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Arany, Praveen D.D.S., Ph.D.

Faculty Research Profile

Assistant Professor, Department of Oral Biology

B36A Foster Hall

Buffalo, NY 14214

(716)829-3479 

prarany@buffalo.edu 

Dr. Arany’s lab, Oral Biology

Research Motivation
The major research question in the Arany lab is to explore biological regulation and utilize this knowledge to control clinical outcomes through novel technologies. As a model biological process, his lab focuses on the process of wound healing and tissue regeneration. Tumors have been compared to non-healing wounds while tissue regeneration, an ideal outcome of the wound healing responses, has been suggested to recapitulate embryonic development. Thus, wound healing process offers a fascinating dichotomy to study biological regulation where early phases involve significant proliferation, migration and de-differentiation of cells simulating the uncontrolled, haphazard processes evident in malignancies. While the latter healing phases involve differentiation, remodeling and reorganization simulating the exquisite, controlled biological events during development. 

Research Approach
His lab utilizes a wide range of model systems and techniques to modulate the healing process and elucidate underlying molecular regulatory mechanisms. In one such approach, the use of low dose laser treatments have shown to promote wound healing and tissue regeneration and this process has been termed low level laser/light therapy (LLLT) or Photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy. The central role of sunlight-Vitamin D metabolism in skin, photoreception transduction pathway in retinal vision and effects on circadian rhythm all highlight the increasing attention of how light can affect human health. High power lasers are key surgical tools used routinely in medicine and dentistry today. 

The significant technological advancements in photonics and optics are being actively explored in their biological applications in both laboratory and clinical settings such as spectroscopy, optical imaging and optogenetics. A major commonality in all these technologies is the emphasis is a fundamental appreciation of photonic interaction with biological tissues. PBM therapy utilizes low doses of laser or LED illumination in a non-thermal process to alleviate pain or inflammation, modulate the immune response and promote wound healing and tissue regeneration. Although this form of therapy has been around for over 60 years, a major barrier to its routine clinical use has been a lack of understanding of its molecular mechanisms. Dr. Arany’s initial studies focused on recapitulating the reported wound promoting effects of lasers in human clinical study with oral wounds following tooth extractions. In this study, they noted an increased expression of a pivotal growth factor, Transforming Growth Factor-ß1 (TGF-ß1). 

TGF-ß is a multi-faceted growth factor with key roles in development, wound healing, infections, diseases and malignancies. It has potent effects on many cell types and acts in a context-dependent manner to mediate many pathophysiological processes, some detrimental while others are therapeutic. Following up on the initial observations, Dr. Arany’s research outlined one of the precise molecular pathways involving low power laser generated reactive oxygen species (ROS) which is sensed by a specific amino acid residue on the latent TGF-ß1 complex and results in its activation. Their research further utilized the ability to non-invasively activate endogenous latent TGF-ß1 to promote oral wound healing and to direct differentiation of stem cells. An innovative clinical dental application of this research recently demonstrated the ability of low power lasers to promote dental and mesenchymal stem cell differentiation and promote dentin regeneration. This has significant clinical implications for dentistry such as in dentin pulp capping and dentin desensitization. 

Some popular press stories
YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOIBmcZkG6g
Podcast:  http://sciencefriday.com/segment/05/30/2014/laser-blast-can-regrow-teeth-in-rats.html

In order to translate these lab research observations to practical human clinical therapy, his recent work has focused on elucidating distinct clinical and molecular biomarkers. Their recent work demonstrated that monitoring surface temperature and a key mediator of endoplasmic reticulum stress, ATF-4 can be utilized as discrete clinical and molecular biomarkers to develop safe and effective clinical therapies with biophotonic devices.

Lab Mission and Future Directions…
Dr. Arany’s lab has primary two missions: pursue human clinical studies to develop innovative, new clinical therapies and concurrently explore molecular mechanisms that synergistically strengthen the clinical focus. His lab uses a wide range of cell and molecular biology tools including 2D tissue culture and 3D scaffold-based model systems to addresses interesting biological questions. A large emphasis is placed on validation of the hypothesis in animal models and working on specific attributes to move them forward into human clinical studies to develop innovative new therapies. 

Opportunities to get involved
If you are a trainee (high school, college, professional or doctoral, post-doctoral): Opportunities are available (starting Spring 2016) for both short and long term lab and clinical research in his group broadly in the area of biomedical technologies, regenerative-stem cell biology, bioengineering and cell signal transduction. Interested candidates are encouraged to email a brief introduction, CV and, preferably, interest in specific project or lab research area.  

If you are faculty / health professional: please email with areas of mutual interest. His lab is keen on developing multidisciplinary collaborations.  

If you are a patient: you are welcome to email queries but there are no current ongoing clinical studies. New studies will be posted here along with details for recruitment.