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Dr. Sumita B. Mitra is recognized as a prolific inventor in the fields of polymer science and dental materials.   Dr. Mitra is an inventor on at least one hundred United States patents as well as many international counterparts and is an internationally renowned lecturer and product development expert in the chemical sciences.  She has lectured in forty five  countries and is the author of at least one hundred publications including co-authorship in eight books.   

In 2018, Dr. Mitra was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and was recognized by the Hall of Fame for inventing the first dental filling material including nanoparticles.

The Hall of Fame recognized Dr. Mitra and her team at 3M for giving the world Filtek™ Supreme Universal Restorative, which is a versatile material with excellent esthetics and one that restores teeth with improved polish retention and strength over existing dental composites. Dr. Mitra and her team was also distinguished for looking beyond conventional dental materials to develop innovative composites. As noted by the Hall of Fame, “they developed unique nanomeric and nanoclustered filler particles which they combined to generate a composite system that had excellent paste handling properties and, when cured, provided superior optical properties both initially and long-term, while exhibiting excellent mechanical strength and wear resistance.” Further research and development have led to an extended family of Filtek products. 

Dr. Mitra was a chemist at 3M for over thirty one years from 1978 to 2010.  And, while leading a team as a corporate scientist at 3M, she held the position of Industrial Director of Minnesota Dental Research Center of Biomaterials and Biomechanics (MDRCBB) at the University of Minnesota, School of Dentistry, from 2000 to 2010.  In addition to Filtek™, Dr. Mitra and her team’s inventions led to a number of successful dental technologies including new nanocomposites, resin-modified glass ionomers and dental adhesives as well as products including Viteremer™ and Vitrebond™ Resin-modified Glass Ionomers, RelyX™ Luting Cements, Scotchbond Multipurpose™ Adhesive and APC™ Orthodontic Bracket Adhesive.

Dr. Mitra earned her B.S. in chemistry from India’s Presidency College, her M.S. in organic chemistry from the University of Calcutta, and her Ph.D. in organic/polymer chemistry from the University of Michigan. She now runs Mitra Chemical Consulting LLC with her husband and continues to lecture and work with the MDRCBB.

The Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame would like to thank the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the University of Minnesota for much of the information provided in this article.

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