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Fall 2016                                     Office of Research

 

After a busy summer, the Office of Research welcomes the College of Dentistry's new and returning students, faculty and staff, and all those who comprise this extraordinary team of Gator Nation! 

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2016 Summer of Research Program Participants

Congratulations to the 2016 Summer Research Participants: Megan Menasche, Natalie Ateyo, Ryan Clance, Joshua Lovelace, Eric Rabinowitz, Steven Spoto, Laura Londono, and Ly Nguyen.  After 10 weeks of mentoring and learning the eight students completed the course with a presentation of their research project.

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Welcome our newest faculty members...

Dr. Jorge Frias-Lopez

 Jorge Frias-Lopez has joined the Department of Oral Biology as an associate professor. Jorge completed his bachelor's and doctorate degrees at the University of Barcelona in Spain, and completed his post-doctoral training at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He then moved to MIT to work as a research scientist at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. In 2008 he joined the Forsyth Institute, becoming an associate member of the staff in 2013. He was a lecturer at Harvard School of Dental Medicine and served as co-chair of the Microbiology Department at Forsyth.

The unifying theme of Jorge's work is to understand the role that microbial communities play in human health and disease. His research interests are concentrated on studying the ecology of the human microbiome focusing on the oral microbial community. It was not until he was working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that he was able to develop a methodology to study microbial community gene expression in situ, which resulted on the first comprehensive report on the expression profile of bacterial communities in open ocean waters. While at Forsyth he established a research program focused on the study of the function of the components of the oral biofilm both in vivo and using a multispecies biofilm model.

Another of his research interests focuses on understanding how oral microbial communities are structured and what the driving forces are that shape them. Using system biology approaches (weighted correlation network analysis) his lab has begun to identity bacterial modules in the pathogenic microbial community that were associated with disease.

Linked to the overall theme of the structure of microbial communities is Jorge's interest on understanding what makes a community resilient to environmental changes and how to quantify the robustness of microbial communities. As a part of his current work on disease progression he already collected samples from the diseased individuals after treatment.

Finally, Jorge has recently started a collaborative project with Dr. Maria A. Kukuruzinska at Boston University and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, to study the potential role that the oral microbiome plays in oral cancer. The group has initiated the study analyzing samples from a small group of patients in a pilot study characterizing the profiles of gene expression of the microbial communities colonizing active cancer sites by metatranscriptome analysis as well as of the host response on those sites. Jorge’s research is supported by the NIH/NIDCR and companies such as Colgate-Palmolive and he collaborates extensively with Investigators at multiple universities.

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Dr. Frank Gibson

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Frank Gibson joined the UF Department of Oral Biology as an associate professor this summer.  He received a bachelor's in biology and a doctorate in microbiology from the University of New Hampshire and completed post-doctoral trainings in infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Boston University School of Medicine.

Frank joined the faculty as instructor at BU in 2001 and rose to the rank of associate professor before moving to UF.  Frank has successfully maintained NIH funding for his research endeavors that have focused in areas of host-pathogen interaction geared toward developing a better understanding of the host mechanisms and bacterial structures important to the development of infection-elicited inflammation.  Frank’s lab has had longstanding interests in identifying host receptors responsible for sensing bacteria, and signaling pathways leading to immune activation. His research has primarily focused around the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis as a relevant oral organism to study key facets of anaerobic bacterial infection as well as to investigate specific structures including capsular polysaccharides that drive host responses critical to the development of oral bone loss. A particular area of interest is identification of molecular targets and pathways that could serve as novel points for therapeutic intervention as a strategy to augment treatments aimed to limit periodontal tissue destruction.

 In addition to his work focusing on oral disease, Frank’s research group engaged in collaborative experimental studies that were seminal in identifying associations of oral bacterial infection with cardiovascular disease. More recently they have begun to explore the contribution of macrophages to the pathogenesis of periodontal disease, as well as using these cells as a tool to investigate oral bacteria impact in HIV infection. In addition to his research, Frank has extensive teaching and mentoring experience. He is very excited to join UF as a member of the College of Dentistry and the Department of Oral Biology and is eager to work with the talented students and renowned clinical and research faculty here at UF.

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Danielle Vermilyea was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. She attended the University of South Florida and graduated magna cum laude from the Honors College, with a bachelor's in biology prior to entering the Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences (IDP-BMS) at the University of Florida as a doctorate student in 2014.

Danielle’s undergraduate research experience provided her a background in microbiology and microbial ecology sparking her interest in bacterial biofilms (surface-associated bacterial communities surrounded by a protective extracellular matrix), which are difficult to treat and are often implicated in diseases characterized by chronic infections. As a result, after entering the IDP-BMS at UF, Danielle joined the lab of Dr. Mary Ellen Davey in the Department of Oral Biology whose research focuses on Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg), an oral bacterium implicated in the etiology of chronic adult periodontitis due, in part, to its ability to form a biofilm.

In summer 2015, Danielle was appointed to the NIH T90 Comprehensive Training Program in Oral Biology. Under the T90, Danielle is investigating Pg and the impact of arginine availability on its physiology and ability to form a biofilm. This work resulted in an invitation to present a poster at the 7th American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Conference on Biofilms in Chicago, Illinois, where she was one of 22 students nationally to be awarded a Student Travel Grant from the ASM. Currently, Danielle is investigating how the expression of a novel bacterial enzyme, Porphyromonas peptidylarginine deiminase (PPAD), modulates arginine availability and, subsequently, Pg biofilm formation. She is preparing an NIH F31 grant proposal on this research to present at her admittance to candidacy exam later this semester after which she plans to submit.

While being funded by the T90 and the Department of Oral Biology, Danielle has the opportunity to present her ongoing research in the Oral Biology Research Conference every fall and spring. She has taken on leadership roles, such as helping to organize the visit of the spring 2016 student-invited speaker Dr. Todd Kitten from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry, and stays involved by regularly attending the monthly College of Medicine Graduate Student Organization (COM-GSO) meetings where she previously served as a representative for the COM-GSO at the Graduate Student Council (GSC) general meetings. Ultimately, Danielle’s long-term career goal is to obtain a faculty position at an academic research institution, devoting her time to microbiological research and training the next generation of research scientists.

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Office of Research

New Website Information 

Please visit this new site for all the answers to:

Responsible Conduct of Research

and 

Announcements

the site for New Awards and Notifications 

The following link is useful. Questions often arise as to how long we need to retain things like recommendation letters and grant-related data:

http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/Portals/records/Faculty%20Record%20Retention%202016.pdf

It is also notable that the process for properly eliminating records can be critical, depending on the type of information:

http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/records/Disposal/Destruction

 

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