Translational Research

Let There Be Catalysts for ChangeFaculty from Weintraub Center

Shortly following his high school graduation, Louis Dahlman enrolled in the Army and was deployed to southern Iraq in 2007. The unit he was assigned to was tasked with convoy security missions to distribute critical supplies throughout the dangerous region. On a routine outing, the Humvee Louis was a gunner on was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) and he was severely injured.

Once Louis returned to the U.S., he immediately began reconstructive surgery at Brooke Army Medical Center to rebuild his destroyed lower jaw using bone from his leg. Through Operation Mend, a unique partnership that combines military resources with world-renowned medical expertise found at UCLA, he qualified to receive free surgical reconstructive surgery and advanced prosthodontics rehabilitation.

After successful surgery at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Louis was ready to begin the final shaping of his jaw’s intra-oral soft tissue. Highly trained specialists from the Jane and Jerry Weintraub Center for Reconstructive Biotechnology at UCLA School of Dentistry performed this step of his recovery. At the conclusion of his care, he was fitted with an implant supported dental prosthesis, bringing function and esthetics back to his lower jaw. Since the completion of his surgeries, Louis’ life has dramatically improved. 

Louis Dahlman

“Since getting my implants I am now able to enjoy a lot of the foods that I enjoyed before my injury,” said Louis. “I can sit down and enjoy a bowl of cereal. These surgeries have greatly improved my life.”

The Weintraub Center at the School of Dentistry is unlike any other translational research center in the world. It is home to cutting-edge advances at the interface of engineering, biology, and medicine that are being translated into important breakthroughs in patient care. A major focus of the Center is the development of advanced technologies for regenerative medicine, cancer therapeutics, immun­e modulation, drug delivery, implants, sensing, and imaging.