July 2017 to June 2018
Awards Granted to Faculty

March / April / May / June 2018

lakshmyyaDr. Kesavalu Lakshmyya, an associate professor in the Department of Periodontology, received $221,000 from the Florida Department of Health’s Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program. The project entitled, “Periodontal bacteria augment progression of Abeta and Tau pathology.” The two-year project researches potential risk factors associated with gum disease and Alzheimer’s condition. Dr. Lakshmyya is collaborating with Drs. Todd Golde and Yona Levites, UF Department of Neuroscience-Center for Translation Research and Neurodegenerative Diseases.


Dr. Frank Gibson, an associate professor in the Department of Oral Biology received $25,000 contract from Sutrovax for the project entitled “Molecular analysis of Porphyromonas.”


Dr. Seunghee Cha, an associate professor in the Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences, received a 2018 Professorship award from the University Research Foundation (UFRF). The UFRF award is for tenured faculty members having a distinguished current record of research. The purpose of this award is to recognize recent contributions and provide incentives for continued excellence in research.

rouletDr. Jean-Francois Roulet, a professor in the Department of Restorative Dental Sciences and the director of the Center for Dental Biomaterials received a $4,000 contribution from Ultradent. The funds support biomaterial research.


Kyulim Lee, a third year dual degree student (DMD/PhD) received the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Fellowship (F30DE028184). Lee’s research project entitled “Investigation of the probiotic mechanisms of action of Streptococcus A12.”  She said, “I hope to gather information of value in identifying other organisms that may promote oral health and guiding the development of effective probiotics.” Kyulim’s mentor is Dr. Robert Burne, a distinguished professor, chair of the Department of Oral Biology, and the associate dean for research.

New Award Announcements

New AwardbranchesDrs. Jose Lemos, and Shannon Wallet, both in the Department of Oral Biology received $419,375 for a two-year award from the National Institutes for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (R21AI 35158) for the project entitled, “Regulatory nucleotides of enterococcus faecalis.” Dr. Jaqueline Abranches, an assistant professor of in oral biology is co-Investigator. Dr. Lemos says he hopes the findings offer new leads for the development of new antimicrobial therapies.

Award announcement

pappDr. Zsolt Toth, an assistant professor in the Department of Oral Biology, received $1.9 million for the NIH award entitled “Viral and host strategies for regulation of KSHV infection (R01AI132554).” The National Institutes for Allergies and Infectious Diseases funded the five-year study. Dr. Bernadette Papp, a research assistant professor in oral biology is participating as co-investigator. Dr. Toth’s applications states, “The goal of this study is to understand how RTA regulates lytic replication, which can help to identify potential targets for the prevention of KSHV replication.”

Dr. Jorge Frias-Lopez, an associate professor in the Department of Oral Biology, received a $4,000 consulting contract from Colgate. The contract provides training for Colgate researchers in the area of data analysis methodologies for human and bacterial transcriptomic.

New Award Announcement

Dr. Robert Caudle, a professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, received $19,367 for a UFCD Seed Grant for his project, “Low dose naltrexone for treating chronic pain.” Dr. John Neubert, an associate professor in the Department of orthodontics, is participating as co-investigator. The College Seed Grant supports novel research with the goal of providing a platform for faculty to obtain external funding.

January / February 2018

Dr. Robert Caudle, a professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Division of Neuroscience, is participating as co-investigator for the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases award entitled “OA pathogenesis beyond cartilage: a preclinical study of the sources of OA pain.”  The award totaling $1,812,169 was received by Dr. Kyle Allen in biomedical engineering. The federal grant (R01AR071431) covers a five year period. The ultimate goal of their work is to lead to a broader understanding of OA pathogenesis and symptoms beyond the articular cartilage, helping guide OA treatments toward physiologic changes, which relate to OA pain and disability.

