HomeResearchResearch in the SoDM › Active Projects and Programs
frame image
frame image

Oral Path

Analysis of Postmenopausal Women Using Bisphosphonate Therapy

Leena Palomo, DDS - Principal Investigator

The aim of this project is to compare pro-inflammatory cytokine response and microbiota between postmenopausal women who use bisphosphonate therapy for prevention and treatment of osteoporosis with those who do not.


Oral Path

Center for Excellence in Immunobiology

Aaron Weinberg, DDS, PhD - Principal Investigator

Funding to establish a Center for Excellence in Immunobiology. The funds have been used to hire two outstanding research faculty members, Drs. Fengchun Ye and Pushpa Pandiyan.


Oral Path

Comparative Genomics Studies of Fusobacterium Nucleatum to Identify Genes Unique for Causing Intrauterine Infection

Yiping Han, PhD - Principal Investigator


Oral Path

Correlation of Primary Implant Stability with Cone Beam Computed Tomography Analysis in a Bovine Mandibular Bone Model

Russell Wang, DDS, MSD - Principal Investigator

The long-term success of dental implants in various clinical situations depends to a large extent on the quality of the implant and bone bond. The aim of the present study is to quantitatively analyze the interrelationship among variables of 1. cortical thickness of bone; 2. % distribution of trabecular bone; 3. average Housfield units; 4. Thread design; 5. Implant surface area on the primary implant stability, which will be measured by implant insertion torque, implant displacement, resonance frequency analysis and histomorphometric analysis.


Oral Path

Craniofacial Initiatives in the School of Dental Medicine

Jerold Goldberg - Principal Investigator

Craniofacial abnormalities, previously understood as cleft lip and palate, are among the most common birth defects, yet standardization of related research and treatment does not exist. Consistent best practices need to be developed for everyone involved with providing craniofacial treatment. Likewise, standardized resources must be provided for easing the physical and psychological challenges that families and patients confront during the course of treatment. The university has embarked on a three-part initiative: 1) to provide support for a project manager to convene a craniofacial abnormality leadership summit that will determine the feasibility of standardizing research and treatment methods; 2) to increase marketing of the Craniofacial Fellowship Program by hosting a symposium for healthcare professionals, printing promotional materials, and launching a website; and 3) to offer release time for an oral surgery faculty member to create a craniofacial curriculum for dental residents.


Oral Path

Dentistry Includes Nutrition Reminders

Catherine Demko, PhD - Principal Investigator

Dentistry critically needs effective, office-based counseling interventions to encourage patients to adopt healthy behaviors for both oral and general health. Efforts to deliver effective brief advice and counseling on healthy eating habits in the dental setting could benefit both a patient’s oral health and general health if dietary habits can be improved. Currently, these types of interventions do not exist. Frequent consumption of sweetened foods and beverages are associated with caries risk. Adolescents are frequent consumers of sweetened beverages (SB), and sports drinks are emerging as a major type of SB. Therefore, this intervention targets the reduction of sweetened beverage consumption among adolescents 11-17 years old.


Oral Path

DMD and Master's in Clinical Research Training Dual Degree Program

Suchitra Nelson, PhD - Principal Investigator

The long-term goal of this joint DMD and Master's in Clinical Research Training (DMD-MCRT) program is to train dentist scholars capable of conducting clinical and translational research that focus on investigating oral health problems at the individual, family, and community levels. A unique training program has been proposed that utilizes the NIH road map initiatives to prepare the dentists to function in interdisciplinary research teams of the future.


Oral Path

Family Intervention with Caregivers of Children with Urgent Dental Needs

Suchitra Nelson, PhD - Principal Investigator

The study addresses an innovative behavioral approach to the referral process never attempted before to address three caregiver issues – (1) importance of caries-free baby teeth for protection of permanent teeth (2) viewing dental caries as a chronic disease rather than acute or episodic; and (3) navigation of resources for dental care access. This behavioral approach also has the potential to change the public health standard of practice for school screening programs required by law in many states.


