What’s a nice Chemist/Biochemist like me doing in the Melbourne Dental School?

One of the major successes from the research carried out at the Melbourne Dental School is the development of the product Recaldent™

Mr David Stanton graduated from Monash University in 1981 majoring in Chemistry and Biochemistry. During his first job he learnt the technique Reversed Phase High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (RP-HPLC). In his second job he learnt to use RP-HPLC for the analysis and quantitation of various chemicals. In his third job he learnt to use RP-HPLC to purify peptides. His fourth job was with the Eric Reynolds research group in the early 1990s.

"I was involved in the early scale-up production and analysis of the product that would later become Recaldent. I left that job to pursue another interest but was enticed back in 2002 by an offer from Dr Laila Huq that was too good to refuse. I was made permanent in 2004 and have been working at the Dental Laboratories at the Bio 21 Institute since 2006.

Demonstrating the principles of RP-HPLC to Prof. Eric Reynolds and the founder(?) of the GC Corporation that markets Tooth Mousse (2014).

One of the major successes from the research carried out at the Melbourne Dental School is the development of the product Recaldent™. Recaldent is a unique ingredient derived from naturally occurring protein found in cows’ milk. Recaldent helps to strengthen teeth by delivering calcium and phosphate to the enamel to remineralise the areas that have been affected by plaque bacteria.  Recaldent is the active ingredient in Tooth Mousse ™ and other dental products.

My role at the Melbourne Dental School is to support the factory in Scoresby that produces raw Recaldent. The method to synthesise Recaldent is a complex, expensive and time-consuming process. Most of the time this happens without any problems. But on those rare occasions when there are problems with the Recaldent process at the plant I will be asked to work out why. This is where my chemistry/biochemistry background comes into play.  I use various chemical techniques and analytical instruments to test the product to provide answers to the plant to fix their problem. Furthermore, the plant is always looking for ways to reduce process time and expenses. They will ask us to modify the method or make changes to the ingredients. I will make up a small batch of Recaldent in the laboratory and then analyse the final product to see if it passes the required specifications. Again, I use those chemical techniques and analytical instruments to test the product that I made in the laboratory. If the modification is successful, then we will report it back to our industrial partners who can use the information to make changes to the process. When I am not working on Recaldent I use my skills to analyse samples for staff and students of the Melbourne Dental School. All this work has led to the publication of 19 Conference papers / Journal articles / Book chapters."

Demonstrating a machine that I use to produce lab-scale Recaldent to Prof. Eric Reynolds and the founder(?) of the GC Corporation that markets Tooth Mousse (2014)