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TMJ Bioengineering Conference

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The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), or jaw joint, is one of the most complex joints in the body. Despite the tremendous patient population and the significant morbidity related to a plethora of TMJ disorders, the TMJ has been poorly studied in comparison to joints of interest to the orthopaedic community. Unlike the orthopaedic community, there is no organized continuity between engineers, scientists and clinicians in the TMJ research community. In response to this striking lack of coordinated open communication, we are proposing to hold a TMJ Bioengineering Conference. The TMJ Bioengineering Conference is scheduled for May 25-27, 2006 near Boulder, CO. This meeting will be the first of its kind, bringing patients and surgeons together to deliver specific directives to bioengineers. The overall meeting objective is to provide a unique forum for bioengineers to exchange ideas and perspectives with clinicians and patients, in an effort to identify contemporary challenges with treating TMJ disorders and to devise strategies to address these challenges with bioengineering. This objective will be addressed by the following Specific Aims: 1) To obtain bioengineering directives from the clinical community, 2) To incorporate into these bioengineering directives needs as identified by representatives of the patient population, and 3) To set a benchmark for current state-of-the-art treatments and scientific knowledge. We have selected the premiere groups of surgeons and patients to issue the directives of aims 1 and 2?the president of the American Society of TMJ Surgeons will deliver a keynote address based on a consensus of priority issues formulated at their annual meeting, and the president of the TMJ Association patient organization will deliver a keynote address based on previous meetings and decades of experience and interaction with TMJ patients. A benchmark for contemporary knowledge of the TMJ will be assessed by 38 speakers in sessions on tissue engineering, biomechanics, biology and clinical treatment. Dissemination of these directives and a summary of salient discussions will be featured in an article that will go to the Annals of Biomedical Engineering, the official journal of the main bioengineering professional society, the Biomedical Engineering Society. There is a compelling need for this conference, which will set the stage not only for future TMJ-specific bioengineering meetings, but will also serve as a milestone expansion in TMJ research by developing continuity, fostering collaborations, and drawing more talent to the field.
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