Student Research Group: Professor Information

Denice Stewart, DDS, MHSA

The Office of Clinical Affairs and Dental Informatics can provide support in obtaining data from the electronic record for use in research projects and in setting up data entry forms in axiUm that can be used for IRB approved research.  It is best to talk with Dr. Stewart early in the process to see if data can be extracted from axiUm for a project.

Agnieszka Balkowiec, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Biosciences

Would be very happy to mentor dental students.

Balkowiec lab is interested in how the nervous system develops and is changed by disease. We study two major health problems: hypertension and trigeminal pain. The latter is highly relevant to dentistry, and dental students who worked in the lab in the past developed several unique research approaches to study dental pain. These include growing trigeminal ganglion neurons in a dish, and a model of tooth pulp inflammation in rats and mice.

Jeffery C. B. Stewart, DDS, MS

Dr. Stewart's research interests include the study of cellular protein expression through the application of immunohistochemical techniques in the study of oral and jaw tumors, immune mediated diseases of oral mucous membranes and oral infectious diseases.  Recent investigations have included immunophenotypic studies of peripheral odontogenic keratocysts, central giant cell lesions, oral granular cell tumors, and oral extranodal lymphomas in order to attempt to elucidate biologic issues such as cell of origin, predictability of clinical aggressiveness, and disease classification schemes.  He is also interested in the study of the clinical-pathologic correlations of fibro-osseous lesions and other non-odontogenic bone pathology of the jaws.  Finally Dr. Stewart is also interested in the conduct of clinical research using data from the axiUm electronic health record and has been involved in the development of "toolkit" to facilitate these types of research projects.

Wael Sabbah, BDS, DDPH, MSc, PhD

I am mostly involved in population-based research. My research interest is in the social determinants of oral health, disparities in health and use of services, and the correlation between oral and general health.  I am currently working in a number of projects to examine the association between oral health and mortality, cognitive ability and osteoporosis, and socioeconomic disparities in oral health among older Americans. I am willing to mentor students who are interested in oral epidemiology and population-based research.

David B. Morton, PhD

The Morton lab uses the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as a powerful genetic model organism to investigate signaling pathways in the nervous system. There are two primary projects currently underway in the lab –the first investigates cyclic GMP signaling, which is a universal signaling pathway present in virtually all organisms. The second seeks to understand basic mechanisms that underlie the onset and progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Curt Machida, PhD
Professor, Integrative Biosciences and Pediatric Dentistry

Dental caries represents one of the most common chronic diseases affecting young children in the United States and in the world, and is a multi-factorial disease involving complex interactions of genetic, dietary, environmental, behavioral and microbial risk factors. We propose to understand the factors affecting the genetic diversity and potential selection of strains of cariogenic microorganisms following caries restorative therapy in children. Our published studies have identified 39 mutans streptococci (MS) genetic strains, and have found that caries restorative therapy in some patients results in population shifts to highly acidogenic or acid-tolerant MS strains, with single dominant MS strains appearing at 1-year post-therapy. We propose to develop a standardized genetic database of natural strain variants of MS with defined cariogenic phenotypes that may serve as predictive identifiers for dental caries and treatment outcomes. The coexistence and concurrent virulence of distinct MS genotypes in individuals may serve as important determinants for increased caries incidence, as well as treatment success or failure. My laboratory has sponsored over 40 dental specialty residents and dental students in research during the past four years, including six current second-year students, and represents a multi-departmental collaboration between Integrative Biosciences and Pediatric Dentistry. We anticipate new program opportunities for students during the 2012-13 academic year.

Jennifer Crowe, DDS, MS, Predoctoral Director, Orthodontic Department

Current research projects include:

·Digitizing Oregon Child Study Clinic, dental students needed help archive radiographs

·Comparisons of multiple orthodontic techniques for treatment of skeletal discrepancies (retrospective studies), dental students needed to assist orthodontic residents

·Cone beam accuracy study, dental students needed to assist orthodontic residents

David A. Covell, Jr., DDS, PhD, Associate Professor and Chair Department of Orthodontics

Assistance from a dental student would likely be possible:

·Assessment of the reliability of cone beam computed tomography in measuring alveolar bone height and in identifying the presence of bony defects (MS project by resident Megan Miller; collaborative project between orthodontics and periodontology)

·Accuracy of a 3-dimensional model scanner for use in orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning (MS project of resident Scott Cardall; using an Ortho Insight 3D Scanner)

·Treatment effects of the Forsus Appliance (a fixed-functional appliance) for Angle Class II correction (MS project of resident David Moradi; will be measuring records obtained from a large private practice)

·Archiving records of an untreated longitudinal sample from the Oregon Child Study Clinic (contributing records to a national database for use in studies of dental and craniofacial growth and development or for treatment controls- involves scanning of radiographs from the archived collection)

Michael Danilchik, PhD

Availability: always happy to provide technical support for student projects!

My research is focused on very basic cell biology: how cells use the machinery of cell division (their membranes and cytoskeleton) to form tissues, carry out morphogenesis and wound healing. Most of my work focuses on early development, but the molecular tools, optical gear, and techniques we have in my lab can readily be applied to problems of more immediate concern in oral health: how do epithelial cells respond to open wounds? what kinds of artificial surfaces support osteoblasts engaged in osseointegration? How is the extracellular matrix modified during mineralization? How do biofilms respond to various agents?

Carmem S. Pfeifer, DDS, PhD, Assistant Professor Biomaterials and Biomechanics

I have had a very positive experience working with dental students so far, so I would be thrilled to recruit as much help as I can from you guys.

1. Improved dental adhesives using vitamin B2 as a collagen crosslinker to reinforce the dental substrate

2. Evaluation of polymer network formation using fluorescent switching probes (this is a fundamental study to understand how the monomers rearrange to form polymers used in dental materials)

3. Nanostructured polymeric material for controlled degradation/drug release targeted at periodontal regeneration

4. Design of new monomers as low stress, degradation-resistant alternatives in dental composites

Mark Engelstad DDS, MD, MHI

I am currently working on a couple of projects (and each involves a dental student) and, with my other duties, its about all I can handle for the moment.  As the year progresses, I'll have more opportunity/ opening and will begin newer projects where I will be welcoming student involvement.

·Imaging Informatics.  Using CT data to diagnose jaw tumors (before biopsy).  

·General (dental/ craniofacial) informatics.  This is a wide area of study that could take many shapes/ forms involving things like structured information, use of information, human-computer interaction, electronic health records, etc.