Skip to Main Content
Text size: SmallMediumLargeExtra-Large

Interviews with Oral Health Researchers

The Inside Scoop

 


Biomimetics

(August 2006)
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 Tooth

Evolutionary Biology:  Cichlids, Gene Networks, and Teeth
(February 2009)
In the journal PLOS Biology, NIDCR grantees report they have deduced a network of dental genes in fishes called cichlids that likely were involved in building the first tooth half a billion years ago.  The researchers say their finding introduces into the scientific literature a core evolutionary list of molecular pieces needed to make a tooth.  These original parts were then gradually rewired, replaced, or left in place to produce the various shapes and sizes of teeth now found in nature, from shark to mouse to monkey to human.  The Inside Scoop spoke with Todd Streelman, Ph.D., a scientist at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta and a senior author on the study, to learn more about his group’s discovery.  more...
 
Tooth Development
(October 2008)
Is it possible to build a tooth? That’s a question that many giants of 20th century dental research no doubt considered, and it’s a conceptual puzzle that continues to capture the imaginations of the nation’s oral health scientists. But there is a key difference between the musings of then and now. Today’s scientists possess for the first time the needed laboratory tools to plumb the molecular depths and developmental biology of tooth formation, and some already have begun to do so in earnest. more...
 
Dental Enamel: From Matrix to Microribbons
(May 2005)
Many dental researchers dream of one day stepping into the laboratory, putting out a detailed set of instructions, and engineering a replacement tooth.  This decades-old dream has gained momentum recently as scientists have identified more of the molecules that nature employs to make a tooth.  Yet, even as these molecular parts are identified, scientists must begin to solve the larger puzzles of how they self assemble to form the tooth's various specialized tissues, such as enamel and tooth.    more...

Craniofacial Research

Recovery Act Funds Help to Haul in a Gene of Interest
(March 2010)
The ongoing search to find a gene holds promise for craniofacial research.  Thanks to the Recovery Act, the search also helps to bring out the promise in several students at University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.  more...
 
Neural Crest Cells: The First Mystery of Craniofacial Development
(September 2008)
In 1868, the Swiss embryologist Wilhelm His spotted a thin band of previously undetected cells bunched between fetal ectoderm and the inchoate neural tube of a developing chick. Dr. His called his find the Zwischenstrang, or “the intermediate cord.” By the end of the century, the German word Zwischenstrang had been scrapped for the more descriptive English term “neural crest cells,” denoting the geographic crest of the neural tube as their site of origin. The cells also had become a topic of controversy. Reports had begun to trickle into the scientific literature that neural crest cells in some fish gave rise to neurons and nerve fibers of the cranium, while those in certain salamanders were proposed to produce cartilage of the head and dentin forming cells of the teeth. Many biologists claimed this was preposterous. more...
 
Craniofacial Research: Scientists Report New Lead in Craniofacial Development
(January 2003)
In the 1830s, when Charles Darwin first visited the remote Galapagos Islands, he noticed something striking. Of the dozen or so species of finch that inhabited the islands each seemed to occupy its own unique ecological niche. Darwin speculated that each finch must have evolved highly specialized beaks that gave them a survival advantage over other species within their habitats. "Darwin's finches" are one of the most cited examples of natural selection, a cornerstone concept in modern biology. more... 
 
Cleft Lip and Palate: Van der Woude Syndrome
(October 2002)
After a nearly 20-year search, a team of scientists report in the October 2002 issue of Nature Genetics that it has discovered a gene involved in causing Van der Woude Syndrome, the most common form of syndromic cleft lip and palate. The Inside Scoop recently spoke with two authors on the paper: NIDCR grantees Jeff Murray, M.D., and Brian Schutte, Ph.D., both of whom are scientists in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Iowa. They shared their thoughts on the difficulty in identifying the Van der Woude Syndrome gene, the possible scientific benefits of studying twins, and the implications of this gene discovery on the more common non syndromic cleft lip and palate. more...

Dental Composites

Building a Better Dental Composite
(August 2006)
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...

