The following is a list of current faculty involved in research who could serve as potential advisors.

For additional information on exploring research opportunities, contact Dr. Esra Sahingur, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Student Research,


Hydar Ali, PhD
  • Role of a novel mast cell-specific G protein coupled receptor in host defense and inflammation
  • Studies with human and mouse mast cells in host defense and inflammation
  • Cell culture, signaling and in vivo studies
Kathleen Boesze-Battaglia, PhD
  • Role of metabolic coupling in visual function; implication for age-related disease
  • Mechanisms of phagocytosis uses by cells in pathogen response and cellular homeostasis
  • Novel agents that target lipid homeostasis in disease models
Gary H. Cohen, PhD
  • To study the molecular events that mediate the entry of Herpes simplex virus (Oral and genital forms) into human cells
  • To understand the sequential cascade of conformational movements in HSV glycoproteins that lead to fusion of virion membranes with cell membranes
  • To understand the human Immune response to HSV, focusing on the antibody response to each of the virion glycoproteins
  • To characterize the human antibody response to a mRNA vaccine (Phase 1 trial) directed at a trivalent vaccine consisting of subunits of gD, gC and gE: correlates of protection
  • To develop a therapeutic cocktail of recombinant antibodies of ameliorate the effects of HSV genital neonatal herpes
Henry Daniell, PhD
  • Oral delivery of affordable biopharmaceuticals
  • Drug development to treat dental caries, diabetes, hemophilia, pulmonary hypertension, diabetic retinopathy, Alzheimer’s disease and COVID-19
  • Vaccine development for cholera, tuberculosis, malaria, polio and plague
  • Bone regeneration among drug development and SARS-CoV-2 in vaccine development
Cagla Akay-Espinoza, MD
  • Molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the contribution of comorbidities and genetic factors to neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s Disease and HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders
George Hajishengallis, DDS, PhD
  • Novel mechanisms of microbial dysbiosis, inflammation and tissue homeostasis
  • Impact of aging on the immune system
  • Complement-targeted inhibition of periodontal disease
Kelly L. Jordan-Sciutto, PhD
  • Effects of neuroinflammation on neuronal and oligodendrocyte function in the context of HIV infection and neurodegeneration
  • Development of induced pleuripotent stem cell derived models of CNS cell interaction including organoid and triculture models
  • Pharmaogenomic risk factors for cognitive impairment associated with treatment of HIV
Claire Mitchell, PhD
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Pain
  • Physiology of Lysosomes in health and disease
  • Effect of elevated pressure on neuronal death
  • Pharmacological and molecular manipulation of lysosomal Cl-channels to improve degradative activity in aging and diseased cells
Robert P. Ricciardi, MA, PhD
  • Molecular mechanisms of viral tumorigenesis and disease
  • Inflammation and Cancers
  • Prevention of replication of vaccinia virus, the cousin of bioterroristic threatening small poxvirus
Bruce J. Shenker, PhD
  • Mechanisms of immunoregulation, microbial pathogenesis and immunotoxicity
  • Aggregatibactor (formerly Actinobacillus) actinomycetemcomitans, Fusobacterium nucleatum and Treponema denticola modulation of B and T cell function
Flavia Teles, DDS, MS, DMSc
  • Oral microbiome in health, disease initiation, progression and in response to periodontal treatment and implant placement as well as the investigation of the microbial ecology of the oral cavity
  • In vitro and ex vivo (obtained from patient samples) biofilm models
  • Oral microbiome and carcinogenesis
Marco Tizzano, Ph.D.
  • Physiological mechanisms regulating the mucosal microbiome
  • Taste receptors and mucosal innate immunity
  • Role of taste receptors in: airway inflammation, periodontal disease, cancer pathology, human health and well being, caries and neurogenic pain
  • Role of olfactory receptors in trigeminal neurogenic pain
Shuying (Sheri) Yang, MD, MS, PhD
  • Exploring the mechanism of tooth and bone development, bone metabolism and mechanotransduction
  • Gene/stem cell therapy of bone diseases
  • Characterizing how RGS proteins regulate aging skeleton, arthritis and oral/bone cancer
  • Ciliary IFT proteins and primary cilia affect tooth development, fracture healing and other bone related diseases

Bekir Karabucak, DMD, MS
  • Inflammatory mediators in the dental pulp
Su-Min Lee, DDS, MSD, DScD
  • Biology of the dental stem cells
  • Regeneration of the dental pulp
  • Dental tissue engineering
  • Biomaterials
Frank Setzer, DMD, MS, PhD
  • Properties of endodontic instruments
  • Clinical detection, prognosis and assessment of periradicular pathology, in particular apical periodontics, utilizing CBCT imaging in Endodontics
  • Outcome of Endodontic procedures, with a focus on endodontic surgery and endodontically treated teeth versus dental implants

