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Center for Oral Health Research

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 COHR: Center for Oral Health Research | Projects


Current Projects

COHR Junior Investigators

Viswanathan Palanisamy, PhD
Department of Craniofacial Biology
Molecular Mechanisms of mRNA Stability in Human Saliva

Andrew G. Jakymiw, PhD
Department of Craniofacial Biology
Characterization of a Dicer mRNA splice variant in oral cancer

Gunhild Sommer, PhD
Division of Basic Sciences – Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
The Role of the RNA Binding Protein La in Oral Tumor Biology

COHR Pilot Investigators

Walter G. Renne, DMD
The intent of this study is to develop an adhesive resin that is resistant to the two major processes of adhesive failure: Bond degradation and destruction of the zone of resin interdiffusion from intrinsic collagenolytic enzymes, and bacterial proliferation and invasion at the adhesive/tooth interface resulting in recurrent caries. The potential implications of a novel adhesive resin that is resistant to bacterial invasion and endogenous destruction of collagen is profound.

Jing Zhou, DDS, PhD
Chronic inflammation has been suggested as an etiologic factor in colorectal carcinogenesis.  Periodontal disease, as a major source of inflammation in an otherwise helathy individual, is increasingly implicated in total and site-specific cancers.  The objective of this pilot study is to determine the association of periodontal disease and colorectal neoplasia.  The central hypothesis is that there is a higher prevelance of periodontal disease, more periodontal tissue destruction, and altered levels of salivary and blood biomarkers from periodontal disease in patients with colorectal neoplasia. There are three specific aims:  1.  To establish the feasibility of recruiting patients with known colorectal neoplasia for future oral health studies via a trans-disciplinary research team that includes doctors and scientists from College of Dental Medicine, Biostatistics and Epidemiology, and Digestive Disease Center at Medical University of South Carolina.  2.  To determine the prevalence of periodontal disease and severity of periodontal destruction in patients with diagnosed colorectal adenoma or colorectal cancer, and the control subjects.  3.  To determine the association between biomarkers of peridontal disease and colorectal neoplasia status. Changes in the levels of biomarkers associated with inflammation, both individually and as a multivariate profile, will be evaluated for the control, adenoma and cancer groups.  The information generated from thsi study will raise further attention in oral disease control for systemic health. This pilot study will provide preliminary data for a larger sample size study, or future follow-up study models to understand the possible causal link between periodontal disease and colorectal neoplasia.

Bei Liu, MD, MPH
The Title of Project: Role of CD24-Siglec Signaling in the Initiation and Progression of Oral Cancer
CD24 is a glycosyl-phosphatidyl-inositol (GPI) anchored sialoglycoprotein, which can provide co-stimulatory signals to T cells and B cells. More importantly, CD24 is an important negative regulator in host response to damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) by interacting with Siglec-G in mouse/Siglec-10 in human. Moreover, bacterial and viral derived sialidase can exacerbate inflammation by disrupting the CD24-Siglec-G/10 interaction. Recent study demonstrated that CD24 is selectively and strongly expressed in the epithelial cells that attached to the tooth and maintained expression of selected genes that associate with a marginal barrier function of epithelium. Knockdown of CD24 results in increased epithelial barrier disruption, which leads to intercellular penetration of microbial products. By using CD24 knockout mouse model, the goal of this study is to understand the role of CD24 signaling in controlling oral inflammation and carcinogenesis, as well as in determining the role of sialidase in oral cancer.

Daniella Ishimaru. PhD
Recent studies on the molecular pathogenesis of HNSCCs revealed a greater molecular heterogeneity of the disease than previously distinguished by histological studies, emphasizing that a better characterization of these carcinomas remains an important goal towards identifying reliable markers and developing appropriate therapeutics.  In fact, a variety of papers have investigated miRNA involvement in HNSCCs and the compilation of these data suggests that miRNAs may be used as diagnostic and prognostic markers for HNSCCs in a foreseeable future.  Our pilot project aims to establish a correlation between Drosha overexpression and miRNA profiles in HNSCCs and to draw a parallel between Drosha’s RNase activity and post-transcriptional regulation of miRNAs specifically misregulated in HNSCCs.  Our results will help to understand the molecular diversity of HNSCCs and will also provide tools for development of personalized treatments for patients

Christi Kern, PhD
Department of Regenerative Medicine & Cell Biology
The Role of Prrx Regulation of Extracellular Matrix Genes in Craniofacial Development

Holly Mitchell, MD
Department of Medicine – Division of Rheumatology & Immunology
Association between the severity of periodontal disease and lupus disease activity and damage in Gullah African Americans with lupus

Past Projects

Junior Investigators

Christopher Parsons, MD
Department of Medicine – Division of Infectious Diseases
KSHV Regulation of Innate Cytokine Responses and T Cell Activation

Marion Boyd Gillespie, MD
Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
Epidermal Fatty Acid Binding Protein: A Biomarker for Metastatic Oral and Head and Neck Cancer

Angela Chi, DMD
Department of Stomatology
CYP1B1 Induction in Tobacco-related Oral Carcinogenesis

Amy Bradshaw, PhD
Department of Medicine – Division of Cardiology
The Function of SPARC in the Regulation of Collagen Deposition in the Periodontal Ligament

Lauren E. Ball, PhD
Division of Basic Sciences – Department of Pharmacology
Role of the Hexosamine Biosynthetic Pathway and Post-translational O-GlcNAc Glycosylation in complications of Diabetes Pertaining to Oral Health

Hai Yao, PhD
Clemson-MUSC Bioengineering Program
Fluid and Solute Transport in Human Temporomandibular Joint Disc

Renata Leite, DDS, MS
Department of Stomatology
The Relationship Between Periodontal Diseases and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in the Gullah Population and the Effects of Mechanical Periodontal Therapy and Systemic Antibiotics on the Glycemic Control and on the Active Matrix Metalloproteinase-8 (aMMP-8) Level in the Gingival Crevicular Fluid (GCF) of These Patients

Pilot Investigators:

Courtney Haycraft, PhD
Department of Medicine – Division of Nephrology
The Expression and Function of the Primary Cilium in Murine Tooth Morphogenesis

Marion A. Cooley, PhD
Department of Regenerative Medicine & Cell Biology
Fibulin-1 maintenance of the Fgf8-dependent proximal mandibular genetic program

Holly Mitchell, MD
Department of Medicine – Division of Rheumatology & Immunology
Association between the severity of periodontal disease and lupus disease activity and damage in Gullah African Americans with lupus

Natalie Sutkowski, PhD
Department of Microbiology & Immunology
An endogenous Superantigen in HPV Associated Oropharyngeal Carcinoma

Jing Zhou, DDS, MS, PhD
Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Role of Matrix Metalloproteinases in Porphyromonas gingivalis-induced Osteoclast Migration

Michele Ravenel, DMD
Department of Stomatology
Microbial Analysis of Dental Plaque Species in the Sea Island Gullah Population

Carlos Rossa, DDS, PhD
Department of Craniofacial Biology
Role of SOCS1 and SOCS3 in Attenuating Signaling Leading to Oral Squamouse Cell Carcinoma Progression



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