Dental Practice-Based Research Networks

(June 2005)
The NIDCR last Spring awarded three seven-year grants, totaling $75 million, to establish "practice-based" research networks (PBRNs) that investigate with greater scientific rigor "everyday" issues in the delivery of oral healthcare.  The impetus behind the networks is the frequent lack of research data to guide treatment decisions in the dentist's office.  The Inside Scoop recently spoke with the principal investigators of these three grants to hear their thoughts on PBRNs, their organization, and how they will improve oral health.  more...

Diagnostics

Antibody Technique Shows Diagnostic Promise
(April 2008)
In the February 1 issue of the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, a team of NIH researchers report early results with a tremendously sensitive and accurate new diagnostic technique to quantify antibodies in blood and saliva. Known by the acronym LIPS, the technique performed without error in a small validation study involving a well-known antigen that is frequently elevated in people with a rare disorder called Stiff-Person Syndrome. Additional articles will be published in the months ahead for more common autoimmune conditions, ranging from primary Sjögren’s syndrome to type-1 diabetes. The Inside Scoop spoke to two of the authors to learn more about the technique and its potential. They are NIDCR scientists Dr. Peter Burbelo, lead author on the study, and Dr. Michael Iadarola, the paper’s senior author.  more...
 


Scientists Discover Candidate Salivary Markers for Sjogren's Syndrome
(November 2007)
Three years ago, scientists supported by the NIDCR began taking the first full inventory of the proteins that normally are produced in our salivary glands.  Now, one of those scientists and his colleagues offer a first glimpse into how this new research tool can be applied to detect subtle changes in the protein content of a person’s saliva that may be linked to an oral or systemic disease.  As reported in the November issue of the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, the scientists detected 42 proteins and 16 peptides in saliva that clinically discriminated between people with the primary form of Sjőgren’s syndrome and healthy volunteers.  These data far surpass previous efforts to identify protein biomarkers for primary Sjőgren’s syndrome, a chronic autoimmune condition of the salivary and tear glands that affects about two million Americans, mainly women.  more...

(August 2007)
Dr. John McDevitt, a scientist at the University of Texas at Austin, is one of several NIDCR grantees currently developing a first generation of miniaturized, fully automated saliva-based diagnostic devices.  As part of the NIDCR grant, the McDevitt laboratory published in the August issue of the journal Lab on a Chip the results of proof-of-principle experiments for a rapid chip-based diagnostic test for oral cancer.  McDevitt spoke to the Inside Scoop about the device, its status, and future prospects.    more...

(March 2006)
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...   
 
 

Genes/Genetics

Evolutionary Biology:  Cichlids, Gene Networks, and Teeth
(February 2009)
In the journal PLOS Biology, NIDCR grantees report they have deduced a network of dental genes in fishes called cichlids that likely were involved in building the first tooth half a billion years ago.  The researchers say their finding introduces into the scientific literature a core evolutionary list of molecular pieces needed to make a tooth.  These original parts were then gradually rewired, replaced, or left in place to produce the various shapes and sizes of teeth now found in nature, from shark to mouse to monkey to human.  The Inside Scoop spoke with Todd Streelman, Ph.D., a scientist at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta and a senior author on the study, to learn more about his group’s discovery.  more...

Dentin Disorders:  The Twists and Turns of Cloning the DSPP Gene
(September 2008) 
NIDCR scientists and colleagues offer the first comprehensive look at normal and disease-causing sequence variations in the DSPP gene.  The gene encodes dentin sialophosphoprotein, the major non-collagen protein in the bone-like dentin that forms the inner core of a tooth.  In the 1990s, researchers determined that the DSPP gene is frequently altered in families with histories of dominantly inherited dentin malformations.  Or, more accurately, they discovered that some family members had alterations in the gene’s protein-encoding regions called exons 2 through 4.  Largely missing was an analysis of protein-encoding exon five, a bewilderingly repetitive stretch of sequence that some considered beyond the reach of current cloning and sequencing techniques.  But, as reported in Human Mutation, NIDCR scientists succeeded in cloning exon five, cracking its repetitive genetic code, and gaining truly unexpected insights into the evolutionary biology of the gene and the genetics of inherited dentin malformations.  more...

