What do multipotentialites and hemophiliacs have in common?

Emilie Wapnick gave a TED Talk last year about a group of humans she calls “multipotentialites.” For those not familiar with the term, it basically refers to people who have the potential, desire and/or drive to explore and become competent in many different fields, which are often unrelated. In fact, Ms. Wapnick divides all of humanity into two categories: multipotentialites and specialists. She postulates that it is in both kinds of people working together that true innovation happens.

At Penn Dental Medicine, that is the everyday norm. PDM is the Philadelphia dental clinic that stands above other Philadelphia dental clinics largely in part because of the great advances made in the research department. Take Dr. Geelsu Hwang as an example. Hwang is trained as an engineer, but has begun contributing to the field of dentistry in a unique way.

Two Huge Breakthroughs at One Philadelphia Dental Clinic

While engineers are no strangers to the medical field by now, Dr. Hwang says that “introducing engineering methods into dental medicine is fairly new.” Why now? Dr. Michel Koo, Professor of Orthodontics, says, “Geelsu can dramatically advance the field of dental medicine by providing ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking and novel engineering approaches.”


To be precise, Dr. Hwang is working to understand how microbes adhere to solid surfaces, and how to break apart the biofilm that causes tooth decay. The goal of the Philadelphia dental clinic is to develop a new drug that eventually blocks the formation of these biofilms.

Another example of an incredible innovation coming from cooperation between many brilliant people is Penn Dental Medicine’s recent breakthrough regarding biopharmaceuticals. Biopharmaceuticals are drugs that are based on whole proteins, and are currently very expensive to fabricate. Dr. Henry Daniell and his team of eight did precisely what Dr. Koo praised Dr. Hwang for–thinking outside the box.

Dr. Daniell’s team has come up with way to make shelf-stable drugs at greatly reduced costs to patients. They specifically studied a medicine that treats hemophiliacs, genetically modifying plants by introducing the therapeutic gene. Over the course of the study, they found that lettuce plants worked well and could be freeze-dried, ground up, and stored for two years. This study could mean a great deal to many people who have been paying upwards of a million dollars to receive a treatment that will now cost significantly less.

The advances made at this Philadelphia dental school are crucial innovations that will change the face of dental medicine for generations to come! Not only are these individuals working together to make advances in dental medicine, but also in other fields where they are needed and able. That’s the beauty of the U of P Dental School, and Penn Dental Medicine: a community of intelligent, innovative scholars coming together to change the world for the better.

If you want to get dental work done, don’t go to a second-rate office. Contact the Philadelphia dental clinic you can trust!

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