Align Technology Inc, San Jose, Calif, has awarded $310,000 in new funding to four universities in North America and eight international universities for projects seeking to better understand orthodontic treatment and use of intraoral scanners.

“The number of applications for the Research Award Program increased tremendously this year. The topics and quality of the proposals received from around the world are very impressive making the program even more competitive than in previous years. We eagerly await the results of the university research efforts funded by this program as we endeavor to advance the field of clinical orthodontics,” said John Morton, director, research and technology at Align Technology.

The North America research award recipients for 2015 are:

  • Drs Joel Gluck, Marion Messersmith, and Sonia Rahangdale at Vanderbilt University, $25,000
  • Drs Phimon Atsawasuwan, Manika Agarwal, and Spiro J. Megremis at University of Illinois at Chicago, $25,000
  • Drs Carlos Flores-Mir, Camila Pacheco-Pereira, and Terry Carlyle at University of Alberta, $25,000
  • Drs Miroslav Tolar, Robert Boyd, Mohammed Fallah, HeeSoo Oh, and Marie Tolarova at University of the Pacific, $25,000

The International research award recipients for 2015 are:

  • Drs Ali Darendeliler and Alexandra K. Papadopoulou at University of Sydney (Australia), $25,000
  • Drs Graciela J. Barreda, Elizabeth A. Dzierewianko, Karina A. Muñoz, and Gisela I. Piccoli at SAO – UCES (Argentina), $25,000
  • Drs Jana B. Chabke, Waddah Sabouni, and Philippe Chanavaz at Paris Descartes University (France), $25,000
  • Drs Isabelle Graf, Bert Braumann, Jorg Schwarze, Carolin Keller, Julia Supke, and Andreas Stippig at University of Cologne (Germany), $25,000
  • Drs Bin Cai, Tingting Ai, Lixiang Mai, Xiaonan, and Lusai Xiang at Sun Yat-sen University (China), $25,000
  • Drs Phanomporn Vanichanon, Supranee Vichiennet, and Thanaporn Sowithayasakui at Chulalongkorn University (Thailand), $25,000
  • Drs Wenli Lai, Hu Long, Renhuan Huang, Rui Xu, and Rui Zhao at Sichuan University (China)
  • Drs Mimi Yow, Linton J. Nash, and Jason C. Sheng at National University of Singapore (Singapore), $25,000

“As we further expand our growth in the international markets, especially in the APAC regions, more universities are now engaging in advanced research to further the capability of Invisalign treatment in all types of malocclusion and orthodontics. Align Technology is honored to be able to provide this funding to enable universities to better understand the issues involved in orthodontic treatment around the world today,” said Dr Mitra Derakhshan, clinical international director for Align Technology.

The research study proposals approved for funding in 2015 consist of evaluating long term flexibility, and translucency of clear retainers; understanding of the factors that influence patients’ satisfaction with their Invisalign orthodontic treatment outcomes; quantifying the amount of tooth movement achieved; evaluation of the magnitude of force applied by an aligner; evaluating the efficacy, effectiveness, and treatment results, and stability of open bite treatment; evaluating attachment surfaces; evaluating treatment duration for surgical class II patients; evaluating occlusal characteristics and oral health-related quality of life; examining the effect of orthodontic treatment on speech; analyzing occlusion in patients before and after Invisalign treatment; comparing tooth movement efficacy and comfort with Invisalign treatment.

In 2013, Align introduced a intraoral scanner research award component in recognition of the rapid increase in the utilization of intraoral scanning technology. The following are the scanner award recipients for 2015:

  • Dr Emiliya D. Taneva at University of Illinois at Chicago, $5,000
  • Dr Jing Guo at Shandong University (China), $5,000

The two intraoral scanner award proposals include evaluating palatal rugae patterns using 3-dimensional digital models obtained with the iTero intraoral scanner; evaluating the repeatability and reliability of digital intraoral scanning by different operators under clinical conditions.

All proposals received were reviewed and prioritized by an independent academic committee in a blind evaluation. The 2015 academic committee is comprised of six members: Dr Sunil Wadhwa (Chair), director of the Division of Orthodontics at Columbia University; Professor Donald Burden, director of the Centre for Dentistry at the Queen’s University at Belfast, Ireland; Dr Emile Rossouw, chairman of the Department of Orthodontics at the University of North Carolina; Dr Glenn Sameshima, chairman of the Advanced Orthodontic Program at the University of Southern California; Dr Allen Firestone, associate professor of orthodontics at Columbia University; and Dr Timothy Wheeler, professor of orthodontics at the University of Florida, previous academic committee chair, and committee advisor.

The 2016 Align Research Award Program submission details are to be announced later this year.