Biomedical Materials Science

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Graduate Program

The Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program offers a track in Biomedical Materials Science that gives students a solid background in materials science and biomaterials through structured course work and a hands-on research project. Graduates will possess the necessary skills for research careers in academia as well as industry. Entering students must have an undergraduate degree in engineering, science, or healthcare.

The education of the student focuses on the fundamental understanding of materials science and the biological principles that govern the response to biomedical materials and devices when implanted in the body. Students are educated through didactic instruction, laboratories, and involvement in active research projects.

Research Areas: 

  • Mechanical design optimization of dental implants
  • Three dimensional computer modeling and validation of dental restorations and oral-maxillofacial implants
  • Fatigue, fracture, and failure analysis of implant materials and ceramics
  • Bioactive, antimicrobial, and osseointegrative implant coatings
  • Synthesis and modification of polymeric biomaterials
  • Tissue engineering
  • Investigation of cellular biology (obesity, liver diseases)
  • Drug delivery systems

Emphasis on a Well-Rounded Education:

Depending on a student’s educational background (biological sciences, engineering), additional didactic instruction is provided. Students are educated in various ways to prepare them as well-rounded researchers. For example:

  • Students are trained to be competent in using the multiple biomedical materials analysis techniques available within the department.
  • Students are coached to critically evaluate the published scientific literature and present the results of their own scientific investigations, both orally and in writing, cogently, with appropriate statistical analysis.
  • The graduate program facilitates rotations for the students in research labs that are outside of their mentor’s lab to broaden their exposure to different scientific disciplines.
  • Students are also provided opportunities to participate in various community outreach activities such as K-12 education, community events to demonstrate science-related information, and judging at science fairs.
  • All students actively mentor high school, undergraduate, and dental students in their research.

Student Productivity:

In the past six years, our graduate students have:

  • Won 15 awards for outstanding research
  • Published 24 journal articles
  • Filed 2 patent disclosures
  • Contributed to 55 conference presentations
  • Mentored 29 high school, undergraduate, and dental students in their research

With such a multifaceted training approach, the Ph.D. graduates from our program have secured gainful employment in academia, government, and industry.

Some of the Job Titles for our Graduates Include:

  • Associate professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • Assistant professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • Scholar-In-Residence, Food and Drug Administration
  • Senior Manager at American Dental Association
  • Research Engineer at a dental manufacturer
  • Process Engineer at a materials manufacturer

Requirements for Admission:

  • B.S./M.S. in an Engineering, Science, or Healthcare Discipline
  • Strong Interest in Materials Science
  • GRE (≥ 300)
  • Official Transcripts
  • Three Letters of Reference
  • International applicants require TOEFL (≥ 79) and must demonstrate a level of written and oral proficiency in English (More details at https://www.umc.edu/Office-of-International-Services)
  • Apply ASAP for Full Consideration
  • Apply online at: umc.edu/graduateschool

Graduate Student Perks:

  • $26,000 per year living allowance (Yes, you get paid to obtain a PhD)
  • Full tuition scholarship
  • Free health insurance
  • Attend national and international meetings
  • Generate cutting edge medical knowledge
  • Train with nationally and internationally recognized biomedical researchers
  • Train the next-generation of high school and undergraduate biomedical researchers

Faculty Mentors:

Jason A. Griggs, PhD, FADM (Professor, Chair of BMS, Associate Dean for Research)

With 26 years of experience in mechanical testing and failure analysis of dental materials, Dr. Griggs’ current research focus is on fatigue fracture testing and lifetime prediction because long-term cyclic loading is necessary to predict clinically relevant material performance. He was awarded three NIH R01 grants to develop novel, more efficient methods of accelerated lifetime testing. His fourth R01 grant is aimed at validating fractal geometry as a failure analysis tool to determine the fracture toughness and failure stress of clinically retrieved dental ceramics.

