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College of Graduate Studies

Summer Research Programs - Oral and Craniofacial Biology

Short term research training opportunties are available for medical and dental students interested in research related to issues in oral and craniofacial biology. The Program Faculty consist of three core groups: Basic Science Mentors representing a broad range of research endeavor in areas related to oral and craniofacial biology; Clinical Mentors, who are primarily clinicians and educators in the Colleges of Dental Medicine and Medicine, with strong interests in oral and craniofacial research; and Informatics Mentors from the Department of Biometry and Epidemiology, who can provide training in oral epidemiology, biostatistics, and biomedical informatics relevant to oral and craniofacial health.

Cell Signaling, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
This group includes faculty interested in cell signaling via different pathways (sphingolipid-mediated signal transduction - Hannun and Obeid; signal transduction by growth factors and neuropeptides - Rosenzweig; molecular mechanisms of signal transduction; G-protein activation by neurotransmitter receptors - Raymond; hormonal and tissue-specific control of gene expression - Kurtz), and mechanisms of cell injury, death, repair, and regeneration (Schnellmann). Two faculty members of this group have a long-standing interest in salivary gland structure/function and gene targeting (J. Chao - expression, regulation and potential role of the tissue kallikrein-kinin system using multidisciplinary approaches; and L. Chao - regulatory mechanisms and potential physiological roles of kallikrein gene family enzymes in the salivary gland). One investigator has an interest in the potential beneficial or toxic effects of dietary components of plant origin - including the role of saliva to hydrolyze aglycones to produce biological effects (Walle).
Craniofacial Biology
This group includes three faculty members. One (Salinas - Pediatric Dentistry) has a clinical interest in oral facial genetic syndromes, including gene mapping of isolated Catch 22 syndrome defects, delineation and orodental characterization of birth defects affecting craniofacial structure, and clinical and gene mapping study of a large SC family with Multiple Synostosis Syndrome. The second (Kern - Cell Biology & Anatomy) has a basic interest in developmental biology, including the role of the Prx1 and Prx2 homeobox genes in the development of heart, limbs, and the craniofacial region. The third (Argraves - Cell Biology & Anatomy) has an interest in extracellular matrix biology, receptor signaling, and craniofacial development.
Oral Microbiology, Immunology, and Immunopathogenesis

This group includes members of several departments and divisions (Microbiology & Immunology, Stomatology-Oral Biology, Physiology & Neuroscience, and Medicine).

  • E. Balish - gnotobiology; microbial etiology of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); gastrointestinal ecology and anaerobic microbiology; and immunity to candidiasis
  • R. Boackle - complement chemistry and its role in inflammation, mucosal immunity, and cancer immunotherapy
  • J. Cook - gram(-) bacterial interaction (LPS) with host immune and non-immune tissues
  • M. Del Poeta - sphingolipid pathway regulation in yeast as a target for antifungal therapies
  • M. Lopes-Virella - immunopathology of vascular obstructive diseases, LDL interactions with the immune system
  • J. Pandey - immunogenetics of periodontal and autoimmune diseases
  • S. Tomlinson - structural and functional relationships of different complement inhibitors
  • M. Trojanowska - extracellular matrix remodeling and molecular mechanisms of fibrosis
  • S. Reed - oral microbial environments in health and disease
Clinical Sciences

The clinical science mentor group includes physicians and dentists. In addition, the rich resources of the MUSC academic health science center allow for training opportunities in behavioral sciences and health services research. The clinical science mentors, and their research focus are:

  • P. Darden - pediatric primary care, health services research, medical homes
  • T. Day - head and neck oncology, statewide models of cancer prevention and control
  • P. Halushka - clinical pharmacology
  • T. Hulsey - clinical epidemiology, patient-oriented research mentoring
  • L. Key - clinical pediatric endocrinology, clinical trials
  • M. Lopes-Virella - clinical endocrinology
  • J. Raymond - clinical nephrology
  • J. Reigart - pediatric primary care, environmental toxicology
  • C. Salinas - clinical dentistry, clinical genetics, special need patients
  • J. Sanders - clinical dentistry - periodontics, immunogenetics of periodontal disease
  • S. Reed - clinical oral epidemiology, oral cancer

The Informatics Mentor Group represents a strong core of faculty members with three main areas of research interest:

  1. Statistical Methodology and Applications (Lipsitz, Slate, Sinha, Tilley)
  2. Bioinformatics (Lu, Zheng)
  3. Oral Epidemiology and Dental Public Health (Hulsey, Lackland, Tilley, Selassie and Reed)

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