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Research

Research is an important component in the mission of the College of Dentistry. It is key in the teaching of health sciences students because contributions to the knowledge base as the result of research can be incorporated into the teaching and subsequently applied to patient care. Faculty who participate in research and recognize the importance of research to dentistry illustrate the choice of research as a lifelong career option.

The Office of Research serves as a resource to faculty and students who are involved in or have an interest in research activities. The Office of Research provides advice on grant proposals, seeks new sources of funding for research, and counsels students and faculty on research opportunities. The Office of Research oversees the review of research proposals within the College in several ways. The Office of Research organizes weekly Research Workshops that focus on grantsmanship and other research-related issues. This is viewed as an important addition to the support of research faculty. An internal study section is planned to aid all investigators in improving their success rate in getting grants.

The Office of Research provides financial support for student research projects and for faculty pilot projects via several mechanisms. The Deanís Student Research Fund is dedicated to the support of student research projects. Students with a faculty mentor compete for funding. A Deanís Fund for Faculty Support is the source for funding for promising pilot projects following a review coordinated by the Office of Research.

The College of Dentistry sponsors the Annual Research Day, a forum for students to present and defend their work at a poster session or table clinic. Annual Research Day includes a competition which rewards students, including graduate students, for excellent research in the clinical, basic, or behavioral sciences. Winners have the opportunity to represent the College of Dentistry at regional and national dental meetings. A Student Research Group (SRG), chapter of the American Association of Dental Research, serves to encourage dental students to engage in dental-related research and consider a career in oral health research.

The College has a number of faculty members engaged in externally supported research. It ranks within the top ten of U.S. dental schools in research support from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. To improve the research enterprise at the College, it was decided to focus its research in four areas: oral cancer; biomaterials, biomimetics, and tissue engineering; infectious diseasesócariology; and oral systemic disease linkage.

Oral Cancer is a focus of the College from basic/epidemiologic/clinical research to clinical teaching, to clinical care. Several programs have gained national prominence, including the Oral Cancer Screening and Awareness program initiated by NYUCD and now involving 29 institutions and partners and the NIDCR-funded, seven-year, NYU Oral Cancer RAAHP Center, which conducts research to identify factors contributing to oral cancer disparities. In Basic Sciences NIH funds research on apoptosis, multistage carcinogenesis of oral cancer, as well as translational research on the premalignant to malignant cell transformation and novel delivery systems for the treatment of head and neck cancer.

The College has a rich history in Biomaterials Research. An already strong program in calcium phosphate research is now complemented by a Program Project grant investigating machinable ceramics and expertise in tissue engineering of skeletal muscle, cartilage and bone. The College participates with the NYU College of Arts and Sciences in masterís degree training in material science. This broad-based program engages students from the basic sciences working side-by-side with students in the advanced specialty programs, sensitizing both to new scientific approaches. The materials researchers have long-standing collaborations with a number of engineering schools.

Infectious Diseases is the focus of a number of initiatives. The investigators in one group bring expertise ranging from molecular biology of oral pathogens to molecular epidemiology to clinical trials, with emphasis on caries. Another group investigates the oral manifestation of HIV/AIDS, anti-HIV therapies and the development of salivary diagnostics. While just beginning to emerge as a strength, the Oral-Systemic Disease Linkage is an important area of investigation. Two current research areas explore the linkages between periodontal disease and premature delivery of babies and between periodontal pathogens and Alzheimerís disease.