Using Saliva to Test for Risk of Mental Illness
Dr. Vivek Shetty and his team of researchers were awarded a grant for $3.8 million, which will allow the team to test the saliva of individuals who have experienced a traumatic injury or experience. Over a 6-month period, the team will collect saliva samples to determine the levels of the individual salivary biomarkers at different points and compare the biomarker patterns of individuals who subsequently develop PTSD and/or depression with those who do not. Their intention is to develop a salivary test for identifying individuals at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder and suffering from depression following a traumatic event. The grant was co-funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. To read the entire press release, click here.
Dr. Dean Ho Featured on Cover of Prestigious Physics Journal
Dr. Dean Ho and his research team recently appeared on the cover of the September issue of Physica Status Solidi – the largest international peer-reviewed journal on condensed matter physics. The special issue highlighted breakthroughs in the field of nanodiamonds, and specifically covered Dr. Ho’s focus on the nanodiamond’s biological and medical applications.
The cover image demonstrates the team’s fabrication of a multi-layered polymeric tablet embedded with nanodiamonds that are laced with Daunorubicin drug (red), a cancer therapy drug. The Daunorubicin is being released from the center of the tablet (purple) while allowing for sustained delivery of therapeutics with reduced burst release. The outer ring (green) contains another chemotherapy drug called Temozolomide.
The research team’s work shows that the multi-layered tablet enables a sequenced release of both drug compounds that also preserves the drug’s functionality within the afflicted body. The team anticipates that their tablets will have broad medical applications, which will improve the efficacy and safety of drug delivery, particularly within the oral health field.
In addition to the cover article, the journal published a feature article on Dr. Ho’s research on the use of nanodiamonds and diamond-based devices towards therapeutic drug delivery and the improvement of imaging agents in MRIs. To read the cover article, click here.
Dr. Wenyuan Shi is STAMPing out tooth decay
Dr. Wenyuan Shi, Professor and Chair of the Section of Oral Biology, was featured on the University of California’s (UCOP) YouTube channel as a successful technology transfer story. UCOP interviewed Dr. Shi about his groundbreaking process of using STAMPs (Specifically-Targeted Antimicrobial Peptides) to wipe-out bad bacteria and leave good bacteria in the mouth. The technology started right here at the School of Dentistry and is now going through clinical trials. To see the entire interview, click here.
School of Dentistry Receives $9 million to Increase Dental Care Access for Young Children
First 5 LA, the child advocacy and grant-making organization, awarded the School of Dentistry and its partners $9 million to increase access to dental care for Los Angeles children from birth to age 5. Dr. James Crall, Professor and Chair of the Section of Public Health and Community Dentistry, will spear-head the project, which aims to help improve the oral health of children in underserved populations.
Called the First 5 LA 21st Century Community Dental Homes Project, its major objectives will be to not only deliver quality dental care to young children but to increase parents' and child care providers' awareness of the importance of oral health care for preschool children and develop a sustainable community "dental home" model of care for these children. To read the entire press release, click here.
Dr. Wang and Team Discover Epigenetic Links in Cell-fate Decisions of Adult Stem Cells
The ability to control whether certain stem cells ultimately become bone cells holds great promise for regenerative medicine and potential therapies aimed at treating metabolic bone diseases.and his research team made a significant breakthrough in that direction. The scientists have discovered two key epigenetic regulating genes that govern the cell-fate determination of human bone marrow stem cells.
Dr. Wang's research was featured on the cover of the July 6 issue of Cell Stem Cell, the affiliated journal of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. To read the entire press release, click here.
Training Future Leaders in the Oral Health Field
The School received a $5 million grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to create a comprehensive research training program to help cultivate the next generation of dentist–scientists and oral health researchers. Dr. David Wong, Associate Dean of Research, is currently accepting applications to the program. To read the entire press release, click here.