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Texas Innovator Winter 2008
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“Don’t be afraid to fail. Get out there and experiment and learn and fail and get a rate based on the experiences you have.

Go for it and when you go for it you’ll learn what you’re capable of, what the potential is, where the opportunities are, but you can’t be afraid to fail because that’s when you learn.” — Michael Dell
CEO, Dell Computer

A Message from

Comptroller Susan Combs

Innovators don’t follow; they blaze their own trail and make the most of their opportunities. That spirit is captured in this issue’s collection of breakthroughs from Texas and the world. From Texas dental students giving some bite back to their patients, olive oil’s growing place in the Texas agricultural market or a new tool for fighting those pesky fire ants, this issue of Texas Innovator delivers these stories and more. In keeping with that innovative thinking, we’re proud to introduce “The In Crowd,” a new feature that will introduce you to some of the people behind the stories in Texas Innovator. And for the first time, we’ve added exciting Web-only content that offers our readers a closer look at other fascinating topics, including research on a blindness cure, heart-powered robots and even a hotel in space. You’ll find all of this here.


Apple Core

Sink your teeth in

People who lose their natural teeth lose 80-90 percent of their biting power, according to Dr. Lily Garcia, professor and chair of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio (HSC) Department of Prosthodontics. Ceramic and titanium implants are giving some of that back.

HSC dental resident students perform the implant procedure. Patients are carefully screened, Garcia says, to ensure their treatment needs meet the educational needs of the students.

Each implant includes a one-piece ceramic arch supported by titanium posts. It is the first use for a one-piece ceramic prosthesis.

“[The implant] offers a patient the best possible result intra-orally, in that after oral rehabilitation, the patient can function as close to normal as possible,” Garcia says.

Lengthy, traditional treatments leave patients with longer rehabilitation times, often stretching into months, Garcia says. Those are reduced with the implant.

“Using computer-assisted design and manufacturing technology, the patient can function soon after the combined surgery and implant crown placement,” she says.

Patients are then able to eat and chew their food but must still be cautious in their eating to avoid chipping or fracturing the prosthesis.

A patient requiring one surgery and the implant from a private practice can expect to pay more than $3,500, Garcia says. Through the UTSA program, it typically costs about 30 percent less than the private practice fee.

Dental services account for more than $200 billion in annual economic impact, according to the American Dental Association.

For more information, contact Dr. Lily Garcia,

Green beaker


Microwave meltdown

Global Resource Corp. of West Berlin, N.J., has introduced a machine, the HAWK 10, which uses microwaves to break down or “crack” the hydrocarbons in plastic waste, yielding diesel oil and a combustible gas. The gas is then used as fuel for the machine's operation.

For more information, contact Jerry Meddick, Global Resource Corp.,

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