Center for Oral Biology

Grants & Awards

Wei Hsu, Ph.D.
Professsor of Biomedical Genetics in the Center for Oral Biology
Professor of Oncology in the Center for Oral Biology
Genetic Regulatory Network in Craniofacial Development

Continues efforts to elucidate the genetic regulatory network underlying the interplay of Wnt, FGF, and BMP signaling in calvarial morphogenesis and craniosynostosis.

Jose Lemos, Ph.D. (Co-PI)
Associate Professor of Microbiology in the Center for Oral Biology

Jacqueline Abranches, Ph.D. (Co-PI)
Research Associate Professor of Microbiology in the Center for Oral Biology
Intracellular Invasion by Streptococcus mutans: Significance in Disease
RO1 DE02255
The goals of this application are to conduct the functional analysis of the collagen-binding protein Cnm and to characterize the role of Cnm in host-bacteria interactions. To achieve these goals, we propose to use in vitro approaches to further characterize, genetically and biochemically, Cnm and its associated proteins, an ex vivo adhesion model to examine the role of Cnm in the colonization of heart tissues, and an in vivo rabbit endocarditis model to conclusively demonstrate the contribution of Cnm to the pathogenesis of infective endocarditis.

Marlise Klein, DDS, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor of Dentistry in the Center for Oral Biology
Controlled-Release in situ of antibiofilm agents via pH-activated Nanoparticle-carriers
2013 IADR/GSK Innovation in Oral Care Award
We have devised an exciting approach to deliver antibiofilm agents locally using polymer-based nanoparticle-carriers (NPC) that bind avidly to both tooth-pellicle and biofilm-matrix. Our nanocarrier contains pH-responsive elements that facilitate controlled-release of therapeutic agents within acidic environments. Moreover, we have proven antibiofilm agents (farnesol and apigenin) that can be chemically linked to and released from NPC. Farnesol is a membrane-targeting agent that is effective at acidic-pH while apigenin inhibits exopolysaccharides synthesis. We hypothesize that pH-activated nanoparticles will enhance localization and provide sustained release of distinctive antibiofilm agents in situ where active biofilm formation occurs, thereby enhancing drug efficacy in vivo.

Catherine Ovitt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biomedical Genetics in the Center for Oral Biology
Cell Based Regeneration of Salivary Glands

This proposal combines the tools of mouse genetics with recent advances in biomaterial engineering to ask two questions:

  1. Can isolated progenitor cell populations be used to reconstitute functional secretory structures in a damaged salivary gland?
  2. Does the introduction of progenitor cells into a dysfunctional gland induce endogenous repair and/or secretion?