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Advancing Knowledge in Oral Biology

Research has always been an integral part of Eastman Institute for Oral Health's mission. We've made significant advances through the years.

research lab photoIn fact, a famous dental invention that came from Eastman in 1967 is still used today. Dr. Michael Buonocore is known for his innovative research on preparing the tooth's enamel with a weak acid to enhance adhesion of a sealant. It is the most popular method today dentists use when applying sealants to prevent cavities, orthodontic brackets, fillings, and veneers.

EIOH researchers have several registered patents in dental caries, oral radiology, pain receptors, among other topics. "Antibodies and Methods for Predicting Dental Caries” (Bowen, Smith & Berkowitz) is just one example.

Current Research Projects

List of EIOH Researchers

Eli Eliav, DMD, MSc, PhD is conducting research that focuses on orofacial pain, quantitative sensory testing, neuropathic pain, pain modulation and the role of inflammation in neuropathic pain.

researchCatherine Ovitt, PhD is developing a model that can be used for molecular investigation of adenoid cystic carcinoma of the salivary gland

EIOH runs the Northeast region of a $67 million NIDCR grant awarded to the Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham. The National Dental Practice Based Research Network is a consortium of practices and clinics devoted to conducting research to improve the oral health care of patients.

Wei Hsu, PhD, runs a lab that focuses mainly on the role of cells - the signals they send and the paths they take- that cause bone development and disease.  His work has attracted major funding over the last 12 years.

Robert G. Quivery, Jr., PhD, runs a lab that aims to find ways to reduce the ability of S. mutans- the bacterium that grows on our teeth, eventually causing cavities—to compete with the other bacteria in the mouth, stopping its growth altogether and leading to the end of cavities.

Luiz Meirelles, DDS, PhD is studying surface roughness parameters as a predictor of wear during implant placement and the effect of titanium particles on early bone loss.

Gene Watson, DDS, PhD is studying exposure to BPA in the Seychelles child Development Nutrition Cohort, with the UR Environmental Health Sciences Center.

Previous Research Projects

EIOH scientists have discovered the tool that bacteria, normally found in our mouths, uses to invade heart tissue, causing a dangerous and sometimes lethal infection of the heart known  as endocarditis. This finding may enable doctors to gauge a patient’s vulnerability to a heart infection caused by the bacteria.

EIOH scientists discovered important information that may help guide efforts to re-grow missing teeth and prevent cleft palate. Momentum Spring 2009

Regenerating periodontal and bone tissue through molecule engineering, explore growth factors and the use of stem cells, as well as to develop and apply novel biomaterials. Momentum Spring 2008

Certain chemicals in red wine grapes may significantly reduce the ability of bacteria to cause cavities. Momentum Spring 2008

EIOH scientists were the first ones to explore whether prenatal and postnatal exposure to mercury from two sources – fish and dental fillings-- affect neurological development in children. Momentum Spring 2008

Patients who have their wisdom teeth pulled and do not take antibiotics before surgery are twice as likely to get an infection after the surgery than those who take a single dose of antibiotics shortly before surgery. Momentum Spring 2008

How Dental Research Began at UR

(excerpts from Leading the Way, p 44, by William H. Bowen)

  • When George Eastman funded the School of Medicine and Dentistry, he clearly intended to have a dental school. Through a combination of circumstances.... the dental school languished and died. With the most amazing foresight, George Whipple (Nobel Prize, 1936) saw the need to establish the Dental Research Training Program, with the notion that trainees would come to UR with their dental degree, become immersed in the biological sciences, and work toward their PhD degree.
  • The first four fellows, including Basil Bibby from New Zealand, focused their research on oral microbiology and the effects of saliva on their growth and laid the foundation for generations to come.
  • From its inception, the Dental Research Training Program has attracted overseas graduates of the highest caliber. The 1940's saw the arrival of several young researchers from Norway and Latin America. Among these was Reidar Sognnaes, one of the leaders of the famous Tristan da Cunha expedition, which demonstrated the influence of sugars on prevalence of dental caries.
  • The commitment to excellence by the faculty of Dental Research (later became the Center for Oral Biology) is evidenced by the range of awards received by faculty and students. In 1982, there was no federal support. By 1992, annual grant support was in excess of $3 million, and was ranked six in dental schools receiving grants.
  • EIOH's Center for Oral Biology continues to be one of the most successful units -its members continue to play major roles in national and international research organizations and influence the tide of events in education and research far beyond what its size would appear to warrant.