Institute of Bioengineering Research

Paulette Spencer, D.D.S., Ph.D.

Deane E. Ackers Distinguished Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Director of the Institute of Bioengineering Research
Primary office:
Learned Hall, 3111

Building on her education and experience, Dr. Spencer leads a research program that is driven by clinical need, and integrates engineering principles with the clinical practice of medicine and dentistry. She is a pioneer in the development of non-destructive techniques to characterize structure/property relationships at tissue/tissue and material/tissue interfaces. It has been recognized for decades that the failure of reconstructed tissues and joints using synthetic and/or tissue-engineered materials starts at the interface, but mechanistic evaluation of interfacial failure remains limited. Dr. Spencer’s research team uses multi-scale characterization techniques and mathematical modeling to define the fundamental phenomena that control biological interactions at material interfaces. Armed with an understanding of the reactions that lead to failure, her team is developing a new generation of biomaterials that will impede bacterial attachment, neutralize the acidic micro-environment, re-mineralize defective tissues and offer durable performance in the clinical environment.

Teaching Interests

  • Biomaterials
  • Research methods
  • Bioengineering

Research Interests

  • Biomaterials
  • Material/tissue interface
  • Dental materials


  • Society for Applied Spectroscopy (2002 - Present)
  • Society for Biomaterials (1997 - Present)
  • American Dental Association (1996 - Present)
  • Missouri Dental Association (1996 - Present)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (1992 - Present)
  • Omicron Kappa Upsilon-Rho Chapter (1992 - Present)
  • American Association of Dental Research, Kansas City Section (1988 - Present)
  • Sigma Xi (1987 - Present)
  • International Association of Dental Research (1982 - Present)