School of Dentistry

Research Domains

Photo of scientist pipetting

Biomaterials, tissue engineering and regeneration

Scientists at OHSU School of Dentistry are studying the synthesis and development of new biomaterials for the replacement of lost or damaged oral tissues. This research includes the development of new materials for tooth repair, such as resin-based dental adhesives and restoratives having enhanced durability, antimicrobial behavior and remineralizing potential. The team is actively involved in research involving the interaction between dental biomaterials and oral biofilms to produce material solutions with enhanced clinical longevity and performance. Another strategy involves the use of 3D bioprinting of scaffolds containing cells and bioactive molecules for tissue regeneration.

Neuroscience, cell and development biology

In addition to research focused directly on issues of oral health, there is a significant research focus on basic biomedical research questions, in particular in neuroscience, cell and developmental biology. OHSU School of Dentistry scientists have research programs that explore the mechanisms underlying pain, neurodegeneration, cell fate specification, morphogenesis and cell signaling. These areas of research impact all aspects of human health and disease, including, but not limited to, oral health and biology.

Oral microbiology and immunology

Research in the Oral Microbiology and Immunology domain at OHSU School of Dentistry is focused upon the genetics, ecology, and host responses to the oral microbiome in both health and disease. This includes fundamental molecular microbiology studies of both commensal and pathogenic oral microbiota as well as the ecological interactions occurring among the microbiome and with the host. Studies of the host response to infection include a focus upon innate immunity and its role in promoting oral diseases. Another research focus within this cluster is concerned with the interface of dental biomaterials and oral biofilms. The goal is to better understand the reciprocal interactions that affect both the integrity of the dental materials and the behavior of the organisms colonizing the surfaces of the materials.

Public health dentistry, education, informatics and clinical research

As the Chair of Community Dentistry, Dr. Eli Schwarz states "Oregon is our laboratory." OHSU School of Dentistry provides outreach and cutting edge technology at on-campus OHSU dental clinics in Portland, and across the far reaches of the state, developing strategic collaborations with rural partners and incorporating teledentistry to ensure that quality oral health care is available for all Oregonians. Community and clinical research endeavors advance knowledge of topics that affect oral health, including nutrition and opioid use. Clinical and community researchers in SOD work in tandem with basic scientists to develop clinical-translational research methods that will have long-lasting effects in the field of dentistry.