Oral Path

Fusobacterial Associated Beta Defensin Inducer

Aaron Weinberg, DMD, PhD - Principal Investigator

Conventional antibiotics are losing the battle against infectious microbes and secondary infections from medical procedures. Through our research focusing on the body’s own antibiotics; i.e., antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), we have identified an agent from a common bacterium found in the human mouth that promotes the release of these AMPs from cells that make up the linings of our body, resulting in protection from harmful bacterial invasion. We propose to study this agent in order to determine if it can be used to bolster the body’s own defenses against bad organisms, resulting in fewer infections and improved healing.


Oral Path

Geriatric Dentistry Mobile Unit Pilot Program

Marco Rouman and James Lalumandier - Principal Investigators

Oral health problems are at a crisis level nationally, affecting people of all ages but worsening later in life; and the populations with the greatest need for dental treatment have the least access (Vermont Senator Bernard Sanders, “Dental Crisis in America: The Need to Expand Access”). Older adults living in continuing care communities, in particular, experience significant barriers preventing them from receiving adequate dental care. The largest factors include (1) the lack of transportation; (2) the absence of dedicated dental operatories in 90 percent of facilities; (3) limited access to traditional insurance among older adults.


Oral Path

Healthy Smiles Sealant Program - Changing Oral Health in Cleveland's Children

James Lalumandier, DDS, MPH - Principal Investigator

The mission of the Healthy Smiles Sealant Program is to reduce disparities in oral health care for underserved school children in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the second largest school district in Ohio. To achieve this mission, temporary clinics are set up at each CMSD elementary school, where pre-doctoral dental students perform dental exams and apply sealants to children in grades 2, 3 and 6. Children have cavity-free teeth sealed and those with cavities are referred to a community dentist or a safety-net provider for further treatment. Prior to treatment, health educators visit the schools to teach children about general health care, oral health care, and nutritional health. Lesson plans for teachers are provided monthly to reinforce the message conveyed by the health educators. During the 2010-2011 school year, the Sealant Program visited all 76 CMSD schools and treated over 5,300 children with 16,000 sealants.


Oral Path

Image Guided New Biomaterials for Dental Restorations

Russell Wang, DDS, MSD - Principal Investigator

The objective of our research is to develop a new class of functional biomaterials as well as to improve clinical image tools to fabricate complex forms and shapes of dental restorations. This research is highly translational and can lead to patentable results. There are three phases of the project: (1). development of new biomaterials; (2). new image tool design, and (3). animal and human clinical testing. The combined effort of CWRU Dental, Engineering, and Medical Schools would open a new path for advancing image technology and to new biomaterials for clinical dental and orthopedic applications.


Oral Path

Immune and Inflammatory Consequences of Intensive Periodontal Treatment in HIV-Infected Adults

Lance T. Vernon, DMD, MPH - Principal Investigator

In this study, the investigators hope to discover whether treating gum disease can lower an HIV-infected person's risks for heart disease to learn specific details about how the immune system contributes to the risk for heart disease.


Oral Path

Innate Immunity and Oral Carcinogenesis

Ge Jin, PhD - Principal Investigator

Local immune cells are deeply involved in tumor initiation, promotion and progression. While certain immune cells, such as T cells and natural killer (NK) cells, are able to eradicate tumor cells, their antitumor activities are often compromised by accumulation of other immune cells, particularly tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), in the tumor microenvironment. This proposed research will use cell-based assays and mouse models to investigate how tumor cell-produced human β-defensin-3, an antimicrobial peptide of the innate immune system, participates in the process promoting accumulation and activation of TAMs in the tumor site. This proposed research will aid in identification of biomarkers of oral cancer and potential drug targets for treatment.


Oral Path

Investigation of FadA adhesin from Fusobacterium nucleatum

Yiping W. Han, PhD - Principal Investigator

This study is an in-depth investigation of the novel FadA adhesin from oral bacterium Fusobacterium nucleatum, which is associated with periodontal disease and pre-term birth.


Oral Path

Longitudinal Studies of Dental Caries in Very Low Birthweight Children

Suchitra Nelson, PhD - Principal Investigator

This longitudinal study addresses the relationship between birth weight and early childhood caries (ECC) in a cohort of pre-term very low birth weight (VLBW) and full-term normal birth weight infants. VLBW and ECC disproportionately affects poor and minority children costing Medicaid billions of dollars annually for treatment. The improved survival of VLBW children has resulted in greater long-term disabilities and need for health services, thus classifying them as children with special health care needs. The oral health needs of VLBW children have not been adequately studied. VLBW children are known to have a high prevalence of enamel defects in the primary dentition, which in turn can lead to increased susceptibility to ECC.


