The Institute of Medicine and Pharmacy in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, like most schools in Europe, offers a five-year program leading to a degree in medicine with a specialty in dentistry for those who wish to become dentists. That was the route taken by Dr. Angela Kamer, an Assistant Professor of Periodontology and Implant Dentistry, whose research focuses on the links between oral and systemic health. The program required students to do hospital rotations in more than a half-dozen specialties, including internal medicine, dermatology, endocrinology, infectious diseases, neurology, and pediatrics.
Developing an understanding of systemic health made me realize how important it is to address medical conditions during an oral health screening, said Dr. Kamer, who went on to earn a certificate in periodontics from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, an MS in oral medicine from the SUNY Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, and a PhD in pathology from the SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Kamer, who teaches both pre- and postdoctoral students, says that her training in both oral and systemic health was a factor in her decision to become a periodontist. With my background, it seemed natural to become a specialist who treats gum infections that may be related to medical conditions, such as diabetes.
Dr. Kamer’s research includes being a coinvestigator on a four-year study led by Dr. Ron G. Craig, Associate Professor of Basic Science & Craniofacial Biology, to assess whether Arestin,® an antibiotic used to treat periodontal infections, can control blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes and periodontal disease. She is also leading a pilot study with the NYU School of Medicine’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center and Center for Brain Health to assess whether inflammatory molecules associated with periodontal disease increase Alzheimer’s risk by further elevating the high level of brain inflammation that contributes to Alzheimer’s pathogenesis; and she is a coinvestigator on a pilot study at the NYU School of Medicine to assess whether inflammation occurring in elderly open-heart surgery patients can be linked to a decline in cognition. The principal investigator on that study is Dr. Alex Bekker, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and of Neurosurgery.