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Other Dental COBRE Grantees

The objectives of the Center for the Biologic Basis of Oral/Systemic Diseases (CBBOSD) are: RESEARCH: To develop a better understanding of the biologic principles that underpin the observed linkages of chronic oral infections and inflammation with systemic disease sequelae; and TRAINING: To use this research focus as a platform to develop promising young investigators in oral health sciences and enhance their competitiveness for external funding, including NIH grant support. We will accomplish these objectives by: Organizing a cadre of established, funded scientists to examine crucial questions related to oral and systemic health linkages, Providing young research faculty with opportunities for interdisciplinary training in oral health sciences and systemic disease, Mentoring young faculty in research projects focused on oral infections, host responses, and systemic disease that will lead to success as independent NIH-funded researchers, Developing and supporting core facilities and resources to optimize the research enterprise of the CBBOSD faculty, Facilitating pilot projects, as well as intra- and inter-university collaborations among CBBOSD faculty, and other researchers at the University of Kentucky, Strategic hiring of new faculty to complement existing strengths to contribute to a critical mass of funded investigators in the biology of oral-systemic diseases. To address this need, we have organized the research activities and leadership of the CBBOSD into 2 broad thematic areas. These thematic areas will incorporate 6 research projects that are integrated with respect to underlying concepts, methodologies, and availability of biological specimens. THEMATIC AREA 1: Oral infections: Translational studies of hostparasite interactions; Project 1: Oral Infections and HIV Recrudescence; Project 2: Oral Infections: Inflammation, Lipid Metabolism, and Atherosclerosis; Project 3: Oral Infections: Genomic Analysis of Host Responses to Polyrnicrobial Infections;. THEMATIC AREA 2: Oral infections: Clinical implications for systemic disease; Project 4: Oral Infections: Impact on Gestational Diabetes; Project 5: Oral Infections: Dietary Regulation of Local and Systemic Inflammatory Responses; Project 6: Oral Infections: Viral/Bacterial Interactions in Chronic Diseases. These research projects are integral to the goals of the CBBOSD because they focus on critical questions of the biology of chronic oral infections and contribution to alterations in systemic health. The overall focus of the CBBOSD is diverse to enable this interdisciplinary research team to: (i) address the myriad of challenges in understanding critical parameters of the interplay between infections and disease in the oral cavity, and (ii) use the available expertise of senior faculty at UK with experience in mentoring young investigators. Thus, junior investigators will be integrated into research projects with established, funded faculty who use state-of-the-art cellular and molecular approaches to explore the biologic basis of this relationship. The breadth of science and varied senior research expertise assures that the CBBOSD will provide opportunities for many junior investigators, who will have the capability to interact within this nurturing environment. The outcomes of this mentored, nurturing structure will enhance the maturation of oral health research at UK, through the College of Dentistry, and synergize in expanding NIH-funded research in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Oral health is often considered a mirror of general health. As such, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center has recently placed a significant emphasis on oral health-related research, in response to this charge, the LSU School of Dentistry acquired Institutional and State support to establish a Center of Excellence in Oral and Craniofacial Biology in 2000. One of the strongest emerging research foci within the Center of Excellence is oral infectious disease/pathogenesis led by several established senior investigators. The rising Center of Excellence has shown considerable productivity in the past 3 years and is now poised for expansion and development of junior faculty through a COBRE. To this end, we are proposing to develop promising junior principal investigators through a structured mentoring program and meritorious basic and clinical research. The theme is 'Oral Infectious Diseases' and includes 4 projects on oral health anomalies, including oral opportuntistic infections in the HIV patient, periodontal disease, and dental caries. Mentoring will be through teams of senior investigators in the Center of Excellence and LSU School of Medicine with related expertise and funding experience. Moreover, significant infrastructure will be contributed by three Cores, including Administrative, Biomedical Equipment, and Statistics. The COBRE is led by an established NIH-funded Investigator who has extensive experience in leading center grants and is the current Director of the Center of Excellence. There will be significant interim and outcome evaluations of benchmarks through an internal (mentors) and external advisory board. The objectives of the COBRE are to (i) develop junior faculty into independent investigators through meritorious research and structured mentoring, (ii) provide training in clinical and basic science research related to oral health, (iii) develop critical mass in oral health research at the LSU School of Dentistry and Center of Excellence through mentoring and recruitment, (iv) continue to develop/enhance infrastructure of the existing Center of Excellence, and (v) implement both interim and outcome evaluations to measure progress. The long-term goals will be to have a critical mass of experienced independent investigators at the LSU School of Dentistry whose extramurally funded research significantly enhances the oral and general health of persons in the State of Louisiana and nationally.

University of Louisville (CRISP)
Molecular Determinants of Developmental Defects

The purpose of this application for a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) is to foster health-related research and increase the competitiveness of junior, unfunded investigators at the Birth Defects Center at the UL School of Dentistry for independent funding. If funded, this COBRE will augment and strengthen the biomedical research capacity at the Birth Defects Center through provision of flexible support to expand and develop biomedical faculty research capability. The program is led by an established biomedical research scientist, well recognized for his extensive expertise central to the research theme of the proposal. The application seeks support for junior investigators from several complementary disciplines, each of whom will be mentored by an established, well-funded senior biomedical research faculty member, recognized for his/her scientific expertise in the area of the junior investigator's research proposal. This approach is a critical assurance of success of this initiative. This application represents an integrated series of studies focusing on two common themes - molecular mechanisms of birth defects and cellular signal transduction - that encompass a number of diverse scientific disciplines. Faculty from three different departments in the Schools of Dentistry and Medicine, representing a multiplicity of scientific disciplines, present a multifunctional approach to questions of the molecular basis of developmental anomalies. This application, if funded, will substantially enhance the development of five young investigators with outstanding potential to develop into competitive, independent and collaborative investigators. A detailed plan for their research career development has been formulated, expectations and goals for achieving extramural support is outlined, the extent of departmental and university support provided to these junior faculty is substantial, clear and tangible evidence of institutional commitment has been documented, and sufficient and adequate space and equipment resources for the conduct of the proposed studies exists.