Dr. Sasanka Chukkapalli, Oral Biology, was awarded $17,501 for a UFCD Seed Grant entitled “Role of NLRP3 inflammasome in diabetic periodontitis.” Before joining UF’s faculty, he worked as a postdoctoral associate in the UF Department of Periodontology. His work in periodontology included investigating the association between periodontal disease and systemic diseases like atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. This study will provide information for elucidating the role of inflammasomal components in the events leading to chronic inflammatory disease, specifically diabetic periodontitis.

Ellen-TerryDr. Ellen Terry, Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence (PRICE), received an award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for $191,592. The grant is entitled, “Neural mechanisms underlying psychosocial contributions to ethnic group differences in pain,” and covers a two year period. The proposed career development plan, K22NS102334, extends from the PI’s prior work on pain catastrophizing and mechanisms of pain processing, and will also provide the neuroimaging training and expertise to propel a promising young investigator at the intersection of pain and neuroscience research.

October 2017 – January 2018

Awards 10/2017 -1/2018Dr. Patricia Xirau-Probert, Community Dentistry and Behavioral Science, received a renewal award from Robert Wood Johnson for the Summer health professions education program (SHPEP).  The one year program is funded at $330,000 and involves all six Health Science Center colleges.  This award provides a free summer enrichment program focusing on improving access to information and resources for college students interested in the health professions.

New Award AnnouncementsDr. Jose Lemos, Oral Biology, received $419, 375 from the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, for a two year project entitled Regulatory Nucleotides of Enterococcus faecalis (R21AI135158).  According to the application narrative the project team will investigate how the unusual nucleotides(p)ppGpp and c-di-AMP control cell physiology, in a way that increase their tolerance to antibiotics and ability to cause disease. Their findings can offer new leads for the development of new antimicrobial therapies.

Award announcementDr. Zsolt Toth, Oral Biology, obtained bridge funding from the UF Health Cancer Center in the amount of $75,000. The award enables Dr. Toth to continue working on a project entitled “Viral and host strategies for regulation of KSHV infection.” The Cancer Center’s bridge funding program provides support to UF faculty, with the goal of gaining extramural awards in the area of cancer research.

New Award AnnouncementDr. Josephine Esquivel-Upshaw, Restorative Dental Sciences, was awarded a $25,000 network science pilot from the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) for a study entitled “Novel approach to reliability and lifetime predication analysis of dental ceramic materials.”  The project involves collaborative efforts with Dr. John Mecholsky, UF Department of Engineering/Materials Sciences and Dr. Jason Griggs, University of Mississippi Medical Center/Department of Biomedical Materials Science. The grant application states, “innovative aspect of the proposed research is the development of a forensic analysis protocol utilizing different elements of engineering such as fractographic analysis, fractal geometry and finite element analysis to ascertain causes of clinical failure.”

New Award AnnouncementDr. John Neubert, Orthodontics, received a one year award in the amount $64,738 from Coda Therapeutics, for a study entitled “Operant behavioral instrument for measuring trigeminal neuropathic pain in rodent.”

New Award Announcement New Award AnnouncementDrs. Robert Caudle and Jian Zuo, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, received an Intergovernmental Personnel Agreement from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, for the project titled “Mechanisms of Gulf war illness.”   The two year award is funded at $63,233.

New AwardDr. Shannon Wallet, Oral Biology, was awarded $419, 375 from the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, for a two year project entitled Genetic regulation of intestinal epithelial cell innagte innune signaling in human type 1 diabetes (R21AI130970). The study focuses on the effects of environmental interactions on mucosal immunology and the immunological mechanisms of autoimmune disease pathogenesis. The project encompasses many disciplines, including but not limited to mucosal immunity, innate immunology, gastrointestinal biology, epithe ial cell biology, TLR signaling and type 1 diabetes.

September / October 2017

Dr. Gill Diamond, Department of Oral Biology is partnered in a research agreement with the Colgate-Palmolive Company (A-2017-231-OC), with the overall goal of working together towards a treatment for periodontal disease. Dr. Diamond has been a research professor of oral biology for over 15 years. The research in his laboratory focuses on the role of host defense peptides in the defense against infectious diseases at mucosal surfaces. Dr. Diamond has demonstrated his expertise in 60 publications specializing in advances in cellular and molecular biology.