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Faculty Research Areas

Areas of Research at UTHealth School of Dentistry

Research Interest Researcher
Oral Diagnosis, oral medicine, oral pathology, oral radiology and patient care studies Adibi, Shawn
Dr. Akyalcin has man clinical-based research interests including digital diagnosis and treatment planning, facial and smile esthetics, orthodontic treatment mechanics and materials science. He is currently envisioning establishing a clinically integrated basic science research program within the Orthodontics department. Akyalcin, Sercan
Candia Solari Neumann, Ana Cristina
My lab engineers bone-forming cartilage for implantation into skeletal defects. We have shown that this cartilage heals holes drilled in the skulls of mice including excellent vascularization and integration.  They also form little growth-plate-like areas with zones and mineralization. In immunohistological studies,  VEGF and IHH were also found to be present in these growth plates. We use two bioreactors--both of which were developed at NASA--to grow the cartilage in 3-D.  One provides mechanical stimulation and one does not.  The cartilage formed in these two bioreactors is being compared.  We are also working on differentiating cartilage from mouse bone marrow stem cells, since our ultimate goal is to be able to provide implants to a patient made from a patient’s bone marrow cells.  Next, human bone marrow cells. Duke, P. Jackie
Franklin, Deborah R.
The Effect of Non-Surgical Periodontal Therapy on Glycemic Control and Bacterial Levels in a Mexican-American Population with Type 2 Diabetes Gay, Isabel
Using biochemical profiling and proteomic approaches, Dr. Jeter’s laboratory identifies molecules in body fluids (e.g., blood, saliva) indicative of disease status, progression or outcome.  These biomarkers, when validated in larger patient populations, will be developed into a non-invasive diagnostic test for screening and monitoring patients.  Current work in the lab focuses on traumatic brain injury, with application to craniofacial trauma and wound healing. Jeter, Cameron
Maxillofacial prosthetic (clinical trial, color stability, physical and mechanical properties of elastomers)
Prosthodontics (clinical trial, implant, crown, color stability , soft liner, physical and mechanical properties of dental materials)
Kiat-amnuay, Sudarat
There are two primary areas of research in my laboratory. In the first, we are interested in understanding fundamental immunobiological properties that control and regulate mucosal T cell responses, primarily using murine animal models. Active areas of research include studies of immunity in intestinal and oral sites, especially with regard to the events that influence T cell activation and inflammation. These include studies aimed at defining the effects of stimulatory and costimulatory signals in the activation of T cells in response to foreign antigen and viruses. The second area of research involves studies examining the integrated bi-directional effects of immune-endocrine interactions. In these experiments, the action of neuroendocrine hormones of the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis is being studied for their potential to regulate the immune response. Similarly, we are interested in determining how the immune system participates in the control of neuroendocrine function and metabolism, particularly with regard to thyroid hormone regulation. Klein,John R.
Koh,Sheila H.
Genetics of cleft lip and palate Letra, Ariadne
Dr. Lou’s laboratory has two NIH-sponsored immunology related projects using animal models. The first one is to study how immune system attacks host’s tissues to cause autoimmune diseases. The second one is to understand how immune system participates in physiological processes such as tissue remodeling. Lou, Yahuan
O'Neill, Paula N.
Research Interests: Mechanical properties of dental materials; light polymerization; adhesion; ceramic; resin composite; color stability, esthetics. The research in the oral biomaterials laboratory is primarily directed at understanding, polymerization, optical and mechanical properties of biomaterials as it relates to restorative applications in dentistry. Mechanical properties of dental materials include surface hardness, compressive, flexural, and modulus strength testing, tear energy, stress/strain measurement. Bond strengths of dental materials are tested using either a cylinder shear test or an inverted cone tensile test with an Instron testing machine. Microleakages of dental materials are performed after thermo-cycling and computer imaging of specimens. Current studies in our lab range from depth of cure of dental restorative materials polymerized with Light-emitting-diodes to polishing dependent gloss changes of composite resin. An In-vivo and in-vitro comparison of color changes of composite resin is also being investigated. Ontiveros, Joe C.
Sadowsky, June
Dr. Schaefer's laboratory utilizes genetic and biochemical techniques to understand the regulation of the gut-associated lymphoid tissue as it relates to inflammatory bowel disease. In this regard, we seek to define the functional relationship linking miRNA expression to colonic inflammation with the goal of uncovering important players that are critical to or at least contributory to the disease process. We are striving to develop a non-invasive diagnostic test for screening and monitoring inflammation in Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis patients. In addition, we have begun studies to identify the transcriptional pathways that control these important immune and gene expression modulators. Schaefer, Jeremy
Incidence of cancer in birth defects Silva, Renato
Dr. Storthz’s research is focused on the association of viruses with certain cancers, in particular, human papilloma viruses (HPV) and their connection to oral and cervical cancers. Storthz, Karen A
Cancer, salivary proteomics, and biomarkers Streckfus, Charles F.
Dr. Taylor's research has sought to understand the physical, chemical, and electrochemical phenomena that govern metal-polymer interactions in aqueous and biological environments. This understanding has required the development of new experimental methods that include: local electrochemical impedance mapping and fluoroprobe staining to understand ionic ingress in polymeric coatings, as well as high throughput methods for the rapid identification of non-toxic inhibitor synergies and the assessment of coating systems for service life prediction.  He has also developed methods to non-destructively evaluate the hydrostability and fatigue damage of graphite fiber composites. Taylor, S. Ray
Periodontitis is a chronically progressing opportunistic bacterial infection, involving the connective tissues and bone surrounding the teeth. Dr. Tribble focuses her research studies on two groups of anaerobic bacteria associated with periodontitis, Porphyromonas gingivalis and Prevotella spp. In particular, she investigates the molecular mechanisms of horizontal DNA transfer in oral microbial communities, and the biological consequences of gene exchange with regard to biofilm infections and bacterial pathogenicity. Tribble, Gena
He has an active basic science research focusing on the development of novel animal models, methods and strategies to study oral cancer development and metastasis. His current basic research involves (1) Therapeutic delivery of siRNA to a mouse model of oral cancer and (2) Characterization oral precancer and cancer-specific microRNA signatures using a mouse model of oral tongue carcinogenesis. Vigneswaran, Nadarajah
Walji, Muhammad
Wang, Bing-Yan
Clinical trials, Laser use in periodontics Weltman, Robin
Wong, Mark E.
Apoptosis in bone and teeth, mechanisms of infectious and ischemic diseases of the jaws Zhang, Wenjian