Enabling research and innovation

Research award program

Align Technology believes in enabling research and innovation within the dentistry industry with a goal to improve orthodontic and dental treatment for communities around the globe.

In 2010, Align Technology began the Research Award Program with the goal to support clinical and scientific orthodontic and dental research in universities across the globe. Since its inception in 2010, we have funded over approximately $2.7 million in research awards. Research has provided insights into various areas including tooth movement efficacy with clear aligner therapy, oral hygiene and microbial bacteria presence or absence with clear aligners, and comparisons in quality of life with aligners as compared to fixed appliances.

Each year, awards are made available for dental research at universities across the globe. All applications are reviewed by an independent academic committee that forwards its recommendations to Align Technology for final selection.

The following eleven research grants have been awarded under the 2023 Annual Research Award Program, with $275,000 to be funded as part of Align’s ongoing Annual Research Awards Program.

The Americas research award recipients for 2023 are:

  • University of Washington (Seattle, US) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Greg Huang
  • University of the Pacific (San Francisco, US) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Heeyeon Suh
  • University of Alberta (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Camila Pacheco-Pereira
  • Uniderp (Campo Grande-MS, Brazil) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Paula Vanessa Pedron Oltramari

The European research award recipients for 2023 are:

  • UniCamillus, International Medical University (Rome, Italy) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Roberta Lione
  • Mohammed Bin Rashid University (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Sabarinath Prasad
  • Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt (Frankfurt, Germany) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Babak Sayahpour
  • University of Milan (Milan, Italy) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Francesca Gaffuri

The Asia Pacific research award recipients for 2023 are:

  • Sichuan University (Chengdu, China) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Hu Long
  • School of Stomatology Wuhan University (Wuhan, China) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Sanjie Yeweng
  • Mahidol University (Bangkok, Thailand) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Narudol Treethanya

The 2023 funded research studies will cover a wide range of topics for projects seeking to better understand treatments in orthodontics and dentistry including, but not limited to: ClinCheck® treatment planning software and cone-beam computed tomography (“CBCT”) integration; Curve of Wilson in the lower arch using aligners vs. fixed appliances; comparing the pre-treatment characteristics, demographics, efficiency & effectiveness, prevalence and extent of white-spot-lesions in adolescents treated with aligners vs. fixed appliances in an academic setting; comparing the maxillary and mandibular arch changes with aligners vs. removable palatal expansion and Schwarz appliances; evaluating the treatment outcomes with clear aligner therapy during mixed dentition in transverse and vertical dimensions; comparing the microhardness values of the resin composite attachments using different light curing protocols; three-dimensional characteristics of facial soft tissues with Angle Class II malocclusion; clinical effectiveness of virtual root and bone model system; and, orofacial and smile changes with mandibular advancement, precision bite ramps, and craniofacial changes induced by maxillary expansion.

All award applications received were first reviewed and prioritized in a blind evaluation by an independent academic committee. The final recipients were then determined by Align Technology.