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Dentist recognized by Mind Science Foundation (10/24/97)

Since he was a little boy, Dr. Mark Lyles, a dentist at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, has been fascinated with nature and how things work. This fascination has turned into a lifelong passion for inventing medical tools and materials, and recently, he was recognized for his work by the Mind Science Foundation of San Antonio, which bestowed on him the 1997 Imagineer Award.

"I started writing ideas down when I was in third grade and one that still stands out in my mind is how to collect static electricity from lightning bolts," says Dr. Lyles, candidate for a doctoral degree in cellular and structural biology. "From that point on, I have been enthralled with solving problems and finding ways to help physicians and dentists better treat their patients."

One recent invention is the condensable resin used in fillings for teeth. According to Dr. Lyle, his invention is better than the mercury filling because it's made of glass and resin, which doesn't shrink, wears just a bit slower than a tooth and is easier for the dentist to place.

The Imagineer Award is given annually to individuals in San Antonio for contributions in four categories including art, science, law and social work.

"I believe that Mark Lyles truly epitomizes the concept of the Imagineer Award, as defined by the Mind Science Foundation," says nominator Dr. Kyriacos Athanasiou, associate professor of orthopaedics. "I cannot think of a more appropriate person to earn this award because his contributions to the scientific field have been extraordinary."

"There were so many stellar individuals who were nominated, and to be a part of that group is a tremendous honor," says Dr. Lyles.

"He typifies the Imagineer Award because it fits him to a 'T,"' says Dr. Ivan Cameron, professor of cellular and structural biology, who oversees Dr. Lyles' doctoral work. "He sees what others see but thinks something different about it."

Dr. Lyles' other inventions include a bone cement for orthopaedic prostheses, a three-dimensional cell growth matrix called the GenesisChip(tm), and a cigarette filter that selectively extracts cancer-causing agents from tobacco smoke without affecting taste.

Dr. Lyles and the Imagineers were honored recently at a reception at the McNay Art Museum.

Dr. Lyles earned his bachelor and master of science degrees from Murray State University. He received his doctorate in dental medicine from the University of Louisville. Before coming to the Health Science Center, he served for five years in the Marines.

Contact: Myong Covert (210) 567-2570