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 ResearchResearch AreasSaliva and Salivary Glands     July 28, 2014  

Saliva and Salivary Glands

Saliva, produced and secreted by salivary glands, is vitally important for the normal function of healthy human beings. We are investigating function of saliva in health and disease by studying the structure/function relationships of salivary molecules, with a particular emphasis on the antimicrobial proteins/peptides and their mechanism of action (please see also Immunology and Innate Defenses).

The objective of this research is to develop and use these bioactive molecules as novel therapeutic agents (particularly for conventional-drug-resistant fungal infections in immunocompromised individuals, e.g., AIDS and organ transplant patients).

Research dealing with the regulation of salivary gland-specific gene expression (particularly salivary mucins), using in vivo approaches (transgenic mice) and in vitro approaches (primary cells and cell lines), is also conducted.

Saliva as a diagnostic fluid for oral and systemic diseases and its role in dental pellicle, dental plaque, and dental caries is also investigated. Regarding the role of salivary proteins in dental biofilm ("plaque") formation, we are focusing on salivary amylase, the most abundant enzyme in saliva, which binds to several species of amylase-binding streptococci, numerous in plaque. Both in vitro and in vivo models are being utilized and may lead to possible strategies to interrupt plaque formation.

 

DID YOU KNOW >

Mentoring

Every project in a mentorship program has an emphasis on publishing—the “currency” of science—with a view toward high-impact journals 

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Outnumbered

It has been determined that the human body contains more bacteria than cells of its own.

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Bone Loss

The bone loss in periodontal disease is due almost entirely to the exaggerated host immune response elicited to fight oral bacteria.

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Oral and Systemic Disease

Oral biology research at UB has provided provocative evidence that oral diseases such as periodontal disease can contribute to the initiation or progression of such systemic diseases as myocardial infarction, stroke, diabetes mellitus, and pneumonia. 

FACULTY VIEW >

Frank Scannapieco

Professor and Chair

There's quite a diverse group of studies that we're working on. For example, we are now investigating the role of oral health in systemic disease, particularly the effects of oral health on hospital-acquired pneumonia.

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Mira Edgerton

Research Professor

I think as mentors at UB, our approach to scientific thought processes is our strength; we emphasize higher-order reasoning as an essential part of an approach to a problem.

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Libuse Bobek

Professor

Every student has a primary mentor and a committee that is composed of at least three other members of the faculty who guide the students throughout the five or six years of study that it takes.

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Ernesto DeNardin

Professor

The unique thing about our PhD program is that, in most cases, the graduate students are also clinical residents, so they get a unique exposure to both worlds.