TP53 and the Prognosis of Head and Neck Cancer
(January 2008)
In the December 20, 2007 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a team of NIDCR grantees and colleagues evaluated the prognostic value of TP53 mutations in 420 head-and-neck cancer patients treated with surgery only and whose survival was tracked for several years thereafter.  Detecting TP53 alterations in the tumors of 53 percent of participants, the scientists found that collectively these mutations were associated with decreased overall survival.  This was particularly so for a subset of TP53 mutations that affected the ability of its protein to function as a transcription factor.   To hear more about this paper, the Inside Scoop spoke with Dr. Wayne Koch, the senior author on the paper and a scientist and head-and-neck cancer surgeon at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.  more...

Cleft Lip and Palate: Van der Woude Syndrome
(October 2002)
After a nearly 20-year search, a team of scientists report in the October 2002 issue of Nature Genetics that it has discovered a gene involved in causing Van der Woude Syndrome, the most common form of syndromic cleft lip and palate. The Inside Scoop recently spoke with two authors on the paper: NIDCR grantees Jeff Murray, M.D., and Brian Schutte, Ph.D., both of whom are scientists in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Iowa. They shared their thoughts on the difficulty in identifying the Van der Woude Syndrome gene, the possible scientific benefits of studying twins, and the implications of this gene discovery on the more common non syndromic cleft lip and palate. more...

Head and Neck Cancer

TP53 and the Prognosis of Head and Neck Cancer
(January 2008)
In the December 20, 2007 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a team of NIDCR grantees and colleagues evaluated the prognostic value of TP53 mutations in 420 head-and-neck cancer patients treated with surgery only and whose survival was tracked for several years thereafter.  Detecting TP53 alterations in the tumors of 53 percent of participants, the scientists found that collectively these mutations were associated with decreased overall survival.  This was particularly so for a subset of TP53 mutations that affected the ability of its protein to function as a transcription factor.   To hear more about this paper, the Inside Scoop spoke with Dr. Wayne Koch, the senior author on the paper and a scientist and head-and-neck cancer surgeon at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.  more...

(September 2007)
In the September issue of the journal Cancer Cell, a team of NIDCR-supported scientists and their colleagues report on a novel protein called LZAP.  Discovered by the group in 2005, LZAP appears to be a new growth-inhibiting tumor suppressor gene.  In the latest paper, the scientists show that LZAP has biological activity that relates to tumor suppression, they define a biological function in the nucleus that correlates with that activity, and they move into clinical tumor samples to show that LZAP is frequently inactivated in squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck.   more... 
 
(August 2007)
Dr. John McDevitt, a scientist at the University of Texas at Austin, is one of several NIDCR grantees currently developing a first generation of miniaturized, fully automated saliva-based diagnostic devices.  As part of the NIDCR grant, the McDevitt laboratory published in the August issue of the journal Lab on a Chip the results of proof-of-principle experiments for a rapid chip-based diagnostic test for oral cancer.  McDevitt spoke to the Inside Scoop about the device, its status, and future prospects.    more...


(March 2007)
By the late 1980s, NIDCR scientist Dr. Bruce Baum was frustrated. He had been searching for new drugs and other treatments that might help restore adequate salivary flow in people whose salivary glands had been damaged by radiation treatment for cancer. Yet, despite all of his hard work, Baum said he had not come close to solving the problem.  That's when he decided to turn to gene transfer, sometimes called gene therapy.  If a fluid-transporting gene could be transferred into the damaged glands, he could potentially restore some degree of salivary flow and secretion into the mouth.  more...

(March 2006)
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...   
 
(March 2005)
Over the past decade, researchers have reported tremendous progress in studying head and neck cancer, an umbrella term for tumors of the mouth, nose, throat, larynx, and salivary glands.  Recently, the Inside Scoop sat down with Silvio J. Gutkind, Ph.D., an NIDCR scientist and prominent figure in head and neck cancer research, to discuss systems biology and its likely impact on the field.  more... 
 

