By combining their materials science expertise with large-scale medical research, Missouri University of Science and Technology researchers hope to meet clinical demands for glass-related solutions through a new Center for Glass Science and Technology (CGST).

The new center will build on Missouri S&T’s previous success in glass research, which includes the development of bioactive glasses to treat open wounds and cancers. 

“Complex biomedical and health-related problems can be solved in different ways, including the design of novel materials like glass,” says Dr. Richard Brow, the center’s director and Curators’ Distinguished Professor of materials science and engineering at S&T. “We develop solutions for problems, and we don’t want to lose that capability, so expanding our work into this interdisciplinary center will allow us to continue to grow.” 

Missouri S&T researchers currently conduct glass research in a number of disciplines, including additive manufacturing techniques in mechanical engineering, optical sensors in electrical engineering, glass fibers and coating for construction materials in civil engineering, and bioactive glass in biological sciences. 

“We have an international reputation for glass research expertise, and we want to ensure we have the opportunity to build on this success,” says Brow. “From solid-state fuel cells to radioactive waste management to biomedical applications, Missouri S&T wants to continue to build that reputation by attracting more world-class faculty and students to participate in this center.” 

The CGST was formed with funding from the University of Missouri System (UM), and the grant will provide equipment and dedicated lab space to support research across the system related to the NextGen Precision Health Initiative. 

NextGen is expected to accelerate medical advances for patients in the state and beyond through medical science discoveries, treatments and area economic growth. It will also increase collaboration among UM scientists and industry partners, and train a new generation of health care scientists and practitioners who will help address future health care needs. 

“The center’s research is geared toward materials science work that will complement the NextGen Precision Health Initiative,” says Brow. “For example, with our bioactive glass work we partner with the other UM System campuses because we can engineer the materials, but to tune the glass for a particular disease we need to collaborate with researchers from the University of Missouri–Columbia and the University of Missouri–Kansas City medical schools.”

Along with Brow, the center’s main researchers include Dr. Ming Leu, the Keith and Pat Bailey Professor of Integrated Product Manufacturing at Missouri S&T; Dr. Julia Medvedeva, professor of physics at Missouri S&T; Dr. Julie Semon, assistant professor of biological sciences at Missouri S&T; and Dr. Steven Segal, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of medical pharmacology and physiology and the Margaret Proctor Mulligan Professor in Medical Research at the MU School of Medicine. 

For more information about the center’s efforts to support the NextGen Precision Health Initiative, visit precisionhealth.umsystem.edu.