Clinical research is an integral part of the mission of our department and a critical element in the training of clinicians who must keep up with and interpret the important literature in their field. Our department has active clinical and basic science research focusing on problems in the field of oral medicine. Some of our faculty members have a heavy commitment to research and are involved in several important studies at any given time. In addition to the many publications, textbook chapters, and research grants produced by the department, this commitment also provides for solid clinical research training for oral medicine residents.
Early in their training, oral medicine residents will identify one or more areas of clinical research to pursue on a longitudinal basis with faculty supervision. Training includes exposure to grant, abstract, and manuscript writing, as well as the development and implementation of clinical and/or basic science research studies.
Some examples of current research initiatives are:
- Examine the dental and oral complications in head and neck cancer patients treated with radio therapy ($8 million NIH grant).
- Examine the overall health effects of bacteremia (bacteria in the blood stream) from dental disease, specifically the role of dental disease in infective endocarditis.
- Develop new treatments and biological markers for patients with Sjögren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease that affects as many as 4 million Americans.
- Evaluate the pathophysiology and treatment of cancer treatment related alimentary mucositis.
- Examine oral complications in cancer patients treated with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.