Office of Research                                            Fall 2015

What a "great to be a Florida Gator" time of the year! With the onset of first year students, faculty, new research bursting all over the College of Dentistry and Gator football, the Office of Research welcomes everyone to a school year of learning and successes.


Translational Research

College of Dentistry and College of Engineering Collaborate



The next big thing in wearable technology may show up right inside your mouth.

Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a smart mouth guard equipped with sensors that allow it to detect if you’re grinding your teeth, tell your dentist and even help you stop doing it.

What’s more, the next version of the guard, currently under development, may be able to tell when an athlete is becoming dehydrated or overheated and even whether he or she may have gotten a concussion.

The device is the creation of Yong-Kyu “YK” Yoon, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and his colleagues. Yoon, who also is director of the Multidisciplinary Nano and Microsystems Lab at UF, worked on the project with Fong Wong, an associate professor in UF’s Restorative Dental Sciences Department and Craniofacial Center.

Their concept won them a second-place prize earlier this month at the International Contest of Applications in Nano/Micro Technologies in Anchorage, Alaska, where the UF team represented the United States.

Yoon said he came up with the idea about five years ago when he was developing a set of dentures that alert the dentist to an improper fit even if the patient doesn’t complain about it. That got him to thinking about something similar that could help an even larger share of the population – those who suffer from bruxism, aka teeth grinding.

Wong said at least 20 percent of the U.S. population – about 30 million people – suffer from bruxism, which frequently is caused by stress and can lead to damaged teeth, headaches, insomnia, and a sore jaw.

Most people don’t even know they do it.

The most common way to diagnose it is for the patient to spend a night in a sleep clinic.

Wouldn’t it be easier and more efficient, Yoon thought, for the patient to stay home using a mouth guard equipped with sensors that could detect bruxism, measure how much force was being applied by the jaw and which teeth were most affected?

Wong thought the same thing.

“Wearing a mouth guard is less intrusive than spending time in a sleep clinic,” she said. “It cuts cost when it reduces the number of clinical psychology sessions.”

The prototype they created does all of that and can send the information to a computer or smart phone via Bluetooth, where a dentist or orthodontist can retrieve it, make a diagnosis and suggest treatment.

“That kind of information has been unavailable until now,” Yoon said.

The mouth guard is an improvement over traditional bruxism therapies, such as behavioral modification training during clinical sessions, Wong said.

“The advantage is that the guard extends the treatment beyond the time spent in the clinic,” she said. “This promises greater effectiveness and lower cost.”

Yoon said one population that could stand to benefit from the smart mouth guard is combat veterans with post-traumatic stress, which can lead to bruxism.

But the smart mouth guard’s potential extends beyond dentistry.

The next iteration could be aimed at athletes. Using different types of sensors, Yoon said, it could detect dehydration or dangerous core body temperature and alert a coach to pull a player off the field. That same information could be useful for firefighters.

It also could measure the strength of a blow to the head, which could give doctors early warning about the possibility of a concussion.

Credits Writer: Steve Orlando, sfo@ufl.edu, 352-846-3903

Way to go Gators!


National Post-doc Appreciation Week

In recognition of National Post-doc Appreciation Week the UFCD Office of Research sponsored a thank you lunch for the college’s postdocs. Pictured from left to right are are:

Masoom Chowdhury, Kristina DiFranco, Irina Velsko, Sasank Chukkapalli, Luciana Almeida, Wenxing Tang, Senthil Kuppuswamy, Jeannine Brady, Adrienne Gauna Williams, Ricky Besingi, Matt Williams, Rob Shields and Brinta Chakraborty.

Discussed were potential research funding opportunities, hosting outside speakers, and upcoming career development programs sponsored by the UF Office of Post-Doctoral Affairs and Health Science Research Career Development Program. In addition a series of professional skills workshops is in development by the colleges of dentistry and medicine to be implemented in Fall 2016.

Trainees had an opportunity for camaraderie and to discuss issues of interest to the group with Dr. Jeannine Brady and Dr. Robert Burne. UFCD postdocs are an integral and appreciated component of our college’s research mission. 


KyuLim Lee

Selected to Represent NSRG as the 2015-2016 Member-at-Large

The AADR National Student Research Group (NSRG) is a student-run organization whose main purpose is to foster an environment in every dental school, whereby students interested in enriching their dental education through research are encouraged to do so. It is composed of a network of self-governing local student research group (SRG) chapters at each dental school and is led nationally by officers elected through a majority of votes from all members.

A student membership in AADR is an advantageous move for the student's career. Student members of the association are automatically members of the AADR NSRG, where student concerns and issues are voiced and heard. The AADR NSRG president serves as a representative on the AADR Board of Directors, and the AADR NSRG Councilor attends AADR Council and votes on the future of the AADR.

The AADR student members are individuals currently enrolled in a recognized academic institution who do not hold an academic appointment and who are interested in oral health research. Many types of students – such as undergraduate, pre-dental, dental, masters, post-doctoral, fellows and residents qualify for AADR student membership.

The governing body known as the NSRG Board of Directors consists of the president, vice-president, councilor, secretary, officers-elect of the NSRG, and two members-at-large. Two student members are selected to serve on the Board of Directors as members-at-large. These members are selected by the current officers to serve a one-year term beginning when the new Board of Directors commences office.

As a member-at-large KyuLim's duties are:

• Representing the membership as a whole, in matters before the Board of Directors.

• Assisting the board in its activities during the term of office of the members-at-large, e.g. participate in and chair committees.

