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The Dental Investigator Fall 2017

In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. It is very likely that fresh cranberries were on the menu providing the feasters with some level of oral healthcare over the course of the three day party

Cranberries contain a type of polyphenol called proanthocyanidins, these prevent bacteria from binding to one another.  Could these compounds have an effect on oral plaque, after all that’s what a biofilm is, bacteria sticking to each other. In fact cranberry juice has been shown to prevent plaque . By inhibiting the production of the complex sugars that bacteria use to stick to one another and to surfaces in the mouth cranberries can reduce the amount of plaque by up to 95%. It also makes it harder for the bacteria to make acid, so bacteria won’t do as much damage to enamel. It only takes a reasonable dose of cranberry juice to produce significant impact. One study showed that a beverage containing just 25% cranberry juice actually reduce plaque formation by 67-85%.

As you drink your cranberry juice (sugar free) this thanksgiving spare a thought for the Wampanoag.  From 1615 to 1619, they suffered a smallpox epidemic, with the loss of life. Then about 50 years later, the King Philip's War of Indian allies against the English colonists resulted in the deaths of 40 percent of the surviving tribe. Most of the remaining male Wampanoag were sold into slavery in Bermuda or the West Indies. Many women and children were enslaved by colonists in New England. While the tribe largely disappeared from historical records from the late 18th century, its people and descendants persisted. The last native speakers of Wôpanâak, died more than 100 years ago but efforts have been made over recent decades to revive the language and the culture.

Fall is also the deadline for many of our internal grants and fellowships. Make sure you submit your proposals on time, see deadlines below. Remember you can submit to the Dental Research Fund and the Dental Innovation Fund every month.

If you have any research news that you would like to share please send it to sodresearch@vcu.edu

Important Dates for School Funding Opportunities

AD Williams Student Research Fellowships  Nov. 24, 2017

Please note there have been minor changes to the AD Williams application form

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Alexander Fellowships Dec. 1, 2017

The Alexander Felloships provide funds for a limited number of outstanding residents research projects each year

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Dental Innovation Fund last Friday of the month at 5pm.

The Dental Innovation Program supports the development of commercial technologies emerging from the School of Dentistry. It is intended to help faculty, residents and students progress their ideas from a laboratory or clinical concept to a proof of principle. The program will fund projects with commercialization potential.

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Dental Research Fund. last Friday of the month at 5pm.

The Dental Research Fund supports faculty in developing new research programs that have not been previously funded. Priority will be given to collaborative grants. We are especially interested in applications from clinical faculty. Grants will be awarded to high quality research that has the potential to develop into an independent research program.

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Register for research selective

DENS 604

If you are interested in doing some research when your here register for DENS 604. This course runs in the spring semester and gives you the opportunity to learn a little bit more about different types of research. You will also get to meet some of he faculty who are looking for  students to help them in their projects. The course runs over lunch.

DENS 606

If you are currently doing research either as an AD Williams fellow or an upnpaid volunteer you may register for DENS 606. This is a variable credit course ranging from 0.5 to 2 credits. (3 hours of research is the equivalent of 1 credit). To complete the course you must write an abstract on your research.

For more information or to enroll in these courses please contact Dr Tufekci etufekci@vcu.edu or Dr Loughran oloughran@vcu.edu 

Welcome Chris, Li M.S., M.D.

Dr. Chris Li, recently joined the Philips Institute from the University of Buffalo. Dr Li  is interested in spirochetes as agents of disease. Treponema denticola, (Td), is associated with the incidence and severity of periodontal disease and elevated Td in the mouth is considered one of the main etiological agents of periodontitis. Dr. Li's’ research looks at virulence factors of Td as well as new genetic tools for studying Td pathophysiology. Other areas of research include elucidating the role of neuraminidase in the pathophysiology of P. gingivalis another causative agent of periodontal disease. Dr. Li is also interested in Lyme disease which is  caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi.


Dental Research Grant Awarded to Dr. Shillpa Naavaal

Dr. Shillpa Naavaal is a member of the Oral Health Services Research Core in the Philips Institute. She was awarded a research grant for her study entitled 'Using electronic dental records to examine prevalence of tobacco use among patients and rate of tobacco screening among providers.' Examining the prevalence of tobacco use among the dental school patient population could help to formulate better treatment polices and quality assurance for improved outcomes, as well as inform both training needs for providers related to tobacco cessation counseling and policy needs at the institution to improve oral health outcomes among the patient population. This project will also be a first step to inventory the tobacco cessation practices and how are they utilized in the clinics and in the patient’s charts.


