The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) has honored Jeremy Schaefer, PhD, with a Career Development Award for his study, “MicroRNA Regulation in Irritable Bowel Diseases (IBD).” The three-year award begins July 1 and will provide both salary and research expense support.
Schaefer is an instructor in the Department of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences at The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston.
His research deals with mucosal immunity in general and inflammatory bowel diseases in particular, examining how the disorders occur and what keeps them going. The CCFA project will study the role of microRNAs (small RNA molecules that regulate gene expression) in intestinal inflammation and immunity, with a goal of finding pathways or targets that can lead to strategies for diagnosing or treating disease.
Associate Professors Ariadne Letra, DDS, MS, PhD, and Renato Silva, DDS, MS, PhD were among authors of a study featured on the cover of May 2012 edition of the Journal of Dental Research. The study investigated a specific gene’s association with cleft lip and palate – a common type of oral birth defect.
Looking at more than 3,000 individuals from multiple populations throughout the world, the researchers found that certain variants of the AXIN2 gene were associated with oral clefts in all populations. AXIN2 also appeared to interact with a known cleft susceptibility gene, IRF6.
Dr. Mark Wong, chair of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, was among researchers invited to the U.S. Navy Regenerative Medicine Symposium in Washington, D.C. earlier this month to report on advances in craniofacial tissue regeneration. The symposium, attended by military leadership, focused on current capabilities and future direction in regenerative medicine.
Colonel Robert Hale, commander of the Dental and Trauma Research Detachment, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, also presented on this subject. The University of Texas School of Dentistry is part of a research consortium led by Wake Forest University and the University of Pittsburgh that also includes Rice University, Stanford, Georgia Tech, Tufts and Johns Hopkins. Along with Dr. Anthony Mikos at Rice, Wong is co-director of the Craniofacial Program for the consortium, which is supported by a federal grant through the Armed Forces Institute for Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM).
The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston (UTSD) is recruiting adults with Type II diabetes for a national study to determine whether treating gum disease improves long-term blood-sugar control. The school is one of five participating in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded “Diabetes and Periodontal Therapy Trial.” Other sites include The University of Texas Dental School in San Antonio, the University of Alabama in Birmingham, the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine in New York – the coordinating clinical center. UTSD will receive approximately $1 million for its work as the Houston site.James Katancik, DDS, PhD, chair of the Department of Periodontics and Dental Hygiene at UTSD, said the question of periodontal disease’s effect on blood sugar has been around for years, but previous studies have had mixed findings.
Charles Streckfus, DDS, professor in The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston's Department of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences, was invited by the Department of Head and Neck Cancer at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center to present Pathology Grand Rounds in November. The title of the presentation was, “A Comparison of Salivary Protein Profiles between Her2/neu Receptor Positive and Negative Breast Cancer Patients: Support for Using Salivary Protein Profiles for Modeling Cancer Progression.”