Amol V. Janorkar, PhD (Professor, Director of Graduate Program, Director of UPSTART Program)

Training and experience in the field of biomaterials and tissue engineering over the past 19 years has well prepared Dr. Janorkar to lead a research group that focuses on cell-biomaterial interactions to direct cell morphology and ultimate cell function. With its research funded by the NIH, NSF, and USDA, the Janorkar Lab uses chemical and physical modification of biopolymer substrates to create three-dimensional in vitro tissue models that achieve enhanced survival and biological function versus conventional cultures for liver, adipose, and bone tissue engineering.

R. Scott Williamson, PhD (Assistant Professor, Director of BMS Shared Equipment Facility)

Over the past 18 years, Dr. Williamson has worked with many orthopedic and dental implant manufacturers as well as primary producers of medical-grade metal alloys. His research focuses in the areas of biomechanical implant evaluation, medical-grade alloy development, anti-microbial coatings for implants, and additive manufacturing design and evaluation of implants. Collaborating with orthopedic surgeons, he develops and evaluates surgical procedures and implant systems in cadaveric specimens.

Michael D. Roach, PhD (Associate Professor)

Dr. Roach’s research lab engages in product development and quality control related research with both orthopedic and dental industrial partners. One research area is fatigue and corrosion fatigue failure evaluations of newly developed metallic alloys produced by conventional wrought production as well as cutting-edge additive manufacturing to be used as biomaterials. Another research area is the development of antibacterial anodized coatings on titanium implants which may also enhance osseointegration.

Yuanyuan Duan, PhD, BDS (Assistant Professor)

Dr. Duan’s research group focuses on biomechanical study of dental restorations and implants. She creates 3-D digital models of dental devices using high-resolution micro-CT scanning data and investigates the stress distribution using finite element analysis. Her research aims to conduct lifetime analysis for dental devices, simulate surgical procedures, and investigate influence of various design factors on biomechanical behavior of dental devices to improve their design and clinical outcome.

Susana Salazar Marocho, PhD, BDS (Assistant Professor)

For the last 12 years, Dr. Salazar Marocho has engaged in research on dental ceramics, with an emphasis on their characterization, bonding, mechanical behavior, reliability, failure mechanisms, and lifetime. Utilizing an integrative approach including standard and clinically relevant specimens, Dr. Salazar’s research group is developing less expensive, less time-consuming and non-destructive methods for removal of Y-TZP restorations by using different settings of an erbium, chromium-doped: yttrium, scandium, gallium, and garnet (Er,Cr:YSGG) laser.

Current Graduate Students:

The BMS Ph.D. program is a truly inter-disciplinary program as evidenced by the student backgrounds listed below.

Jared Cobb, B.S. Polymer Science

Year Joined Program: 2016

Accomplishments in Program: 3 Awards; 1 Journal article; 2 Patent disclosures; X Conference presentations; Undergraduate and dental student mentoring

Kartikeya Singh Jodha, B.S. Biomedical Engineering

Year Joined Program: 2016

Accomplishments in Program: 3 Awards; X Conference presentations; Undergraduate and dental student mentoring; Leadership

Haden Johnson, B.S. Biological Engineering, M.S. Biological Engineering

Year Joined Program: 2017

Accomplishments in Program: 1 Award; X Conference presentations; Undergraduate and dental student mentoring

Lauren Corby, B.S. Physics

Year Joined Program: 2018

Accomplishments in Program: 1 Conference presentation; Leadership

Kadie Parker, B.S. Biological Engineering

Year Joined Program: 2018

Accomplishments in Program: 1 Conference presentation

Megha Satpathy, B.S. Biomedical Engineering

Year Joined Program: 2018

Accomplishments in Program: 2 Conference presentations

For More Information:

For more information on application procedures, financial aid and faculty, contact:

Dr. Amol V. Janorkar
Director, Graduate Programs in Biomedical Materials Science
(601) 984-6170

University of Mississippi Medical Center
School of Dentistry
Department of Biomedical Materials Science
2500 N. State St., D528
Jackson, MS 39216-4505
(601) 984-6170