A Conversation with NIDCR Director Lawrence Tabak
Since his arrival in September 2000, NIDCR director Dr. Lawrence Tabak has left a considerable imprint on the institute and its research priorities, advocating for greater emphasis on clinical and translational research, while ensuring a high level of support for investigator initiated grants, or RO1s. Recently, Dr. Tabak spoke with the Inside Scoop about the institute, its budgetary prospects, and some of the challenges that lie ahead for the dental and oral health research community. more...
Bioadhesion: An Amino Acid Like No Other
Remarkably, mussels can adhere to surfaces wet and dry, organic and inorganic. This all-purpose adhesiveness first intrigued scientists a few decades ago as one of nature’s best guides to design better dental and medical bioadhesives. However, attempts to mimic mussels have been slowed by an inadequate understanding of the molecular underpinnings of their adhesion. In a groundbreaking study published online this August in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
, NIDCR grantees and a colleague defined the adhesive qualities of a single amino acid that is prominent in mussel glue. The Inside Scoop spoke to Dr. Phillip Messersmith, the senior author on the paper and a scientist at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, to hear his perspective. more...
Building a Better Dental Composite
When placing a white composite filling into a decayed tooth, the devil is always in the polymerization process. The Inside Scoop recently talked to materials scientists and NIDCR grantees, Drs. Christopher Bowman and Jeffrey Stansbury of the University of Colorado about their research and the ongoing quest for a shrink-proof dental composite. Here’s what they had to say. more...Bringing the Promise of Molecular Medicine to Oral Cancer Screening
In 2005, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), an estimated 29,370 new cases of oral and pharyngeal cancer were diagnosed, while an estimated 7,320 Americans died from these diseases. Recently, the Inside Scoop spoke with NIDCR grantee Dr. Miriam Rosin, a senior staff scientist at the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Canada. She and her colleagues in British Columbia are now developing a novel, province-wide oral cancer screening program that integrates for the first time telltale molecular features of a developing tumor with more traditional cancer screening tools. This project offers a glimpse of the much-touted promise of molecular medicine and serves as a template for future molecular-based cancer screening programs elsewhere in the world, including the United States. more...
Let's Talk OPPERA: A New Study on TMJ Disorders
The NIDCR announced recently the launch of a seven-year clinical study that could accelerate research on better pain-controlling treatments for a jaw condition called temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJDs). Called Orofacial Pain: Prospective Evaluation and Risk Assessment, or OPPERA, the $19.1 million project marks the first-ever large, prospective clinical study to identify risk factors that contribute to someone developing a TMJ disorder. A prospective study looks forward in time, tracking volunteers over several months or years to monitor the onset and natural course of a disease. The Inside Scoop recently spoke with Dr. William Maixner, the study’s principal investigator and a scientist at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, to hear more about the study, its design, and possible benefits to people with TMJD. more...