Research News

Posted on: Friday, 06/24/2016

UCLA study yields the key to effective personalized medicine

Dr. Dean Ho, Professor of Oral Biology & Medicine and Co-Director of the Weintraub Center for Reconstructive Biotechnology, was featured on the cover of the peer-reviewed journal, Science Translational Medicine.

Dr. Ho, along with two other corresponding authors from the School of Engineering and the UCLA Health Division of Liver and Pancreas Transplantation, published their research findings on an in-human clinical study using a revolutionary technology platform called phenotypic personalized medicine. The platform was able to help the researchers tailor the optimal drug dosage and combination to best treat liver transplant patients.

The full press release can be viewed here.

E-cigarette vapors found to be toxic to oral cavity cells

Dr. Shen Hu, Associate Professor in the Section of Oral Biology, led a study that looked at the potential health problems associated with e-cigarette vapors. The team, made up of collaborators from the School of Public Health, the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and the California Nanosystems Institute at UCLA, found that vapors from e-cigarettes kill cells from the oral cavity.

Based on their findings, the researchers believe that similar results could happen in a human study and that e-cigarettes could increase users’ risk for oral disease. The findings, published online in the journal PLOS One, also suggest that health care providers should do more to raise public awareness of the products’ health risks.

The full press release can be viewed here.

Child oral health program triples preventive visits

Dr. Jim Crall, Professor and Chair of the Division of Public Health and Dentistry, was a co-author on a newly released policy brief by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

The brief describes the UCLA-First 5 LA 21st Century Dental Homes Project, which was designed to improve oral health care for young children in 12 Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) clinic sites with co-located dental and primary care services and its accessibility in their service areas throughout Los Angeles County.

The project funded infrastructure and staffing, provided technical assistance to improve operations, trained clinical personnel to provide oral health care to young children, implemented a quality improvement learning collaborative, trained parents and child care providers in oral hygiene and healthy habits, and disseminated information to promote effective policies.

Early data on the project indicated twofold increases in delivery of both diagnostics and treatment for young children, and a threefold increase in preventive services for young children during the program.

The full press release can be viewed here.

Researchers prove lung cancer mutations can be detected in saliva

Dr. David Wong, Associate Dean for Research, presented new research on non-small cell lung cancer at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 2016 Annual Meeting on June 4. Dr. Wong, along with collaborators, performed a double-blind study on 37 people who have non-small cell lung cancer at three lung cancer centers in Chengdu, China.

The team found saliva detection correctly predicted the mutations in all 37 pre- and post-surgery saliva samples with 100 percent accuracy. The biopsied tissue predicted mutations with 70 percent accuracy.

The full research alert can be viewed here.

Inaugural Adv. Prosth. Residents Research Day a SuccessAdvanced Prosth Residents with Faculty

The Division of Advanced Prosthodontics held the inaugural Residents Research Day on Friday, June 3, to a packed audience of faculty, residents, and invited guests. The goal of the day was to showcase the impact of the residents’ clinical and research activities, and highlight the brilliant and talented minds that are drawn to UCLA Dentistry. Dr. Ben Wu, Chairman of the division noted that, “Advanced Prosthodontics is where bioengineering meets dentistry” and “we are so fortunate to be a part of a world-class clinical research university like UCLA.”

Advanced Prosth Residents with Faculty


The day consisted of oral research presentations and culminated with a poster session and reception.  Mr. Ken Rosenblood, a local entrepreneur and judge for all sessions, summarized the event with the statement, "One can never get tired of watching great minds driven by passion.  When that passion is focused on improving the human condition, it is God's work."

Awards for the oral and poster sessions were generously donated by dental manufacturers, to BioHorizon, Brassler, DenMat, and Premiere. The Division is grateful to the attendees, division vice chair Dr. Eric Sung and his staff who coordinated the day.

Hatton Awards Given to UCLA Trainees

Two research trainees from the School of Dentistry received Hatton Awards at the recent 2016 American Association for Dental Research (AADR) Hatton Awards Competition at the association’s 45th Annual Meeting, which was held on March 16th.

  Ms. Vikki (Sung Hee) Lee, a PhD student of Dr. Ki-Hyuk Shin, placed first in the senior category. Vikki’s research looked at Orai1, a key calcium channel, and how it promotes oral cancer progression by enhancing cancer stem-like cell phenotype via NFATc3 signaling, or (nuclear factor of activated T-cells) signaling.





Ms. Insoon Chang, a PhD student of Dr. Cun-Yu Wang, placed second in the senior category. Insoon’s research looked at the epigenetic repression of autophagy, a destructive cellular mechanism, and how this mechanism may be a novel solution for chemo-resistance in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

The two went on to compete in the IADR Unilever Hatton Awards Competition, which was held at the IADR General Session & Exhibition in Seoul, Korea, on June 21.

Grants to Fight Cancer

Dr. David Wong, Associate Dean for Research, was awarded a National Cancer Institute grant. The grant is for one year and totals $188,669 for a project, titled “Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) Biomarker Reference Laboratory” to validate GAL3 as a biomarker for colon cancer early detection.

Also, the Center for Oral/Head & Neck Oncology Research received a $25,000 gift from the Ronnie James Dio ‘Stand Up and Shout Cancer’ Fund. The gift was presented to Dr. David Wong at a Ride for Ronnie 2nd Annual Motorcycle Ride & Concert ceremony on May 22.

The charitable organization was established in honor of Ronnie James Dio, an American heavy metal singer who lost his life to gastric cancer in 2010.  The non-profit’s mission is to support research, education, prevention, early detection, and treatment of prostate, colon, and stomach cancers.

Research Funds Awarded for Sjögren’s Syndrome

Dr. Stergios Katsiougiannis, an Assistant Project Scientist in Dr. David Wong’s lab, was awarded a research grant from the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation for his proposal titled; "System analysis of mouse models for Sjögren’s syndrome pathogenesis". His project was selected after a peer review during the 2016-2017 grant cycle. The goal of the Foundation is to provide funding and foster research that will have the greatest potential impact on Sjögren’s patients. Dr. Katsiougiannis is currently working on developing salivary biomarkers for Sjögren’s Syndrome and investigating the role of salivary exosomes in health and disease.