Prospective Students

Oral Biology PhD Program Faculty

In alignment with the institutional goals, scientific research is the most prominent activity of the faculty in the Division of Biosciences. Within the past few years, the volume and scope of research in the section has increased greatly. All faculty have substantial external funding, and a major NIH-funded training grant for dental, graduate, and post-doctoral students and junior faculty. The myriad of ongoing multidisciplinary research programs focus on: Molecular and Cellular Biology, inflammation and Immunity, Developmental Biology, Chemical Senses, Musculoskeletal Biology, Microbiology, and Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering. The broad range of projects provided ample opportunities for scientific collaborations among faculty as well as offer opportunities for scientific collaborations among faculty as well as offer opportunities for graduate and post-doctoral students to obtain versatile training in modern approaches to biology.

Sudha Agarwal, PhD
Professor, Division of Biosciences
College of Dentistry

The focus of my lab is in three areas that are related to Mechanobiology/bioengineering of cells of the musculoskeletal tissues: (i) mechanical stress-mediated intracellular signal transduction pathways that are involved in enhancing tissue's ability to self regenerate and repair cartilage and muscle; (ii) mechanisms of bone adaptation to mechanical forces; and (iii) synthesis of polymers for use as cell/gene delivery scaffolding matrix for cartilage and bone tissue engineering.

Michael Bailey, PhD
Associate Professor, Division of Biosciences
College of Dentistry
Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research

Studies in my laboratory are focused on determining the impact that the intestinal microbiota have on the local mucosal immune system, and on immune reactivity at systemic sites, particularly during periods of psychological stress. In past studies, we have shown that exposure to different types of psychological stressors changes the community structure of microbiota in the intestines. Our goal now is to demonstrate that these changes have significant effects on the health of the host.

John D. Bartlett, PhD
Professor, Division of Bioscience
Associate Dean for Research
College of Dentistry

Dr. Bartlett's research has focused on understanding dental enamel development and the gene expression program that is required to form teeth. He has a particular interest in a gene called "matrix metalloproteinase-20" (MMP20), and he also is investigating the molecular events that cause dental fluorosis and the cellular interactions that are required for healthy enamel formation.

Prosper Boyaka, PhD
Professor, Department of Biosciences
College of Veterinary Medicine

Currently, my research interests focus on the regulation of immunity and inflammation in mucosal surfaces.  We also investigate means to utilize mucosal surfaces for provision of immunity against infectious diseases and strategies to control mucosal pathologies such as allergic reactions. For this purpose, we study adjuvants that could be used in mucosal vaccines to induce both mucosal and systemic immunity. Regulation of mucosal immunity by cytokines/chemokines and other innate factors represent the other major area of our research.

Shareef M. Dabdoub, PhD
Assistant Professor, Division of Periodontology
College of Dentistry

Microbial ecology of the oral environment, including: profiling the peri-implant microbiome in health, mucositis, and implantitis, host-microbial interaction, resistance and resilience of the microbiome to environmental perturbations. Whole metagenome and RNA-Seq analysis, fluorescent microscopy, scientific data visualization, visual analytics, software development, and reproducibility in science.

Brian L. Foster, PhD
Assistant Professor, Division of Biosciences
College of Dentistry

I study the molecular biology of tooth root development and mineralization, with interests including genes, mechanisms, diseases, and novel regeneration strategies.

Ann Griffen, DDS, MS
Professor, Division of Pediatric Dentistry
College of Dentistry

Our research group studies the human oral microbiome and its relationship to health and disease.  We currently have projects underway to study both dental caries and periodontitis.  Our approach is interdisciplinary, using molecular biology, epidemiology, bioinformatics, community biology and ecology, and phylogenetics to study the relationship of bacterial communities to human health and disease.

Scott Herness, PhD
Professor, Division of Biosciences, College of Dentistry
Department of Neuroscience, College of Medicine

My laboratory studies signal transduction mechanisms in mammalian taste receptor cells. We utilize physiological and molecular techniques to investigate how individual taste cells distinguish among the myriad of taste stimuli by using cell to cell communication within the taste bud with neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and second messenger signaling cascades. 

Chemical, physical and biological properties of dental biomaterials; Optical properties of esthetic biomaterials and the theoretical bases for determining optical characteristics; Mathematical modeling of properties of biomaterials; Optimization of chemical compositions; Research design.

Do-Gyoon Kim, PhD
Assistant Professor, Division of Orthodontics
College of Dentistry

Dr. Kim's research interest entails Mechanobiology of Bone-Implant Interface, Tissue-Biomaterial Interactions, Bone Tissue Engineering, Mechanics of Total Joint Replacement, Micromechanics of Dental Implant Interface, Spine Mechanics, Computational Biomechanics, and Mechanics of Tooth Movement

Purnima Kumar, BDS, MDS, PhD
Associate Professor, Division of Periodontology
College of Dentistry

My research focuses on studying oral bacterial profiles associated with periodontal health and disease using an integrated approach combining clinical research, epidemiology, molecular microbiology and bioinformatics. I am also interested in exploring the interaction between a health-compatible or a pathogenic bacterial colonization and the human host. I am also studying the role of host genetics on oral bacterial colonization. Current studies are directed towards understanding the role of the host genotype on determining host-specific bacterial colonization.

