Smart Biomaterials Research Laboratory

Principal Investigator

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

Research Interests

We seek to exploit interesting characteristics of smart materials (e.g. thermoelectric, piezoelectric, magnetoresistive) applied to the biomedical field enhancing treatment and diagnose of disease and injury.

  • Smart biomaterials for diagnostics and therapeutics (theranostics)
  • Smart biomaterials for regenerative medicine in hard tissues (bone and teeth)
  • Smart surface functionalization of implant devices for antimicrobial capabilities
  • Development of smart dental materials with improved bonding durability, anti-biofilm and remineralizating features
  • Bioinspired material and mechanical systems design for advanced engineering and medical devices

Our goal is to develop smart implantable biomaterials with tailored interaction with the body, enhancing diagnostics and therapeutics (theranostics) functions.

We have expertise in advanced materials, material fabrication, testing and evaluation, 3D printing, sensing and electronics, scaffolding.


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 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

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