Recent Awards Granted to Faculty

January/February 2018

Dr. Robert Caudle, 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. 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 Sciences 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.


July/August 2017

Dr. Roger FillingimDr. Roger Fillingim, Community Dentistry and Behavioral Sciences/Director of the Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence (PRICE) is a participant of the National Institute of Health and the National Institute on Aging Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01AG054764).  As a renowned pain researcher and former president of the American Pain Society, he provides the principal investigator, Dr. Yu-Jung Wei, UF Department of Pharmacology with career development training and resources related to pain mechanisms and research.


Dr. Micaela Gibbs, Community Dentistry and Behavioral Sciences received an award for $7,307 from Health Resource Source Administration, for a six-month project entitled “Ryan White Dental Reimbursement Program for University of Florida College of Dentistry Community Based Programs” (T22HA31224). The purpose of the program improves access to oral health care services for low-income, underinsured and underserved people living with HIV (PLWH), and to train dental and hygiene students, and dental residents to deliver dental care to these individuals.

Dr. Gibbs is a former faculty member for the Florida and Caribbean AIDS Education and Training Center, and previously was the dental director of an HIV-only public health facility.


Dr. Shannon Wallet, Department of Oral Biology received two awards in July. The first is a subaward from Dr. Benjamin Keselowsky, Department of Biomedical Engineering, originating from the NIH/NIDCR R01DE027301. The project is entitled “Tissue-targeted enzyme for localized tryptophan catabolism to direct subcutaneous and oral mucosal inflammatory responses”. Dr. Wallet is receiving $179,354 over a four-year period for her extensive experience with immune regulation, as well as immunity/pathogenesis of periodontal disease.

Dr. Wallet also received a University of Florida College of Dentistry’s Bridge Funding, for $45,000. The program, intended to provide limited interim financial support for ongoing funded federal research projects, which have a strong chance for external support based on excellent priority scores or very positive reviewer comments.  Bridge funding is provided by the UFCD Office of Research, the Center for Molecular Microbiology and the Center for Immunology and Transplantation.


Danielle Vermilyea, a graduate assistant in the Department of Oral Biology received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F31DE027278) for an Individual Predoctoral Fellowship, from the NIH/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research entitled “Determining how PPAD modulates Porphyromonas gingivalis biofilm development.” The award is given to promising predoctoral students and totals $79,621, covering a two-year period.  Danielle is mentored by Dr. Mary Davey, Associate Professor in the Department of Oral Biology, while she continues with her dissertation research.


Dr. Kesavalu Lakshmyya, Department of Periodontology received $419,375 from the NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The two- year project (R21NS102926) is entitled “Periodontal bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease”. Dr. Lakshmyya is collaborating with Drs. Yona Levites and Todd Golde of the Department of Neuroscience in the College of Medicine for their expertise in neuroinflammatory mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases. Together they will work towards determining a link between oral bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease.