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KU Engineering Professor to Lecture in Brazil

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Distinguished Professor Paulette Spencer
A distinguished professor from the University of Kansas will spend a month at the University of Sao Paulo campus in Bauru, Brazil, teaching and participating in seminars about on biological interfaces as a visiting professor.

Paulette Spencer, Deane E. Ackers distinguished professor of mechanical engineering and director of the KU Bioengineering Research Center, in August will speak to dental students about methods for assessing the interaction between bioengineered materials and internal biological matter.

“I will be discussing how we use a non-deconstructive method to assess how synthetic materials interact with biological tissue using focused sound,” Spencer said.

Spencer said she would be able to accomplish multiple goals while in Brazil.

“The students here are talented and committed. Hopefully, we can bring some of them to KU to work on research with us,” she said.

One of the most interesting aspects of working with students and researchers in a developing country is to see how work methods and tools differ.

“What I come away from my trips here with is a new appreciation for the work they do there,” she said. “They keep the same standards of sterility and research as we do here in the U.S., but in many cases, they are using tools that are years old.

“It shows me that they are learning how to do more with limited means, and in some cases, they get better research results because of the effort they put in.

“I am involved with a program for providing dental care for inner city youth that is heavily subsidized. We use state-of-the-art equipment, which is excellent but can be costly. Meanwhile, they provide similar excellent care with the resources they have.”

Spencer has been a distinguished professor at KU since 2007. She received her D.D.S. in pediatric dentistry in 1978 from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and her doctorate in oral biology and physics from UMKC in 1993. She is a fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science, the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

The KU Bioengineering Research Center, which Spencer leads, serves as a catalyst for interdisciplinary investigations focused on a variety of bioengineering studies including:


  • design and development of new biomaterials,

  • development of clinical imaging devices and technologies,

  • biosensor and biomarker development and application,

  • multi-scale computational modeling,

  • biomechanics of motion and neural engineering, and

  • manipulation of molecules to further the next generation of nanotechnologies and targeted delivery of therapeutic agents. 


Learn more:

Bioengineering at the University of Kansas.



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