American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds Support Important Oral Health Research
June 1, 2009
Boston--Three Forsyth Institute scientists have received National Institutes of Health stimulus funding for their researchthrough the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. These funds totaling $1,881,788 will enable important oral health research. In addition to providing immediate economic benefits to the Boston-based research institute, these awards will help scientists to develop potential therapies for oral diseases which cause pain, financial hardship and long-term systemic health problems for millions of Americans.
The Forsyth scientists, Drs. Nikos Soukos, Floyd Dewhirst and John Bartlett are among the first in the country to receive stimulus funds for their research. These grants from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) will sustain laboratory positions and create new jobs.
Nikos Soukos, DDS, Ph.D., received a two-year award of $531,362.00 for his project “Nanoparticle-based Antimicrobial Photochemotherapy in Biofilms”. The long-term goal of this research is to develop a clinically appropriate way to enhance the penetration and effectiveness of photoactive compounds into human dental plaque by encapsulating them in biodegradable and biocompatible polymeric nanoparticles. When combined with exposure to visible light, this leads to the killing of disease-causing bacteria, in particular those that are responsible for periodontitis (gum disease) which impacts 80% of American adults.
Floyd Dewhirst, DDS, Ph.D., received a two-year grant of $187,189.00 for his work,“A Foundation for the Oral Microbiome and Metagenome”. This genome sequencing research will foster a greater understanding of the several hundred bacteria that live in the human oral cavity. These bacteria can cause tooth decay, periodontal disease and infections elsewhere in the body. These genome sequences will provide a comprehensive list of the genes that disease-causing oral bacteria possess, and will allow scientists to develop better methods for treating and preventing oral and systemic diseases.
John Bartlett, Ph.D., received a two-year grant of $1,163,237.00 for his project, “The Role of ER-stress and pH in Fluorosis”. The overall goal of this project is to define the role of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress responses in dental fluorosis, a condition that results in discolored and/or pitted teeth due to over-exposure to fluoride. This work will identify the genes and molecular pathways that respond to fluoride exposure. If ER-stress plays a major role in dental fluorosis, drug treatments may be available to help prevent fluorosis.
To learn more about the NIH and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act visit:http://www.nih.gov/recovery/index.htm.
The Forsyth Institute is the world’s leading independent organization dedicated to scientific research and education in oral health and related biomedical sciences. Established in 1910, Forsyth’s goal is to lead the discovery, communication and application of breakthroughs in oral health and disease prevention that will significantly improve the health and well-being of the nation and the world. For more information about Forsyth visit its web site at www.forsyth.org.