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.
In 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.
Catherine 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.
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.