Oral Path

MEDTAPP Healthcare Access Initiative

Catherine Demko, PhD - Principal Investigator

The project aims to create a customized curriculum for new MEDTAPP (Medicaid Technical Assistance Policy Program) dental scholars that will include training in cultural sensitivity and competency for serving the Medicaid population, promoting and teaching the inter-disciplinary Smiles for Life curriculum in the community health clinic setting to engage non-dental providers in oral health activities, and training for quality improvement projects in oral healthcare. The MEDTAPP project also supports the training and placement of an oral health patient navigator (OHPN) to assist Medicaid families from area sealant programs to obtain referral care and establish a dental home.


Oral Path

Optimization of Insertion Torque for Primary Dental Implant Stability

Russell Wang, DDS, MSD - Principal Investigator

Primary implant stability is a prerequisite for implant survival, an important issue for clinicians. Correlation of insertion torque and bone quality has been reported. Systematic studies on optimization of implant insertion torque are lacking. The measure of bone quality using average Hounsfield unit in implant literature is misleading. Specific aims of the proposal are: to establish a power or linear regression relationship between the Hounsfield unit (HU) and modulus of elasticity of bone (MOE); to study relative contributions of implant insertion torque (IIT) by cortical and trabecular components of bone; and to use our 3D analytic models and computer simulation to study various conditions such as drill diameters and drill depths of various operation conditions that would optimize insertion torque values, particularly for poor quality bones. Our long-term goal is develop a predictive model using a series of experiments and theoretical models to test the predictive power of the algorithm. This project will provide basic information for clinicians to improve primary implant stability.


Oral Path

Oral Mucosal Immunity in Vulnerable HIV-Infected Populations

Aaron Weinberg, DMD, PhD - Principal Investigator

The central hypothesis is that alterations in innate defense mechanisms determine susceptibility to oral complications following HIV infection. Previous research has discovered that oral epithelial cell-derived beta defensins can (1) be induced by HIV, (2) inhibit the ability of the virus to infect immunocompetent cells and (3) interact with specific chemokine and toll-like receptors resulting in regulation of adaptive immune cells. Moreover, chronic HIV infection and/or highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) predisposes the oral mucosae to both cellular and innate immune impairment. Interestingly, amongst the repertoire of innate immune molecules, human beta defensins (hBDs) are unique, as copy number variations have only been reported for the beta defensin gene cluster; possibly explaining the interpersonal variability in hBD expression levels.


Oral Path

Postdoctoral Training in General, Pediatric, and Public Health Dentistry and Dental Hygiene

Sena Narendran, PhD - Principal Investigator

The residency program consists of three modules/tracts: i) one-year fulltime for dentists with a master’s degree in public health (MPH) or equivalent, ii) two-year full-time for dentists without an MPH degree or equivalent; this cohort will complete the accredited MPH program at the CWRU Medical School during the first year of the program, and iii) two-year part-time for dentists with a MPH or equivalent. All trainees except the residents in the two-year part-time program will be full-time.


Oral Path

Predoctoral Training in General, Pediatric, and Public Health Dentistry and Dental Hygiene

Sena Narendran, PhD - Principal Investigator

The goal of the program is to provide additional trainign to dental students. The predoctoral training consists of two components: (1) a combined Doctor of Dental Medicine/Master’s in Public Health (DMD/MPH) degree program through which dental students can earn an MPH degree in addition to the DMD, and (2) the Family First program, where second year dental students will learn to assess risk for certain oral diseases in underserved populations, supplemented by small group seminars on population health, cultural competency, health literacy, risk assessment, and oral-systemic health links.


Oral Path

Sisters of Charity of Canton Evaluation Project

Catherine Demko, PhD - Principal Investigator

Evaluation services of the Bethlehem Project for Oral Health.


CWRU School of Dental Medicine     2124 Cornell Road     Cleveland, OH 44106-4905     216.368.3200