[The Dean’s Speaker Series] Finding a balance: Targeting inflammation to sustain homeostasis in the oral mucosa

Apr, 2019
12:00 PM-01:00 PM

Penn Dental Medicine
William W. M. Cheung Auditorium

Time: 12:00 – 1:00 pm | Lunch provided
Registration Fee: Free; sign-in is required
CE Credits: 1.0 lecture credits


Deregulated immune response to a dysbiotic microflora within the oral cavity leads to chronic periodontal disease, local tissue destruction and various complications at distant tissues. Characterization of the key regulatory pathways at the host-microbe interface is critical to identify therapeutic targets to restrain periodontal inflammation and maintain tissue homeostasis. This presentation will provide an overview of inflammatory pathways which are implicated in the pathophysiology of periodontitis. Specifically, emerging evidence on the role of ubiquitin editing molecule A20 (also known as TNF alpha inducible protein 3 or TNFAip3) as a negative regulator of periodontal inflammation will be discussed.

Educational Objectives

  • To discuss innate signaling pathways implicated with the pathophysiology of periodontal disease
  • To discuss the effect of oral cavity microenvironment to local and systemic tissues
  • To discuss the potential of emerging molecular pathways (e.g. ubiquitin editing molecule A20) as periodontal therapeutic targets
  • To discuss the preclinical and clinical disease models to study biological responses in the oral mucosa


Dr. S. Esra Sahingur is a board certified periodontist and professor in the Department of Periodontics and a senior member of Philips Institute for Oral Health Research in the School of Dentistry at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). She is also affiliated with the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine and Center for Clinical and Translational Research in the School of Medicine at VCU.

Dr. Sahingur obtained her DDS from Istanbul University and her Master’s, PhD and clinical residency from State University of New York at Buffalo. In her role at VCU, Dr. Sahingur is actively involved in clinical and didactic teaching, mentors faculty and students and supports numerous university and school-wide initiatives to improve research and teaching endeavors. She is a core member and serves in the leadership team of Scientific Review Committee and Center for Clinical and Translational Research in the School of Medicine to promote translational research efforts. Dr. Sahingur also serves in the School of Dentistry Research Strategic Plan Task Force. Dr. Sahingur successfully led and continues to lead multiple federally-funded research projects, published numerous articles and presented nationally and internationally. She serves in the editorial boards of several journals and NIH study sections as a chair and/or reviewer. Dr. Sahingur received many awards which recognized her contributions to the teaching and research activities including VCU Women in Science, Dentistry and Medicine Award, VCU Outstanding Mentor Award and Dean’s Excellence Award for Research.

Dr. Sahingur’s research focuses on studying the role of immune and inflammatory pathways and host-pathogen interactions in periodontal disease pathogenesis, genetic and epigenetic susceptibility to periodontitis and identification of molecular markers that link oral and systemic diseases. She has on-going collaborations with multiple departments within the School of Medicine and College of Engineering at VCU as well as outside institutions. Sahingur and her team initiated the studies that revealed the involvement of nucleic acid sensing and ubiquitination in periodontal disease pathogenesis and more recently the link between gut, liver and oral cavity axis.

University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider. ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry.

University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine designates this activity for 1.0 continuing education credits.