resins, polymers, biological tissues, implants) under different types of loading (cyclic, quasistatic). For fabrication and manufacturing of biomaterials, we have available 3D-printers (direct ink-writing and FDM), electrospinning, molding, machine shop, polisher. In addition, we have equipment to analyze surfaces including microhardness tester, contact profilometer and several standard light and stereoptical microscopes. We have equipment available for sensors including oscilloscope, data acquisition systems. We have unique expertise on testing dental materials under simulated oral conditions and mastication including bacteria exposure and cyclic loading representing mastication.

We have unique expertise on testing dental materials under realistic oral conditions. We built small devices that fit inside incubators. The devices apply forces while growing microorganisms (bacteria, fungi).

We have full access to the College of Engineering research infrastructure and resources ranging from fluorescent microscopes, materials testing equipment, AFM, XPS, FTIR to machining equipment. More information here.

We have access to the NanoInstrumentation Center equipped with ESEM-EDS and Microcomputed Tomography (microCT) Core Facility at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine. In addition, we have access to all of the research cores available at the Fox Chase Cancer Center.


We are engaged in active collaboration with the Oral Microbiome Research Laboratory to test novel dental smart biomaterials exposed to multispecies biofilm.

Representative Publications

Du, Y., Montoya, C., Orrego, S., Wei, X., Ling, J., Lelkes, P. I., & Yang, M. (2019). Topographic cues of a novel bilayered scaffold modulate dental pulp stem cells differentiation by regulating YAP signalling through cytoskeleton adjustments. Cell Proliferation, e12676.

Dagro, A., Rajbhandari, L., Orrego, S., Kang, S. H., Venkatesan, A., & Ramesh, K. T. (2019). Quantifying the Local Mechanical Properties of Cells in a Fibrous Three-Dimensional Microenvironment. Biophysical Journal, 117, 817-828. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2019.07.042

Orrego, S., Shoele, K., Ruas, A., Doran, K., Caggiano, B., Mittal, R., Kang, S.H. (2017). Harvesting ambient wind energy with an inverted piezoelectric flag. Applied Energy, 194, 212-222. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.03.016

Orrego, S., Xu, H.H., Arola, D.D. (2017). Degradation in the fatigue crack growth resistance of human dentin by lactic acid. Materials Science and Engineering-C, 73, 716-725. doi:10.1016/j.msec.2016.12.065

Orrego, S., Melo, M.A., Lee, S.H., Xu, H.H., Arola, D.D. (2016). Fatigue of human dentin by cyclic loading and during oral biofilm challenge. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B: Applied Biomaterials, 105, 1978-1985. doi:10.1002/jbm.b.33729

Melo, M.A., Orrego, S., Weir, M.D., Xu, H.H., Arola, D.D. (2016). Designing multiagent dental materials for enhanced resistance to biofilm damage at the bonded interface. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 8(18), 11779-11787. doi:10.1021/acsami.6b01923

Orrego, S., Romberg, E., Arola, D.D (2015). Synergistic degradation of dentin by cyclic stress and buffer agitation. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 44, 121-132. doi:10.1016/j.jmbbm.2015.01.006

Lee, H.H., Majd, H., Orrego, S., Majd, B., Romberg, E., Mutluay, M.M., Arola, D.D. (2014). Degradation in the fatigue strength of dentin by cutting, etching and adhesive bonding. Dental Materials, 30(9), 1061-1072.   doi:10.1016/

Do, D., Orrego, S., Majd, H., Ryou, H., Mutluay, M.M., Xu, H.H., Arola, D.D. (2013). Accelerated fatigue of dentin with exposure to lactic acid. Biomaterials, 34(34), 8650-8659. doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.07.090