John J. Lannutti, PhD
Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering
College of Engineering

John J. Lannutti carries out research work in the area of electrospun scaffold for tissue engineering. Current interests lie in designing more biologically capable substrates that better mimic the diverse physical and biochemical environments needed to allow for the generation of fully capable neotissues. Professor Lannutti teaches a lecture class entitled “Materials in Medicine” and a laboratory entitled “Biomaterials Processing.”

Binnaz Leblebiciooglu, DDS, MS, PhD
Associate Professor, Division of Periodontology
College of Dentistry

Currently, my primary research interest is to investigate the possible mechanisms involved in delayed type mucosal wound healing. I collaborate with Oral Biology Division and Comprehensive Wound Center at OSU. We conduct both clinical and basic science research. I am also conducting several clinical research projects related to treatment outcome following implant placement surgery. We investigate early healing process at periodontal/peri-implant tissues. We combine clinical documentation with various molecular biology methods to evaluate different phases of healing.

Gene Leys, PhD
Professor, Division of Biosciences
College of Dentistry

We use an integrated approach that utilizes molecular biology, microbiology and epidemiology to study the molecular and population genetics of periodontitis-associated and other oral bacteria. We have developed a system for the detection and identification of bacterial strains (clonal types) of oral bacteria.By using PCR with species-specific primers, bacteria are detected directly from oral samples without the need for culturing. PCR products are sequenced to determine the genetic identity for individual clonal types and phylogenetic relationships among strains. 

Alan Litsky, MD, ScD
Associate Professor, Department of Orthopaedics, College of Medicine
Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering

My research focus is hard-tissue biomaterials with an emphasis on new materials for orthopaedic and dental applications. This has including development and evaluation of a reduced-modulus acrylic bone cement and a hydroxyapatite-metal alloy composite for net-shaped manufacture of musculoskeletal implants. Continuing research projects in Orthopaedic BioMaterials Laboratory are investigating the use of shape-memory alloys for fracture fixation, micromotion between components of total hip arthroplasties, the determination of the specific origin of polyethylene wear debris in arthroplasty components, and the fatigue behavior of external fixators and dental prostheses. 

Susan Mallery, DDS, PhD
Professor, Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
College of Dentistry

Clinical Interests: Oral pathology, Research Interests: Oral cancer initiation; AIDS-related oral cancer; chemoprevention

Angelo Mariotti, DDS, PhD
Professor, Division of Periodontology
College of Dentistry

My primary research interest is how the endocrine system affects the oral cavity and how tissues within the oral cavity may effect target tissues of endocrine hormones. The homeostasis of the periodontium is a complex, multifactorial relationship that involves, at least in part, the endocrine system. The assertion that hormone-sensitive periodontal tissues exist relies on several salient observations, including the retention and metabolic conversion of sex steroid hormones as well as the presence of steroid hormone receptors in periodontal tissues. These biological findings correlated with clinical observations confirm an increased prevalence of gingival diseases with fluctuating sex steroid hormone levels, even when oral hygiene remained unchanged. Both human and animal models are used to explore the relationship of sex steroid hormones to the oral cavity.

Sara R. Palmer, PhD
Assistant Professor, Division of Biosciences
College of Dentistry

The over-arching goal of my research is to better understand the mechanisms of virulence factor regulation in streptococcal species within the oral cavity, with an emphasis on genes involved in secretion systems and membrane protein biogenesis. I utilize a combination of Next Generation Sequencing technologies, bioinformatics, and molecular biology techniques to generate and test hypotheses related to these important pathways in multiple clinical isolates of Streptococcus mutans.

Ning Quan, PhD
Professor, Division of Biosciences
Chair, Graduate Studies Committee
College of Dentistry

Our lab studies the communication between the immune system and the central nervous system. One of the focuses is to understand the role of blood brain barrier in mediating the cross talk between these two systems. We have created conditional knockdown animals to analyze the function of interleukin-1 receptor expressed on endothelial cells. Another focus of our lab is to unravel the transcriptional control of the expression of the type I interleukin-1 receptor. We have discovered a promoter complex that allows tissue- and cell type-specific expression of this molecule. 

Peter Reiser, PhD
Professor, Chair, Division of Biosciences
College of Dentistry

My research is focused on the roles of sarcomeric protein isoforms in regulating contractile properties of muscle. Specific areas of interest include craniofacial (extraocular, jaw-closing and laryngeal) muscles, limb skeletal muscles and cardiac muscle, with an emphasis on comparative muscle physiology and biochemistry. The approach is based primarily on analyses of contractile properties and protein composition of single, isolated muscle cells. 

