november 12, 2003


OU College of Dentistry earns $10 million research grant

A $10 million grant - the largest ever in the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry's 33-year history - will allow researchers to look for new ways of fighting tooth decay and gum disease.

The National Institutes of Health grant will allow scientists to focus on biofilms - the matrix of microorganisms that form on teeth and in the mouth. Scientists will examine how biofilms form and how they are associated with diseases and the barriers they put up against antibiotic treatments.

"This research grant will provide faculty of the OU College of Dentistry with the opportunity to move forward and make important contributions in all areas of oral health," said Joseph J. Ferretti, senior vice president and provost of the OU Health Sciences Center.

Seventy percent of Oklahoma third-grade children have or have had tooth decay, according to a study conducted by the OU College of Dentistry. The research into biofilms could lead to better treatments and materials to repair teeth and better preventive care, such as new toothpastes, mouthwashes and vaccines.

"The University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry is known nationally for its outstanding dental, dental hygiene and residency clinical programs," said Stephen Young, dean of the college and co-principal investigator in the study. "This grant award will allow the college to build the infrastructure necessary to also compete nationally in the research arena. The positive impact of this award on the college is immeasurable."

The scientists participating in this project come from various health fields, including dental materials, periodontics, pathology, and microbiology and immunology. The grant will provide support for junior investigators to establish independent research programs in oral health research.

Contact: Jennifer McDonald, 1-405-271-2323