Health Disparities

Temple University School of Dentistry: Empowering Communities
(November 2009) 
It may take a village to raise a child, but a growing number of researchers say it may take a systems approach to address long-standing inequalities in the nation's oral health.  One scientist who continues to give this issue a great deal of thought is Dr. Amid Ismail, dean of the Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry at Temple University in Philadelphia.   more...
 
Listening to Learn: Southeast Center for Research to Reduce Disparities in Oral Health
(June 2009)
Public awareness has been slow to extend to the head and neck cancers, including oral cancer, particularly among the low-income and underserved Americans that are most at risk.  To learn how to enhance awareness and save lives, the NIDCR began supporting the Southeast Center for Research to Reduce Disparities in Oral Health at the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry in Gainesville.  The Inside Scoop recently spoke with Dr. Henrietta Logan, the center’s principal investigator and a professor at the College of Dentistry, to find out more.  more...
 
CAN DO: Center to Address Disparities in Children's Oral Health
(May 2009)
In 2001, the NIDCR began supporting the Center to Address Disparities in Children’s Oral Health at the University of California at San Francisco.  After seven productive years, the center recently received NIDCR support for another seven years.  Known by its acronym CAN DO, the center is one of three NIDCR-supported centers with a primary focus on early childhood caries, a serious form of tooth decay.  As CAN DO scientists often note, the lessons learned in California will be of benefit to public health programs throughout the country.  To tell us more, we spoke with Jane Weintraub, DDS, MPH, a researcher at the University of California at San Francisco and the center’s principal investigator and director.  more...

Disparities Research: Center for Native Oral Health Research
(April 2009)
Many fundamental aspects of American Indian and Native Alaskan health remain to be fully understood and systematically addressed.  Numbered prominently among them is oral health.  In late 2008, NIDCR began supporting a new oral health disparities center in Denver.  To hear more about this center in the making, The Inside Scoop spoke  to two of its primary investigators:  Judith E. N. Albino, Ph.D., Clinical Professor in the University of Colorado School of Public Health and the director and  principal investigator of the NIDCR-supported Center for Native Oral Health Research, and Spero M. Manson, Ph.D., who heads the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health at the University of Colorado School of Public Health and is a member of the Pembina Chippewa tribe.  He is the oral health center’s associate director.  more...
 
A Look at Oral Health Disparities in Appalachia
(March 2009)
In many parts of Appalachia, tooth decay remains an unfortunate rite of childhood that too often leads to a lifetime of poor oral health.  In West Virginia, population 1.8 million, dentists pulled an estimated 31,800 children’s teeth in 2006.  By age 65, about 40 percent of the state’s retirees have none of their natural teeth remaining.  Given the troubling scope and consequences of this largely preventable problem across Appalachia, researchers are now attempting to more clearly define the causes of poor oral health in the region and develop practical, low-cost solutions.  Prominent in this effort is the Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia (COHRA).  For an overview of this NIDCR-supported project, we recently spoke to Mary Marazita, Ph.D., a scientist at the University of Pittsburgh and co-principal investigator of COHRA.  more...

NIDCR Director

(October 2006)
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...

The Impact of the NIH Roadmap in Shaping Dental Research in the 21st Century
(February 2004)
In May 2002, new NIH director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. launched a series of meetings to chart a “roadmap” for medical research in the 21st century. At these meetings, over 300 leaders from various fields of science helped to identify the major opportunities and existing gaps in biomedical research that no single NIH institute could pursue alone but that the agency as a whole must address to make the biggest impact on the progress of medical research. more...

Pain/Inflammation

A Rare Find
(March 2011)
A rare disease and a unique research opportunity. Read how an NIDCR postdoc took the rash out of an experimental model for Netherton syndrome.  Netherton syndrome is a rare inherited condition, characterized, in part, by a severe congenital skin rash.  more.....