Medical University of South Carolina (CRISP)
South Carolina COBRE for Oral Health

This proposal seeks support for the development of the South Carolina COBRE for Oral Health at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) College of Dental Medicine. The South Carolina COBRE for Oral Health will train a cadre of targeted investigators who will become established investigators and will provide academic leadership in the continued development of the College of Dental Medicine's oral and craniofacial health research program. The program is highly leveraged with existing strengths at MUSC's academic health science center including: 1) a pool of outstanding faculty mentors who are collaborative and well-funded by NIH institutes and peer-review sponsors; 2) a pool of outstanding targeted investigators with strong, pre-existing relationships with members of the faculty mentor group; 3) critical relevant research space and core resources; 4) access to unique populations currently under investigation and served by MUSC's community outreach programs; 5) access to clinical materials from these populations; and 6) an innovative collaborative relationship between MUSC and the NIDCR intramural research program on the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD that provides expanded research mentoring opportunities to targeted investigators in the South Carolina COBRE for Oral Health Program. Thus, the COBRE funding mechanism will allow the College of Dental Medicine to apply COBRE resources to most efficiently meet the goals of its research strategic plan to develop a nationally competitive and prominent oral health research program at MUSC which directly benefits the oral health care needs of the citizens of South Carolina. The South Carolina COBRE for Oral Health program will: * Mentor an initial cadre of five targeted investigators to develop successful, independent, NIH- funded research careers in oral health science. * Enhance the oral health research infrastructure. COBRE funds will permit significantdevelopment of critical resources (cores) in the development of a research infrastructure supportive of multidisciplinary oral health research at MUSC's academic health science center. * Recruit two additional new faculty members whose experience and disciplinary expertise will complement those of the COBRE investigators in areas deemed critical by the Steering and the External Advisory Committees. * Sustain the infrastructure of the South Carolina COBRE for Oral Health beyond the initial 5- year award.

University of Nebraska (CRISP)
Nebraska Center for Cellular Signaling

his COBRE application proposes to establish a Center for Cellular Signaling that will augment and strengthen the research capacity within the Dental Schools in Nebraska. The Center will include scientists from three nearby research universities in Nebraska: University of Nebraska Medical Center, University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Creighton University. The objectives of the Center are 1) to expand the current focus on cellular signaling, with a concentration on its role in tumorigenesis; 2) to increase the research profile of Nebraska's dental schools, with the ultimate goal of being included in the top dental schools in the country in NIH funding; and, most importantly, 3) to contribute to the development of promising young faculty, so that they will become prominent members of the scientific community as evidenced by significant NIH funding, publication of important manuscripts, service on review panels and invitations to speak across the country. To accomplish these goals we will create the necessary infrastructure, which will consist of 1) An organized Center that includes a dedicated director aided by an assistant, an Administrative Advisory Council, a group of committed mentors, an External Advisory Council, and a group of talented project leaders; 2) A collection of inter-related research projects focused on cellular signaling; and 3) A program of development, designed to enhance and sustain the Center, that will include a seminar program, graduate student stipends and a seed grant program. We have strong support from all three institutions and a plan in place to sustain the program when the COBRE funding expires. The PI and mentors involved in this project are committed to developing a culture of mentoring within the Colleges of Dentistry in Nebraska. In addition, the collaborative environment resulting from the formation of the Center will enhance the research infrastructure within Nebraska's Dental Schools. Thus, the chances we will meet all our goals are very high.

University of Oklahoma (CRISP)
Biofilm Formation and Metabolism on Dental Surfaces

The present Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) proposal is designed to grow oral health related research, and increase the competitiveness of investigators associated with the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry and affiliated institutions with common interests in dental research. At the center of this proposal are the junior investigators who will take a multidisciplinary approach to study microbial biofilm formation and metabolism on natural and artificial dental surfaces. The establishment and evolution of microbial biofilms on smooth surfaces in the oral cavity leads to dental caries, gingivitis, and periodontitis, accounting for the majority of all dental disease. To approach this problem from a number of vantage points, project investigators in the present proposal were drawn from complementary fields, including microbiology and genetics, pathology and cell biology, periodontics, and dental materials. An administrative core will oversee and work with the junior investigators, providing mentoring from senior investigators, enhanced core facilities, and an external advisory committee of internationally recognized scientists in the thematic topic of microbial biofilms on dental surfaces. In addition, a training program for students at all levels will be initiated as well as an outreach program to identify faculty and students at other institutions in the state interested in dental biofilm research. The university administration has committed to expand this effort with the addition of two permanent faculty positions from institutional resources. This COBRE proposal provides the necessary resources, infrastructure, and mentoring required for Oklahoma dental researchers to be successful in competing for future NIH funding as independent investigators. The ultimate benefit of this program will be the translation of research knowledge to treatment and prevention of oral diseases.


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