Areas of Study
Current research in biomaterials encompasses physical, chemical and biological aspects of ceramic, metal, polymer and composite materials. Research techniques employed include analytical and descriptive spectrometry, analytical electron microscopy, cell culturing, human visual evaluation, mechanical testing, rheology, thermal analysis (including calorimetry and thermomechanical analysis), and x-ray diffractometry.
Cellular and Molecular Biology
A number of program faculty are studying basic molecular or cellular processes or applying cell and molecular techniques to understand a diverse set of biological problems. Among the topics currently being investigated are: the genetics of craniofacial abnormalities, mechanisms of oral infectious diseases, extracellular matrix and hard tissue biogenesis, hormonal regulation, signal transduction, and cancer cell biology.
Investigations in the area of mineralized tissues include the study of function and regulation of bone and the biomechanical and clinical impact of dental and orthopedic implants. Researchers are currently studying bone metabolism and interactions with materials at the molecular, cellular and tissue levels.
Immunology and Inflammation
The research interests of the faculty include signaling, gene expression, recruitment and function of inflammatory/immune cells, the regulation of wound healing, viral immunity, bacterial immunity, neuroendocrine modulation of inflammatory/immune responses, and cancer immunobiology. The investigators in this group have major interactions with other basic science departments on campus and have joint appointments in the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Biochemistry, Neuroscience and the Institute for Behavioral Medicine.
Faculty study microbial communities in the mouth and other mucosal surfaces, using techniques ranging from traditional microbial culturing to state of the art next generation sequencing. Research interests include the contribution of microbial communities to the development of diseases, like carries and periodontitis, as well as to basic physiological processes in the body such as immune system activity. Researchers in this group regularly interact with other basic scientists and clinicians through participation in the Center for Microbial Interface Biology, Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity, and Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at the Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University as well as the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
The College of Dentistry offers specialized studies in neurobiology related to oral function. Faculty research interests include oral sensory function related to taste and pain, oral motor function with respect to development, central pattern generation and unique craniofacial muscle phenotypes, and neuroimmunology.