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March 18, 2014

Dr. George Hajishengallis to Receive 2014 IADR/AADR William J. Gies Award

Dr. George Hajishengallis

Dr. George Hajishengallis

Philadelphia — The research of Penn Dental Medicine’s Dr. George Hajishengallis, Professor, Department of Microbiology, has been recognized by the International and American Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR) through their annual IADR/AADR William J. Gies Awards for Biological Research.

Dr. Hajishengallis and collaborators Dr. Richard P. Darveau and Dr. Michael A. Curtis from the University of Washington and Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, respectively, have been selected to receive the 2014 IADR/AADR William J. Gies Award in the category of biological research for the paper, “Porphyromonas gingivalis as a Potential Community Activist for Disease,” J Dent Res. 91: 816-820. The award for biological research will be presented at the AADR Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Charlotte, N.C., on March 19.

An extensive analysis of dental plaque samples over the years has led to the identification of “red” complex oral bacteria that have a strong association with each other and with disease. Consequently, these bacteria have been labeled ‘periopathogens’. Studies with one of these bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis), have revealed that it contains several different mechanisms that either impede or modulate periodontal protective mechanisms. In a mouse model of periodontitis, it has been shown that modulation of complement function by P. gingivalis facilitates a significant change in both the amount and composition of the normal oral microbiotia. This altered oral commensal microbiota is responsible for pathologic bone loss in the mouse. Thus, P. gingivalis creates a dysbiosis between the host and dental plaque, and this may represent one mechanism by which periodontitis can be initiated. The authors of this study therefore termed P. gingivalis a keystone pathogen.

The annual Gies Awards recognize the best papers published in the IADR/AADR Journal of Dental Research and are presented in three categories: biological research, biomaterials and bioengineering research, and clinical research. The award is named for William J. Gies, the founder of the Journal of Dental Research. Nominations may be made by any person, and the papers chosen must describe work which has significantly advanced knowledge in some aspect of dental research. Papers eligible for consideration are those published during the 12-month period (July-June) immediately preceding the AADR Annual Meeting and IADR General Session. The 2014 awards in the biomaterials and bioengineering research and clinical research categories will be presented at the IADR General Session & Exhibition in Cape Town, South Africa, in June 2014.

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