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 COHR: Center for Oral Health Research | CTC: Clinical Translational Core

Clinical Core (C-COHR)

Pg infecctionThe Center for Oral Health Research – Clinical Core (C-COHR) encompasses space and support for researchers interested in conducting clinical oral health research. The goal of the C-COHR is to foster clinical and translational oral health research in a cost effective manner, therefore helping to strengthen the discipline of clinical and translational science. 

The C-COHR is located on the 5th floor of the James B. Edward College of Dental Medicine (CDM) and it consists of 3 treatment operatories equipped with computers for data entry and patient education and a room for anthropometrics and vital signs collection and a laboratory. It is equipped with state of the art central sterilization.

The CDM has formal agreements signed with two local community outreach dental clinics; the Our Lady of Mercy Outreach Community Dental Clinic in Johns’ Island and the East of the Cooper Community Outreach Dental Clinic in Mount Pleasant that can be used to facilitate patient/participant recruitment and community engagement.


The mission of the C-COHR is to foster clinical and translational research within the CDM and MUSC; to engage more CDM faculty members in clinical and translational research; to facilitate sharing of resources and expertise; to provide an outpatient dental clinical research capacity to support all university projects; to stimulate new research discoveries through community-based participatory research therefore, facilitating the translation and adoption of new research findings into the community settings; to engage academic-community partnerships, transforming oral health care and eliminating oral health disparities in our communities; to establish mechanisms to sustain the progress of community-based initiatives; to provide rigorous methodological and biostatistical support for researchers; to mentor investigators in biostatistical research methods; and to facilitate the grant application process for clinical investigators; therefore, improving the oral health outcomes of the population of South Carolina through discoveries translated into community service.


  • Consultation for study design and feasibility
  • Assistance with grant proposals, statistical analyses and dissemination of findings
  • Assistance with Institutional Review Board (IRB) applications, Continuing Reviews Audits
  • Assistance with database management
  • Assistance with study protocol development
  • Assistance with budget development
  • Assistance with patient/participant recruitment, scheduling and consenting, remuneration
  • Comprehensive oral health examinations, provided by calibrated, trained and certified research hygienist
  • Digital intraoral radiographs
  • Patient education by trained and certified research staff
  • Questionnaire administration by trained and certified research staff
  • Vital signs collection, including, height, weight, pulse, blood pressure, temperature and any other body measurement as required by the different clinical protocols
  • Biological samples collection, process, and distribution for laboratory analysis (i.e. gingival crevicular fluid, plaque, blood), through the COHR
  • Biological samples collection, process, and storage, through the COHR
  • Performance of specialized biological assays on biological samples, as required by different clinical protocols, such as Elisa tests
  • Medication administration and/or dispensing as required by different clinical protocols
  • Off-site visits


  • Enclosed private Dental Operatories
  • Dental Laboratory
  • Digital Radiographs
  • -80° Freezer
  • -20° Freezer
  • Refrigerator
  • Procedures room for Anthropometry Measurements and Blood Draw


Ozlem Yilmaz


As Director, Dr. Yilmaz facilitates research endeavors which benefit the faculty, residents, pre-doctoral dental and graduate students.  Her laboratory focuses on oral opportunistic pathogens and oral epithelial cell interaction, in particular, the mechanisms of bacterial colonization, trafficking, and persistence. In addition, the study of oral microbes and their relation to the oral and systemic chronic diseases.


Özlem Yilmaz, DDS, PhD 
Director, Center for Oral Health Clinical Research
Phone: 843-792-1248


Lynn West


Lynn is responsible for managing the daily operations of the C-COHR which includes providing investigators with protocol development to include, but not limited to, study design, inclusion/exclusion criteria, IRB submission, and other related compliance measures and regulatory components.  She has over 23 years of research experience at MUSC. 



Lynn West, MA
Program Coordinator
Phone:  843-792-6101


Karen Bellacicco


Karan is responsible for completing oral exams, biological sample collection/processing, vital signs collection, phlebotomy, digital intraoral radiograph, medication administration.  She has over 20 years of experience.




Karan Bellacicco, RDH
Dental Hygienist
Phone: 843-792-7270


Theresa Vanderhorst


Theresa is responsible for biological sample collection/processing, vital signs collection, phlebotomy, digital intraoral radiograph and chairside assistance in the operatory.  She has over 15 years of experience.




Theresa Vanderhorst 
Dental Assistant
Phone: 792-7270