DMD Students Awarded a UF Luby Microgrant

The Gatorguard team is composed of four dedicated DMD students: Miles Turner (CEO), Raafi Zaman (COO), Brennan Erl (CFO), and Thomas Koby (CSO). These talented individuals have worked together to develop a unique business idea: a 3D-printed high-performance sports mouthguard . We are excited to announce that the GatorGuard team has won the UF Luby Microgrant! This is a major accomplishment for the team, which has worked hard to develop their business idea and pitch it to a panel of judges. The UF Luby Microgrant will provide the GatorGuard team with the funding they need to bring their innovative product to market.

The Gatorguard mouthguard is the first of its kind to be 3D printed using Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology, which allows for a level of design accuracy down to 25 micrometers. This means that the mouthguards are tailored specifically to the unique shape of an athlete’s teeth for a perfect fit. In addition to its advanced design, the Gatorguard mouthguard also features a unique internal lattice structure that absorbs and dissipates energy across the entire mouthguard surface. This allows for greater protection using less material when compared to even custom mouthguards made by a dentist. The Gatorguard team has been fortunate to have the support and guidance of three experienced mentors: Dr. Mateus Rocha, Dr. Dayane Oliveira, and Dr. Steve Howard. These mentors have helped the team develop their business idea and navigate the challenges of bringing a new product to market.

Dr. Rocha says about his experience mentoring the DMD students:

“Mentoring the GatorGuard team has been a truly rewarding experience. From the very beginning, it was clear that Miles, Raafi, Brennan, and Thomas were a talented and dedicated group of students with a passion for innovation and a desire to make a positive impact in the field of dental health. As their mentor, it was a pleasure to see the team develop their business idea and bring it to fruition. Their idea for a custom high-performance mouthguard was truly innovative, and their hard work and dedication is being recognized. Throughout the mentorship process, I was impressed by the team’s ability to work together, overcome challenges, and learn from their experiences. It was a pleasure to watch them grow and develop as individuals and as a team, and I have no doubt that they will continue to make a positive impact in the world of sports and dental health. For me, Research is one of the most important aspects of the DMD curriculum, as it allows students to gain a deeper understanding of the field and to contribute to the development of new treatments and technologies. For the GatorGuard team, research was a key component of their project, as they worked using evidence based dentistry to develop a new technology. This learning experience extends beyond the classroom, as it can have a real impact in the world of dentistry. For the GatorGuard team, the opportunity to see their research ideas become a real product is a rewarding and exciting experience. I would like to thank Drs. Oliveira and Howard for their contribution in this project.”

One of the key resources that helped the GatorGuard team in their research was the Center for Dental Biomaterials. This center provides students with access to advanced research facilities and equipment, as well as the expertise of faculty members who are leaders in their fields. By using the resources at the Center for Dental Biomaterials, the GatorGuard team was able to develop their mouthguard using an evidence-based approach and test it in labs at the University of Florida College of Dentistry.

The University of Florida is known for its strong focus on translational research, which involves taking research from the laboratory and translating it into practical applications and real-world solutions. This focus on translational research made UF a leader in the field of dentistry and has allowed students like those on the GatorGuard team to make a positive impact in their field.