Cancer and developmental biology

Anthony C. Faber, Ph.D.
Cancer growth and survival are largely attributed to one or a handful of genes. The identification of these genes  has allowed for personalized cancer medicine. The Faber lab is involved in designing and pre-clinically testing new therapeutic approaches for subsets of genetically-defined cancers, including those in the Head and Neck region.

Hisashi Harada, Ph.D.
The Hirada lab is focusing on the regulatory mechanisms of cell death, which are important for tumorigenesis and the response to a variety of chemotherapeutic drugs. We have demonstrated the significance of BCL-2 family cell death regulatory proteins for their contribution to chemotherapeutic responses in various cancers (leukemia, breast, lung, head & neck cancer). As a result of these findings, our goal is to develop novel strategies for the treatment of cancer.

Renfeng Li, Ph.D.
The long-term goal of Li lab is to investigate the mechanism of viral pathogenesis. The current focus of Li lab is to explore the role of herpesvirus protein kinases in regulating host signaling pathways with the goal of developing novel therapeutic strategies to cure virus-associated disease.

Iain M. Morgan, Ph.D.
The Morgan lab focuses on studying the human papillomavirus 16 life cycle in oral keratinocytes. There are two main areas of research: understanding how the viral proteins E1 and E2 interact with host protein factors and signaling pathways to replicate the HPV genome. The lab is also looking at how viral proteins regulate the host genome and signaling pathways to reprogram the host and promote the viral life cycle, with a particular emphasis on the E2 protein.

The Morgan lab is also directing a translational program combining surgeons, pathologists, radiation biologists and basic/translational scientists to give an increased understanding of both HPV+ and HPV- head and neck cancer. This program is focused on a genomic understanding of head and neck cancer and building in vitro models that will be moved into animal studies that will ultimately translate into new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of head and neck cancer.

Yue Sun, Ph.D.
The research interests of the Sun Lab are abnormal signaling transduction in cancer development and targeted therapies to treat cancer. Currently, we are particularly interested in the role of Phosphoinositide signaling and Receptor Tyrosine Kinases signaling in oral cancer.

Bradford E. Windle, Ph.D.
Dr. Windle’s research is focused on bioinformatic approaches to studying head and neck cancer. One area of research is the study of the mechanisms of HPV-mediated oncogenesis, and the associated gene amplification and mutation events, using high throught-put sequencing and genomics

Infection Immunology and Inflammation

Todd Kitten, Ph.D.
Dr. Kitten's research focuses on oral streptococci and their dual roles as beneficial colonizer in the mouth and opportunistic endocarditis pathogen in the heart. Genetic, genomic, post-genomic, and biochemical and biophysical approaches are used to examine bacterial interactions in both environments. Student projects would likely involve these topics and approaches.

Janina P. Lewis, Ph.D.
Work in the Lewis laboratory focuses on the molecular mechanisms of host pathogen interaction in the oral cavity. From the microbial site we are investigating the virulence and adaptive mechanisms required for establishment, growth, and survival of bacteria in oral cavity. Several metal-dependent regulatory mechanisms as well as metal- dependent metabolic enzymes are under investigation. Also, both the host and microbial mechanisms involved in bacterial attachment, internalization and response to bacterial challenge are explored.

S. Esra Sahingur, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Dr. Sahingur’s research interests focus on studying the role of immune and inflammatory pathways and host-pathogen interactions in periodontal disease pathogenesis, genetic and epigenetic susceptibility to periodontitis and identification of molecular markers that link oral and systemic diseases. The on-going projects in Sahingur laboratory involve in vivo animal models of periodontitis with transgenic mice and clinical studies.

Harvey A. Schenkein, D.D.S., Ph.D.
Our focus is on examination of biological effects of antiphospholipids found in sera of periodontitis patients on fetal loss, exploring mechanisms of cellular activation and placental dysfunction. We are studying mechanisms by which anticardiolipin antibodies induced by P. gingivalis induce biological responses in endothelial cells and trophoblasts consistent with their ability to cause fetal loss in a mouse pregnancy model. In addition, dependency on complement activation will be examined.

Ping Xu, Ph.D.
Dr. Ping Xu's laboratory has two focuses. The first is human microbiome and microbial genomic research using the next generation DNA sequence technology and bioinformatics. The second area focuses on biofilm and microbial interaction studies using a systems biology approach.

Tissue engineering, stem cells and new materials

Zhao Lin, B.D.S., M.S., M.M.Sc., Ph.D.
The Lin laboratory is focused on novel strategies for periodontal and peri-implant tissue engineering. We are exploring the potential of peptide/protein delivery and cell-based therapy in the regeneration of hard and soft tissues around teeth and dental implants. We are also interested in the function of miRNAs in periodontal regeneration.