Salivary Biology & Immunology Program

The Salivary Biology and Immunology Program encourages basic and translational research on saliva and salivary gland biology and immune aspects of dry mouth and oral diseases such as caries and periodontal diseases. Association of oral diseases with systemic conditions such as pregnancy, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and pulmonary problems are also of interest.

The program is composed of the following major areas of research:

  • Saliva and salivary gland biology
  • Glycobiology of saliva and oral immunity
  • Aging and inflammation
  • Host responses to microbial infection
  • Immunology of biofilms
  • Oral inflammation
  • Systemic diseases
  • Immunotherapy
  • Immunopathologies

Saliva and Salivary Gland Physiology

  • Sjögren’s Syndrome and salivary gland dysfunction
  • Age-related, disease-related, drug-induced and radiation-induced changes in salivary gland function
  • Salivary gland morphogenesis and structure
  • Salivary gland stem cells, their origins, molecular signatures and differentiation potentials
  • Glycobiology of salivary proteins
  • Fluid and electrolyte transport and secretion in oral cavity
  • Salivary gland as a molecular portal for detecting and improving systemic health
  • Salivary biomarkers, diagnostics and health surveillance
  • Pharmacogenetics of drug-induced xerostomia
  • Therapeutic approaches to dry mouth, repair and regeneration of salivary gland
  • Systems approach to salivary and exocrine gland biology

Inflammation and Immunology

  • Oral mucosal immunity
  • Immunology of aging
  • Immunology of host-pathogen recognition and response in oral mucosa
  • Resistance of biofilms to antimicrobial agents and immunological prevention and treatment of microbial biofilm-associated oral diseases
  • Antimicrobial factors in saliva and on the mucosa
  • Host genetic determinants and the biological basis of susceptibility to infection and resolution of inflammation
  • Immunological, cellular, and genetic factors associated with autoimmune Sjögren's syndrome and sequelae of pemphigus, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis


  • Development of vaccines, adjuvants and biological modifiers that enhance and regulate the immune response to etiological agents
  • Vaccines to boost innate and acquired immunity to oral pathogens
  • Approaches to suppress destructive immune responses associated with host inflammatory reactions
Last Reviewed
July 2018