• Serving in the place of the councilor or secretary in the event that the office becomes vacant, as outlined in Article V. Section 4. Succession Plan of the constitution.

• If she continues to fulfill the requirements of student membership, as member-at-large she may be appointed to serve in the place of the councilor-elect or secretary-elect in the event that the office becomes vacant, as outlined in Article V. Section 4. Succession Plan of the Constitution,

• Attend every officer meeting.

Our sincere congratulations to KyuLim as a representative of UF's College of Dentistry!

Way to go Gator!


Congratulations to Janice Braddy

Coordinator for Research Services in the Dental Clinic Research Unit 

Janice received her Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) certification in October 2015. The certification involves an extensive exam that validates competencies and professionalism in clinical research administration. Janice is a great resource for faculty, students and staff that are interested in conducting clinical research.  Dental Clinic Research Unit

Way to go Gator!


2015 Fall Staff Retreat

The Office of Research played an integral part in this year's UF College of Dentistry Staff Retreat. Denise Webb, the office administrative assistant and committee member of the event, worked diligently to provide team spirit, by having everyone participate in two wonderful activities.

Folks bundled together bags filled with toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss and stickers to distribute to elementary schools in Gainesville.  Others wrote letters to the servicemen in the armed forces, in appreciation for their service to our country.

What a great way to start the new academic school year!

Way to go Gators!


Dr. José A. Lemos, associate professor of oral biology recently returned to join the University of Florida College of Dentistry.  His career at UF began in 2002, as a research assistant professor in the Department of Oral Biology.  In 2007 Dr. Lemos moved to the University of Rochester first as an assistant professor and then as an associate professor of Microbiology and Immunology in the Center for Oral Biology and was actively engaged in teaching and research at that medical center. 

Dr. Lemos’ expansive curriculum vitae includes publications, fellowships, honors, scientific affiliations and teaching activities that not only detail his contributions to science but to the teaching and mentoring of students. As a mentor he was involved in multiple courses attended by both graduate and undergraduate students, training Ph.D. students and Postdoctoral fellows, along with numerous undergraduate students and those from different institutions who participated in Summer Research Programs at the University of Rochester. 

The laboratory investigates the molecular factors that allow the dental pathogen Streptococcus mutans to thrive under conditions that can lead to dental caries. Another area of investigation focuses on the characterization of a collagen binding protein responsible for intracellular invasion of human heart and oral tissues. His laboratory is also interested in understanding the stress response mechanisms of Enterococcus faecalis, a leading cause of hospital-acquired infections and frequently associated with endodontic infections.



Dr. Jacqueline Abranches brings to the College of Dentistry extensive experience in physiology and molecular biology of microorgainsms.  In early 2000, Dr. Abranches joined Dr. Robert E. Marquis at the University of Rochester as a post-doc to apply her microbial ecology knowledge to better understand how oral streptococci tolerate environmental insults and potentially cause disease.

In 2001 Dr. Abranches started her second post-doc at the University of Florida in the laboratory of Dr. Robert A Burne; she then transitioned to the position of research assistant professor.  During this six year-period, Dr. Abranches participated in several projects involving stress tolerance and sugar metabolism of oral bacteria, while gaining substantial experience in microbial genetics and physiology. She also established independent collaborations with researchers from other institutions in the United States, Canada and Brazil.

In 2007, she returned to the University of Rochester as a research assistant professor in the laboratory of Dr. Jose Lemos. While participating in Dr. Lemos’ research projects she was also able to pursue her goal, an independent project funded by the American Heart Association, discovering that Cnm is responsible for S. mutans intracellular invasion and implemented the Galleria mellonella model for systemic infection. In addition, she worked on the stringent response and antibiotic tolerance of Enterococcus faecalis, a bacterium commonly associated with hospital acquired infections as well as root canal failure. 

In 2013, together Dr. Abranches and Dr. Lemos obtained a five-year NIH RO1 grant to study the role of the collagen binding protein Cnm of Streptococcus mutans. She started her own research laboratory in 2014, and became a tenure-track assistant professor in the Center for Oral Biology and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Rochester. She has successfully published articles related to the collagen binding protein Cnm and its role in colonization of oral sites and in systemic disease.

Dr. Abranches has a substantial amount of mentoring and teaching experience with multiple undergraduate students at both the University of Florida and the University of Rochester. Currently, under her supervision she has one minority doctoral student who recently obtained a NIH F31 minority award.

Welcome back Drs. Abranches and Lemos. It's great to be Florida Gators!


Funding Opportunities

UF Health Cancer Center FY2016 Bridge Grant Applications: due 11/15/15. Please contact Wendy Malorzo at wmalorzo@ufl.edu for details.
UF Research Opportunity Incentive Seed Fund: college deadline 11/16/15.  Please contact Beverly Davies in the UFCD Office of Research for details.

Visit the UFCD Office of Research website for more funding announcements:

NIH Announcements

Upcoming Changes to Policies, Instructions, and Forms for the 2016 Applications: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-16-004.html

Upcoming Changes to Post-Award Forms and Instructions:

OMB Approval for Form Changes: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-146.html

Proposed revisions to the Common Rule for Protecting Human Research Subjects: http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/regulations/nprmhome.html

- NIH Webinar for applicants and Grant Administrators (11/5/15 & 11/6/15 2-4PM EST) http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-154.html

- NIH Guidance on plans for Lapse in funding: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-164.html

- Simplification of the Vertebrate Animals section of NIH Grant Applications: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-16-006.html