Current Research Activities

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AdoptThe ADOPT study aims to reduce unnecessary opioid prescriptions after tooth extraction by 18 percent in four years. Learn more here. College of Dentistry team members include Drs. Marcia Rojas-Ramirez, Enif Dominguez-Fernandez, and Craig Miller

  • Dr. Oelisoa Andriankaja’s UK Igniting Research Collaborations (IRC) proposal was one of 15 proposals selected for funding. IRC funding seeks to increase interdisciplinary scientific engagement and leverage the breadth of expertise across UK to tackle important problems in the Commonwealth. Andriankaja partnered with College of Pharmacy faculty and was awarded $35,000 to support research on “Mechanisms of anti-Porphyromonas gingivalis activity of statins.”
  • Dr. Ian Boggero will receive $640,443 over five years through a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Career Development Award. Funds will support research efforts on “Initial Evidence for a Brief Psychological Telehealth Intervention for Patients with Chronic Masticatory Muscle Pain." The effort aims to develop novel brief psychological interventions for the management of chronic orofacial pain, and provides training for Boggero to establish a line of independent research.
  • Dr. Octavio Gonzalez continues work on “Role of Notch-1/PLA2-IIA in Oral Dysbiosis, Inflammation, and Periodon­tal Disease.” This effort aims to provide new opportunities for the development of innovative approaches to prevent and treat periodontal disease and its potential adverse effects in systemic health. Funding is being provided by the NIH ($2.7M over five years).
  • Dr. Marcia Rojas Ramirez received NIH funding ($1.356M over two years) to study "Understanding the Association between Sublingual Buprenorphine and Oral Health Outcomes." Sublingual (SL) buprenorphine is the most common medication used to treat opioid use disorder, however, FDA data suggests it may be linked to serious oral complications. This effort will examine if and how SL buprenorphine influences the extent, onset, and progression of oral disease in patients with opioid use disorder, and produce data-driven conclusions to improve understanding of potential treatments to reduce the burden of oral disease in those taking SL buprenorphine.
  • Dr. Mauro Santamaria was awarded an UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) Pilot Award for $50,000. The award was given for Santamaria’s study, “Understanding mechanisms of oral mucosa wound healing: A step toward precision therapy for vulnerable populations.” In this study, specific inflammatory markers and the microbiome present during the oral mucosa healing process will be evaluated, and data will be generated for a future NIH grant application.
  • Dr. Luciana Shaddox continues work on the NIH-funded ($6.1M over five years) study, “Susceptibility Patterns for Grade C Periodontitis in Young Individuals.” Aggressive periodontitis, Grade C periodontitis (C/MIP), is a rapidly progressive form of periodontitis affecting young individuals at an early age, usually aggregating in families of lower social economic background. The factors that render affected individuals to C/MIP disease are yet to be clearly identified, which affects the proper control of this aggressive disease. This multi-center study aims to gather clearly-defined cases of Grade C periodontitis (C/MIP) to evaluate genetic susceptibility variants.
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