Toward Better Resolution of Pain
(May 2010)
For the first time it has been demonstrated in mice that certain resolution-inducing molecules called resolvins are extremely potent in controlling various aspects of pain in the central and peripheral nervous systems.   The Inside Scoop recently spoke with Dr. Charles Serhan, director of the Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury at Brigham and Women's Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School.  more...

(September 2005)
Dr. Charles N. Serhan, the Simon Gelman Professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, will deliver the 2005 NIDCR Seymour J. Kreshover Lecture.  Dr. Serhan, an NIDCR grantee, will present a talk titled, "The Role of Novel Anti-Inflammatory and Pro-Resolving Lipid Mediators in Oral Inflammation and Resolution."  In advance of the lecture, The Inside Scoop talked to Dr. Serhan about his career in science and ongoing research interests.  more... 

Pain Research: Past, Present, and Future
(October 2003)
Dr. Ronald Dubner has a long and distinguished career in pain research. He is credited with establishing the first interdisciplinary pain research team at the NIDCR during the early 1970s, and his studies have helped to lay the groundwork for defining the anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and genetics of pain. more...

Periodontal Disease

Localized Aggressive Periodontitis: Pinning Down the Long Suspected Role of Aa
(February 2008)
For dentists who treat an occasional child with localized aggressive periodontitis, or LAP, the research points to the likely culprit as a bacterium with a long name, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (Aa).  But the case remains far from air tight.  Absent from the scientific literature are clinical studies that track the natural history of the disease in children and whether Aa indeed plays a role in its onset and progression.  In the December 2007 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, a team of NIDCR supported scientists offer the first results from a natural history study.  While a final verdict remains to be rendered, this study and a similar one in Morocco offer stronger evidence that Aa might just be a cause.  To learn more about this study, the Inside Scoop spoke with Dr. Daniel Fine, a scientist at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark and the lead author on the JCM  paper. more...
 
Periodontal Disease: Engineering the Future of Care
(October 2008)
In the 1950s, soon after NIDCR’s founding, millions of Americans often flipped on their black-and-white tube televisions and watched commercials that warned of a tongue-twisting condition called gingivitis. As the ads warned, gingivitis was step one on the road to chronic gum, or periodontal, disease and tooth loss. more...
 
Periodontal Research: Pathways to Progress
(July 2007)
In the June issue of the Journal of Proteome Research, a team of NIDCR supported scientists and colleagues take a closer look at how a monocyte senses live bacteria, LPS, or FimA.  The Inside Scoop spoke to the paper’s senior author, Dr. Salomon Amar, a scientist in the Department of Periodontology and Oral Biology at the Boston University School of Dental Medicine.  As Amar noted, his data mark a starting point in using comprehensive protein-profiling, or proteomic, approaches to map out signaling pathways in the monocyte and, hopefully, to identify new ways to control the destructive inflammation of chronic periodontitis.  more...



(July 2005)
Studies within the past ten years have suggested an association between periodontal disease and the likelihood of delivering preterm, low-birthweight babies, developing cardiovascular disease, and having difficulty controlling blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.  Some studies have also linked periodontal disease to respiratory infection in people with pulmonary problems.  The Inside Scoop recently spoke with Bruce Pihlstrom, D.D.S., M.S., Acting Director of NIDCR's Division of Clinical Research and Health Promotion, about the Institute's clinical research on periodontal disease and its relationship to systemic disease.  more...

Chronic Periodontitis: Geographic Differences in the Oral Biofilm
(January 2005)
It has long been assumed that all chronic periodontitis is the same no matter where one lives in the world.  But some scientists have wondered whether the bacterial composition of the oral biofilm - the sticky, mat-like microbial communities that form on our teeth and cause chronic periodontitis - might vary geographically.  In the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, NIDCR grantees and their colleagues report for the first time that this is indeed the case.  more...  

Scientists Report New Leads in the Surprising Evolutionary Biology of a Common Oral Pathogen
(June 2003)
Dental researchers often say studies of the mouth may have important implications in other parts of the body. If ever there was a case in point, it’s research on a common oral pathogen with the tongue-twisting name of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans. more...

