Center For Oral Biology Researcher Receives Prestigious National Research Award

June 25, 2008

Director of the Center for Oral Biology at the University of Rochester James E. Melvin, D.D.S., Ph.D., has won the 2008 Salivary Research Award from the International Association for Dental Research (IADR).

The IADR Salivary Research Award recognizes outstanding achievements in research that advance the understanding of saliva and salivary glands. The award consists of a cash prize and a plaque, and is one of the 16 IADR Distinguished Scientist Awards. It will be presented at IADR’s 86th General Session & Exhibition in Toronto on July 2, 2008. The IADR is a non-profit organization with more than 10,500 members worldwide dedicated to improving oral health via research.

Dr. Melvin earned his D.D.S. from Case Western Reserve University in 1978 and a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 1987. He is widely recognized for his studies on proteins that transport charged particles (ions) in the cells of the mouth, and thus make possible the fluid secretion. Up to 20 percent of Americans suffer from dry mouth, among the causes of which are defects in the genes that encode for water and ion transport proteins. One focus of his work has been to help clarify related mechanisms at the molecular level, enabling the precision design of treatments for exocrine gland dysfunction.

Melvin was also among the leaders of a research team that recently published a catalogue of the salivary proteome, the “complete” set of proteins secreted by the major salivary glands. Recent, parallel efforts that mapped the blood plasma and tear proteomes, allowing for useful comparisons of how proteins and potential disease markers are common among, or unique to, different body fluids. In the future, the work may help to replace blood draws with saliva tests for the diagnosis of major diseases, making the process less invasive and costly.

“I am tremendously honored to receive this award from my colleagues within the IADR,” Melvin said. “This award reflects growing excitement among oral biologists nationwide that our field will soon yield new tools for the improvement of oral health – tools that are easier to use than the status quo and better for patients.”


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