Thomas J. Rosol, DVM, PhD
Professor, Department of Biosciences
College of Veterinary Medicine

The Rosol laboratory uses molecular, in vitro, and in vivo techniques to investigate the pathogenesis of human and animal cancers. Specifically, the laboratory develops mouse models of cancer to study the pathogenesis of bone metastasis, cancer-associated hypercalcemia, and human HTLV-1-induced T-cell lymphoma. The molecular regulation of parathyroid hormone-related protein is studied in vitro and in vivo using animal models of prostate, lung, and breast cancer, and lymphoma. New laboratory expertise has been developed for in vivo imaging of cancer in mouse models using bioluminescence, high resolution ultrasound, and near infrared imaging of molecular markers. The lab is also examining the ability of nanoparticles to enhance the ultrasound imaging of cancer molecular markers.

Abhay Satoskar, MD, PhD
Professor, Center for Microbial Interface Biology
Wexner Medical Center

Dr. Satoskar’s research focuses on studying how cytokines regulate innate and acquired immune responses during infection and determining the strategies used by the parasite Leishmania to evade host immunity. The Laboratory uses murine model as well as variety of in vitro experimental approaches for these studies.  Another area of interest in the laboratory is developing a vaccine against Leishmania by identifying and characterizing possible candidate antigens and optimizing effective vaccination strategies for them. Finally, a relatively new direction of the laboratory involves studying immune mechanisms that determine the outcome of a bioterror agent Francisella.

Scott Schricker, PhD
Associate Professor, Division of Restorative and Prosthetic Dentistry
College of Dentistry

My research involves developing new polymeric materials for traditional dental materials and tissue engineering scaffolds. Projects involves synthesizing new materials, using cell culture to evaluate cell-material interactions and characterization of dental materials.

Robert Seghi, DDS, MS
Professor, Division of Restorative and Prosthetic Dentistry
College of Dentistry

My research is focused on Dental Ceramics - Modeling and Laboratory Simulation of All-Ceramic Failure Mechanisms Optical and mechanical property evaluations of ceramic materials.

Dental Polymers/Ceramic Composites - Simulated wear characteristics of dental composites. New nanoparticulate reinforced polymers for dental applications. Polymerization shrinkage stress and strain of dental composite systems.

Dental Adhesion - Issues related to the bonding of materials to enamel and dentin.

John Sheridan, PhD
Professor, Division of Biosciences
College of Dentistry

Interactions among the nervous, endocrine and immune systems as they relate to viral pathogenesis, immunity, and tissue repair. Inflammatory and immune responses during viral infection and would healing. Effects of aging and stress on immunity; lymphocyte trafficking and activation; neuroendocrine regulation of cytokine and chemokine gene expression. 

Zongyang Sun, DDS, PhD
Assistant Professor, Division of Orthodontics
College of Dentistry

Dr. Sun's research interest is in the field of craniofacial growth and adaptation in response to mechanical loading.  His research involves cranial sutures, mandibular osteodistraction sites, craniofacial periosteum and the dental alveolus.

Maiko Suzuki, DDS, PhD
Research Assistant Professor, Division of Biosciences
College of Dentistry

Investigating molecular mechanism of pathophysiology in dental fluorosis focused on stress response (ER stress, oxidative stress ), adaptive response and epigenetic regulation.

Joseph Travers, PhD
Professor, Division of Biosciences
College of Dentistry

Circuits in the brainstem reticular formation are necessary for coordinated oromotor function. Our lab is using neuroanatomical, neurophysiological and neuropharmacological approaches to analyze how these circuits process sensory information to switch between multiple behaviors.

Susan Travers, PhD
Professor, Division of Biosciences
College of Dentistry

Research in my lab investigates how the central nervous system processes sensory signals arising from the mouth. The oral cavity is richly innervated and supplies the organism with information critical to regulating eating and drinking. Our focus is the sense of taste, but we also study oral tactile and thermal sensations because all these modalities interact to give rise to the complex experience of flavor. 

John D. Walters, DDS, MMSc
Professor, Division of Periodontology
College of Dentistry

My interests include inflammation, signaling mechanisms involved in activation of polymorphonuclear leukocytes, PMN chemotactic peptide receptor polymorphisms and their association with aggressive periodontitis, and characterization of membrane transporters that move antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents used in periodontal therapy.    

Research in my laboratory is focused on the molecular mechanisms of oral cancer development in humans and experimental tumor models, with an emphasis on elucidating the mechanisms by which a specific polymorphism within the TGFβ type I receptor increases cancer susceptibility and on the translational investigation of food-based approaches to cancer prevention.