Current Research Studies

Click on an area below to view study information.

Human and Clinical Research Studies

Clinical research happens throughout our college, potentially wherever a dental care provider and patient interact. Study volunteers are always needed and some projects may reimburse subjects for time and travel or defray the cost of dental care. Below are our current clinical projects, please contact study personnel for more details.

Establishing the Effectiveness of BBTI vs. PSR on Sleep and Pain Parameters in Adults with Musculoskeletal Orofacial Pain
Principal Investigator: Ian Boggero (Mentor); Linda Sangalli
Sponsor: American Academy of Orofacial Pain
Project Goals: The aim of this study is to establish the efficacy of PSR and BBTI delivered via telehealth on self-report pain intensity, sleep quality, and overall quality of life in patients with chronic MSK-OR. It is hypothesized that both interventions delivered via telehealth will produce beneficial changes on these outcomes. Further, no study to date has compared whether targeting sleep or targeting pain is a better clinical approach for the psychological management of MSK-OR patients. An exploratory secondary aim is to establish which intervention (BBTI vs. PSR) is more effective for each of the three outcomes.

My Choice Kentucky: Making Decisions in Dental Care
Principal Investigator: Laura Butler (Interdisciplinary Human Development), Co-Investigators: Marcia Rojas Ramirez (College of Dentistry), Jacqueline Kearnes (Interdisciplinary Human Development)
Sponsor: WITH Foundation
Project Goals: We propose to create materials that will enhance the dental care of people with IDD who use AAC. These materials will include a video(s) as well as a symbol set(s) that will improve communication and understanding for all parties- AAC users, their supporters and dental professional. Additionally, the materials will facilitate the use of SDM in dental care.

Quality and quantity of bone regeneration in maxillary sinus using Osteocel, radiographic and histomorphometric randomized controlled clinical study
Principal Investigator: Ahmad Kutkut
Sponsor: Implant Dentistry Research and Education Foundation
Project Goals: The purpose of this study is to histologically and radiographically evaluate the maxillary sinus bone volume and density, with reference to percentage of vital bone present, after 4 months of grafting with either Osteocel plus or a cortical-cancellous allograft.

Risk Factors Associated with the Prevalence of Peri-Implantitis Disease
Co-Principal Investigator: Luciana Shaddox 
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Project Goals: This project, led by Dr. Luciana Shaddox along with Co-Principal Investigators from the University of Florida Josephine Esquivel-Upshaw, DMD and Fan Ren PhD, will test the central hypothesis that there are unique etiologic bacteria, patient specific, local and material-related factors which influence the occurrence of peri-implant diseases. While dental implant therapy is becoming the standard of care for the replacement of missing teeth ahead of fixed and removable prostheses, dental implants are susceptible to peri-implantitis and peri-mucositis, which are diseases of the supporting structures of the implant. During this study the research team will evaluate peri-implant and periodontal microbiota and local and environmental factors in individuals with and without peri-implant disease. This work could lead to the formulation of treatment strategies to minimize the incidence or further progression of this disease which can lead to loss of the implant and prosthesis. The study is currently recruiting member participants through the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN).

Basic Science Research

Lab research generally involves experiments conducted in a laboratory where researchers look to explore and understand the interaction and relationship between various materials or biological matter and/or involve computational analyses. Projects typically do not involve oral health patients directly. Below are our current lab projects, please contact study personnel for more details. 

Role of Notch-1/PLA2-IIA in Oral Dysbiosis, Inflammation, and Periodontal Disease
Principal Investigator: Octavio Gonzalez ((College of Dentistry)
Co-Investigator: Arnold Stromberg, PhD (College of Arts and Sciences)
Sponsor: National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research
Project Goals: The goal of the project is to (i) To determine the role of PLA2-IIA in Pg-induced oral dysbiosis, inflammation and periodontal disease, (ii) To determine the role of epithelial Notch-1 in Pg-induced PLA2-IIA and periodontitis, and (iii) To identify and validate oral epithelial innate responses modulated by Pg through Notch-1 activation.

Health Services Research

This research seeks to identify and understand the oral health needs of Kentuckians. Funding for Health Services Research covers the costs of dental care providers and assisting staff needed to provide oral care treatment and preventative services to children in underserved areas and for some uninsured adults.

Countermeasure Activities to Support Empowerment of Youth (Casey) Health
Principal Investigator: Drs. Julie Plasencia (College of Agriculture, Food and Environment); Craig Miller (College of Dentistry); Audrey Darville (College of Nursing); Angela Grubbs (College of Nursing); and Charles Carlson (College of Arts and Sciences)
Sponsor: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Project Goals: A diverse team of clinicians will develop and coordinate a program that empowers children, 8-12 years old, by communicating evidenced-based science, in an interactive format, to make healthy decisions. With the involvement of school officials, community members, education experts and local stakeholders, the team’s goal is to develop a freely available, 10-lesson curriculum that targets healthy decision-making, meets Kentucky Academic Standards and is used statewide.  The curriculum will cover five elements of health, including:  preventing illness/injuries and risky behaviors, emphasizing the importance of oral health, abstaining from all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), eating healthy/nutritious foods and emphasizing the importance of physical activity.

Eradicate Oral Cancer in Eastern Kentucky
Principal Investigator: Melvyn Yeoh
Sponsor: United Health Foundation
Project Goals: The grant was awarded to tackle the high prevalence of oral cancer in Harlan, Letcher and Pike counties in Eastern Kentucky, as well as address the lack of access to local health care providers who specialize in oral cancer treatment. The three-year grant allows UKCD to lead an integrated outreach and care program delivered to local residents through their local health departments. Will raise public awareness of the symptoms of oral cancer and its links to heavy alcohol and tobacco use, provide approximately 1,000 oral cancer screenings at local health departments, and help connect patients who need additional care to cancer specialists in Lexington. 

Kid Smile
Principal Investigator: Pam VanArsdall
Sponsor: KY Cabinet for Health and Family Services
Project Goals: Funds to purchase materials necessary for the KIDS Smile Program in Kentucky’s local health departments and the Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs (CCSHCN)

Mobile Dental Outreach
Principal Investigator: Pam VanArsdall
Sponsor: KY Cabinet for Health and Family Services
Project Goals: Funding to assist the College of Dentistry to provide dental services thru the Dental Public Health mobile van program to underserved populations of Kentucky.

Smiling Schools
Principal Investigator: Pam VanArsdall
Sponsor: KY Cabinet for Health and Family Services
Project Goals: Funding to purchase the fluoride varnish supplies to participating health departments and expenses incurred by the UK College of Dentistry to evaluate and perform activities.


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