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 joined the UTHealth School of Dentistry faculty in 2011 to be part of the school’s Center for Craniofacial Research. She also holds an adjunct faculty position at the Department of Endodontics, and also at the Pediatric Research Center of UTHealth Medical School and the UT MDACC Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
As a clinician-scientist specialized in Endodontics and additional training in oral biology and human molecular genetics, Dr. Letra’s research focuses on understanding the genetic etiology and molecular mechanisms underlying complex oral traits in humans, including but not limited to craniofacial anomalies (particularly cleft lip and palate and tooth agenesis), as well as inflammatory conditions such as periapical disease.
By combining human studies with in vitro and in vivo model systems, our research has elucidated the biological mechanisms underlying genetic variations in those conditions. More recently, we have started exploring the field of epigenetics and potential correlations between craniofacial anomalies and cancer.
Dr. Letra’s research has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the American Association of Endodontists Foundation, and the American Association of Orthodontists Foundation. She has lectured nationally and internationally on various topics and has published more than 80 peer-reviewed manuscripts and 2 book chapters in the fields of craniofacial genetics and endodontics. Prior to joining the UTHealth School of Dentistry, Dr. Letra did a postdoctoral fellowship and became assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine from 2006 to 2010.