DDS | Fluminense Federal University Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
MS | State University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
PhD | Bauru Dental School, University of Sao Paulo, Bauru, Brazil
Dr. Letra is an associate professor of endodontics. She earned her DDS degree from Fluminense Federal University, an MS in endodontics from State University of Rio de Janeiro, and a PhD from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. She moved to the U.S. for her postdoctoral training in human molecular genetics at the University of Pittsburgh, where she remained as assistant professor.
Dr. Letra joined the UTHealth School of Dentistry faculty in 2011 and also holds an adjunct faculty position at the Pediatric Research Center of UTHealth Medical School. As a research-track faculty member, Dr. Letra is part of the UTSD Center for Craniofacial Research, and her research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of birth defects (i.e. cleft lip/palate and dental anomalies), and inflammatory conditions (i.e. apical periodontitis) in humans.
Using sophisticated genetic analysis technologies, Dr. Letra's studies aim to identify gene variants that may contribute to these conditions. Moreover, Dr. Letra's lab uses functional assays to investigate the biological effects underlying genetic variations in vivo and in vitro. Dr. Letra has published more than 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts in the fields of human genetics and endodontics.
She has been awarded multiple research grants, including the prestigious NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99R00), UT Center for Clinical and Translational Science Award, and American Association of Endodontists Foundation Research Grant. At UTHealth, Dr. Letra has been director of endodontic research since 2012.