Recent External Grants

Dr. Kyung-a Song,

“A protein synthesis switch underlies initial survival to EGFR inhibitors”

Two year Massey Cancer Center’s Cancer Research Postdoctoral Fellowship 



New Ph.D. Students

This year we welcomed two new students into our Ph.D. program, Chris Pham and Richard Kurupi. Chris originally had plans to go to dental school but when he was introduced to research in Dr. Lewis’s lab while he finished his M.S. degree things changed and he decided a career in research suited him better. Richard has extensive research experience at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in India, the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research Cambridge, MA and Vanderbilt University. They are both doing laboratory rotations trying to find their research home before  they commence their dissertation research
From left to right are Dean Sarrett, Richard Kurupi, Erin Mooney, Chris Pham, Apurva Tadimari Prabhaker, and Tanya Puccio.


Seminars are held in Lyons 424 at12:00 pm 

Nov 15  Elizabeth White, 'Human papillomavirus-host cell interactions and cancer'  Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Nov 28 Tanya Puccio, 'Characterization of a putative novel manganese transport protein in Streptococcus sanguinis Dr. Kitten’s lab  and                                               Erin Mooney, Dr. Sahingur’s lab  

Dec 6   Indranil Biswas 'Interactions Among the Oral Streptococci: Role of peptides in the communications'  Professor, University of Kansas Medical Center          

2018 IADR Meeting – Call for Abstracts and Proposals

Save the date for the 96th General Session of the IADR in London England. This will be held in conjunction with the IADR Pan European Regional Congress.  Don’t miss this opportunity to present your cutting-edge scientific discoveries!

Learn more >>

Session proposals include symposia, hands-on workshops, lunch & learning sessions and satellite symposia.   Learn more >>

Session Proposal Submission Deadline: November 15  2017
Abstract Submission Deadline: February 2  2018


NIDCR Envisioning the Future 2030: Your chance to particpate

NIDCR is pleased to announce the completion of the NIDCR 2030 review phase. All idea submissions were evaluated by a diverse group of subject matter experts and used to develop recommendations for next steps and priority topic areas. Related ideas were clustered into topic areas or themes, and elements collected from these themes selected for future research and training activities.

You can view ideas and comments or add your own  Topicsthemes are Oral Health and Overall Health, Precision Health, Autotherapies, Oral Biodevices  and Workforce diversity.

Make your opinion count

Learn more>>


Recent Publications from the School of Dentistry

Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition antagonizes response to targeted therapies in lung cancer by suppressing BIM. Song KA, Niederst MJ, Lochmann TL, Hata AN, Kitai H, Ham J, Floros KV, Hicks MA, Hu H, Mulvey HE, Drier Y, Heisey DAR, Hughes MT, Patel NU, Lockerman E, Garcia AR, Gillepsie S, Archibald HL, Gomez-Caraballo M, Nulton TJ, Windle B, Piotrowska Z, Sahingur SE, Taylor SM, Dozmorov MG, Sequist LV, Bernstein BE, Ebi H, Engelman JA, Faber AC.
Clin Cancer Res. 2017 Oct 19

Why Human Papillomaviruses Activate the DNA Damage Response (DDR) and How Cellular and Viral Replication Persists in the Presence of DDR Signaling. Bristol ML, Das D, Morgan IM. Viruses. 2017 Sep 21;9(10)

Amixicile, a novel strategy for targeting oral anaerobic pathogens. Hutcherson JA, Sinclair KM, Belvin BR, Gui Q, Hoffman PS, Lewis JP. Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 5;7(1):10474

Integration of Human Papillomavirus Genomes in Head and Neck Cancer: Is It Time to Consider a Paradigm Shift? Morgan IM, DiNardo LJ, Windle B. Viruses. 2017 Aug 3;9(8). pii: E208

Increasing popularity of waterpipe tobacco smoking and electronic cigarette use: Implications for oral healthcare. Ramôa CP, Eissenberg T, Sahingur SE. J Periodontal Res. 2017 Oct;52(5):813-82

Why Human Papillomaviruses Activate the DNA Damage Response (DDR) and How Cellular and Viral Replication Persists in the Presence of DDR Signaling. Bristol ML, Das D, Morgan IM.Viruses. 2017 Sep 21;9(10).

Dental Emergency Practice Characteristics Among North Carolina Pediatric and General Dentists. Brecher EA, Keels MA, Quiñonez RB, Roberts MW, Bordley WC. Pediatr Dent. 2017 Mar 15;39(2):111-117.

Involvement of signal peptidase I in Streptococcus sanguinis biofilm formation. Aynapudi J, El-Rami F, Ge X, Stone V, Zhu B, Kitten T, Xu P. Microbiology. 2017 Sep;163(9):1306-131

How Accurate Are Implant Surgical Guides Produced With Desktop Stereolithographic 3-Dimentional Printers?
Deeb GR, Allen RK, Hall VP, Whitley D 3rd, Laskin DM, Bencharit S. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2017 Aug 5. pii: S0278-2391(17)31019-4

Increased expression of toll-like receptors 2 and 9 is associated with reduced DNA methylation in spontaneous preterm labor.
Walsh SW, Chumble AA, Washington SL, Archer KJ, Sahingur SE, Strauss JF 3rd.
J Reprod Immunol. 2017 Jun;121:35-41.