Research Training Experiences

Award Helps Orthodontist Find Balance, Pursue Research Career
(August 2010)
Dr. Cristina Teixeira found that her professional life was out of balance.  She applied for an NIDCR career development award, and now her research time is protected and the science is moving forward.  more......  

Five Will Attend ATI Training Program
(June 2010)
Five NIDCR-supported investigators will participate in the Advanced Training Institute (ATI) on Health Behavior Theory.  They offer their thoughts on the program, behavior theory, and its potential application to their research.  more.....

Recovery Act Funds Help to Haul in a Gene of Interest
(March 2010)
The ongoing search to find a gene holds promise for craniofacial research.  Thanks to the Recovery Act, the search also helps to bring out the promise in several students at University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.  more...

Recovery Act Helps Build a Second Career
(February 2010)
Suzy Vasa went back to school to earn a degree in computational biology.  Find out how the Recovery Act has helped her launch a second career.  more...

Thinking About Applying for an NIDCR Postdoctoral Position
(September 2009)
Are you interested in a postdoctoral fellowship position at the NIDCR but you don’t know whom to ask for more details about the program or how the experience might place you on a more solid career track?   Interviews with current and past institute post docs provide a better sense of life in an NIDCR laboratory and where it can lead.  more......

ARRA:  Helping a Few to Teach the Many
(July 2009)
ARRA funds have provided summer employment for myriad students and teachers across America.  Find out how two high school science teachers are spending their summer vacations at Baylor College of Dentistry.  more...

Research Experience Propels NIDCR Summer Intern to Intel Finals
(April 2008)
Benjamin Lu, a 2007 NIH summer intern in NIDCR’s Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer Branch, was a finalist in the recent Intel Science Talent Search (STS).  The Intel STS is the most prestigious science competition for high school students in the U.S.  Mr. Lu, a senior at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Md., was one of 40 finalists out of more than 1,600 contestants.  He was honored for his research on the Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) genome.  His research focused on genes that may be involved in the pathway between the Gq-coupled muscarinic receptor type 1 and the AP-1 transcription factor in the nucleus.  Such fundamental research could one day illuminate possible targets for cancer therapies.  NIDCR recently spoke with Benjamin Lu about his experience as a summer research intern.
more...

Salivary Disorders/Dry Mouth

The Impossible Will Take a Little While: Defining a Key Developmental Pathway in the Salivary Gland
(October 2010)
Salivary glands form in large part via a process called branching morphogenesis.  NIDCR scientists have now defined several of its key biochemical details. Find out how they did it.  more....

Scientists Discover Candidate Salivary Markers for Sjogren's Syndrome
(November 2007)
Three years ago, scientists supported by the NIDCR began taking the first full inventory of the proteins that normally are produced in our salivary glands.  Now, one of those scientists and his colleagues offer a first glimpse into how this new research tool can be applied to detect subtle changes in the protein content of a person’s saliva that may be linked to an oral or systemic disease.  As reported in the November issue of the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, the scientists detected 42 proteins and 16 peptides in saliva that clinically discriminated between people with the primary form of Sjőgren’s syndrome and healthy volunteers.  These data far surpass previous efforts to identify protein biomarkers for primary Sjőgren’s syndrome, a chronic autoimmune condition of the salivary and tear glands that affects about two million Americans, mainly women.  more...


(March 2007)
By the late 1980s, NIDCR scientist Dr. Bruce Baum was frustrated. He had been searching for new drugs and other treatments that might help restore adequate salivary flow in people whose salivary glands had been damaged by radiation treatment for cancer. Yet, despite all of his hard work, Baum said he had not come close to solving the problem.  That's when he decided to turn to gene transfer, sometimes called gene therapy.  If a fluid-transporting gene could be transferred into the damaged glands, he could potentially restore some degree of salivary flow and secretion into the mouth.  more...

TMJ Disorders

Let's Talk OPPERA: A New Study on TMJ Disorders
(January 2006)
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...

Share This Page

GooglePlusExternal link – please review our disclaimer

LinkedInExternal link – please review our disclaimer

Print

This page last updated: June 17, 2014