Principal Investigator

Catherine E. Ovitt, Ph.D. University of Rochester work Box 611 Rochester NY p (585) 275-2920 f (585) 276-0190

Honors & News

  • May 31, 2016

    Dr. Ovitt Voted "Salivary Researcher of the Year"

    Catherine Ovitt, Ph.D. has just been voted by the members of the Salivary Research Group as "Salivary Researcher of the Year"! Dr. Marit Aure, Postdoctoral Associate in the Ovitt Lab, helped contribute to this wonderful achievement.

  • July 2, 2014

    Marit Aure, PhD, Shares 1st Place in World-Wide Dental Research Contest

    Marit Aure, PhD, tied for first place for her salivary gland research.

    Postdoctoral associate Marit Aure, PhD, of the Center for Oral Biology in the Eastman Institute for Oral Health and member of Catherine Ovitt's lab, tied for first place at the highly-competitive International Association for Dental Research/Johnson & Johnson Hatton Awards Competition held recently in Cape Town, South Africa.

    The judges determined that the science presented by Aure and Joo-young Park, affiliated with the National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health, was exemplary in both projects, surpassing 36 other researchers from around the world in their category. There was no second place winner.

    Aure had qualified for the international competition by earning second place in the American Association of Dental Research/Johnson & Johnson Hatton Awards Competition, held in Charlotte, North Carolina in March. For the international round of the competition, all participants were required to condense the research talk into a four-slide, 10-minute presentation to be given in front of three judges.

    Telling the whole story in 10 minutes and four slides was especially challenging, said Aure, who said the poker-faced judges had some very tough questions. My reaction to winning was a mix of surprise, excitement and joy! It feels really good to get positive feedback and exposure for the salivary research we’re doing.

  • June 18, 2014

    Five Recognized for Research Excellence

    Five Eastman Institute for Oral Health professionals were recognized at this month’s American Association for Dental Research’s local meeting.

    Thirty researchers from the Rochester area participated in oral and poster presentations covering a wide range of basic and translational science topics, such as fluoride varnish effectiveness, use of therapy dogs in pediatric dental settings and the success of implants, among many others.

    Dr. Catherine E. Ovitt, Ph.D., associate professor of Biomedical Genetics in EIOH's Center for Oral Biology, delivered the keynote address, Saving Saliva: Where do We Start? where Marit Aure, Ph.D. a Postdoctoral Associate in Dr. Ovitt's lab, won the William H. Bowen award for her poster presentation, Mechanisms of Acinar Cell Maintenance in the Adult Salivary Gland.

    Read the full article.

  • March 21, 2014

    Marit Aure Places 2nd in the AADR/Johnson & Johnson Hatton Awards Competition.

    Marit Aure, a Postdoctoral Associate from Catherine Ovitt's lab, has earned 2nd place in the AADR/Johnson & Johnson Hatton Awards Competition. She will now compete in the IADR Unilever Hatton Competition and Awards at the 92nd General Session & Exhibition of the IADR in Cape Town, South Africa, June 25-28, 2014.

    Congratulations Marit!

  • October 1, 2013

    Dr. Catherine Ovitt Accepted to the 2013 Mid-Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar

    Dr. Catherine Ovitt has been accepted to the 2013 Mid-Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar to be held in Austin, TX in mid December. This three and a half-day seminar is primarily designed for women physicians and scientists holding medical school appointments at the Associate Professor level, and holding leadership positions within their discipline, department or institution. Seminar faculty members are chosen from various schools in the US and Canada for their demonstrated leadership abilities and offer knowledge, inspiration and valuable career advice to participants.

  • June 27, 2013

    Ovitt Article Featured on NIDCR Website

    Drs. Catherine Ovitt & Szilvia Arany's article, Nanoparticle-mediated gene silencing confers radioprotection to salivary glands in vivojournal Molecular Therapy, has been featured on NIDCR website. The results of the study suggest that optimization of in vivo siRNA-mediated silencing for clinical application could be an effective means of protecting salivary glands in the radiation treatment of head and neck cancer. They also pointed out that the approach has significant advantages over alternative methods, as it is limited to the salivary glands, does not involve viruses, and the block in Pkcδ protein expression is only temporary.

  • September 14, 2012

    Drs. Ovitt and Benoit Awarded NIH Grant

    Salivary gland cells are viable encapsulated within hydrogels: A dissociated cell prep prepared from whole submandibular gland was seeded into PEG hydrogels and incubated in serum-free media. At 7 days, the hydrogels were fixed, sectioned, and immunostained for nuclei (DAPI) and keratin 5, a marker of salivary progenitor cells.

    Biomedical Genetics assistant professor, Catherine Ovitt, Ph.D. and Danielle Benoit, Ph.D., assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering, have been awarded a four year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for the project, entitled Hydrogel encapsulation of salivary gland cells promotes cell survival, proliferation, and assembly.

    This project deals with potential utility of adult stem or progenitor cells for repair of radiation-damaged salivary glands. While the potential is high, it is currently only a theoretical solution for patients suffering from xerostomia. There remain several critical obstacles that must be resolved before cell-based therapy for dysfunctional salivary glands can be moved into the clinical arena. These include the identification of appropriate donor cells, the technology for promoting implantation, and direct functional assays to assess the outcomes.

    The goal is to determine if the use of hydrogels can promote in vivo differentiation of transplanted progenitor cells. The successful completion of this project will establish a foundation for subsequent translational research to progress the technology into clinical applications.

    For more information please visit the Ovitt Lab and the Benoit Lab.

Recent Publications