Sunday O. Akintoye, BDS, DDS, MS
  • Orofacial bone mesenchymal stem cell characteristics and therapeutic applications
  • Biological mechanisms of ameloblastoma growth and recurrence
  • Complications of oral cancer management
  • Evidence-based dentistry
  • Dental manifestations of metabolic diseases
Katherine France, DMD, MBE
  • Impact of biologic agents (directed medications isolated from living organisms) on dental status, healing, and treatment
  • Role of dental providers in vaccination efforts
  • Ethics in dentistry
Eugene Ko, DDS
  • Head and neck sarcomas
  • Non-pharmacologic approaches to chronic oral pain management
  • Oral pathology
Thomas P. Sollecito, DMD, FDS, RCSEd
  • Facial pain
  • Mucosal disease
  • Treatment of medically complex dental patients
  • Head and neck radiation therapy
Eric T. Stoopler, DMD, FDSRCS, FDSRCPS
  • Oral Mucosal Diseases
  • Health Professions Education
  • Oral Lesions
  • Orafacial Pain
  • Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction

Myung (Brian) Chang, DDS, FACP, FAAMP
  • Reconstruction for Head and Neck Cancer
  • Curriculum Development
  • Tissue Engineering
Chider Chen, PhD
  • Stem cell biology and stem-cell based therapy
  • Hard and soft tissues regeneration
  • Cancer stem cells in oral cancer
Brian P. Ford, DMD, MD, FACS
  • Dental implants
  • Complex bone grafting
  • Anesthesia
Eric J. Granquist, DMD, MD
  • Facial trauma
  • Maxillofacial infections
  • TMJ disorders
Elliot V. Hersh, DMD, MS, PhD
  • Clinical studies with analgesic and anesthetic agents
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
Anh D. Le, DDS, PhD
  • Gingival tissue stem cells in regeneration
  • Bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw, or BRONJ
Neeraj Panchal, DDS, MD, MA
  • Complex Dental Implant Reconstruction
  • Craniofacial Trauma and Reconstruction
  • Maxillofacial Pathology
  • Pain Management
Katherine Theken, PharmD, PhD
  • Clinical and translational studies of analgesic medications in post-surgical pain
  • Mechanisms of variability in drug response
  • Pharmacology and toxicology
Steven Wang, DMD, MD, MPH
  • Orthognathic surgery
  • Dental implants
  • Bone grafting
Qunzhou Zhang, PhD
  • Immunomodulatory/anti-inflammatory functions and regenerative potentials of gingiva-derived mesenchymal stem cells (GMSCs)
  • Interactions among tumor cells and stromal and immune cells within tumor microenvironment and their contribution to pathogenesis of head and neck tumors

Chun-Hsi Chung, DMD, MS
  • Craniofacial growth and development
  • Rapid palatal expansion
Hyeran Helen Jeon, DDS, MSD, DScD
  • Bone remodeling
  • Wound healing
  • Maxillary expansion using temporary anchorage devices (TADs)
Hyun (Michel) Koo, DDS, MS, PhD
  • Biofilms and oral infectious diseases
  • Novel therapeutic strategies to control pathogenic biofilms associated with dental caries

Joseph P. Fiorellini, DMD, DMSc
  • Periodontal regeneration and implantology
Dana T. Graves, DDS, DMSc
  • An examination of the wound healing response and the other project involves an assessment bacteria induced periodontal bone loss
  • Use genetic deletion to shift the host response, which can rescue the negative effect of diabetes on both complications
  • A number of parameters will be examined in both projects to quantify the impact of gene deletion and diabetes on critical molecular events that control cytokine production, inflammation, the response of lymphocytes and macrophages and tissue formation
  • The techniques used include histomorphometry, computer assisted image analysis, flow cytometry, western blot analysis, immunofluorescence, PCR, chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, etc
Kang I Ko, DMD, DScD
  • Investigating immunoregulatory function of oral fibroblasts for facilitating scarless wound healing
  • Role of immune-mesenchyme crosstalk for maintaining cutaneous homeostasis
  • Cell death mechanisms responsible for pathologic inflammation in experimental periodontitis
  • Stromal regulation of inflammatory infiltration and bone loss in peri-implantitis
Jonathan Korostoff, DMD,PhD
  • Immune and inflammatory response
  • Bacterial cytotoxin
  • Bone regeneration
  • Mechanisms of periodontal pathogenesis
  • Alveolar bone regeneration
Sinem Esra Sahingur, DDS, MS, PhD
  • Immune and inflammatory pathways in periodontal disease pathogenesis
  • Genetic and epigenetic susceptibility to periodontitis
  • Link between oral and systemic diseases
Rodrigo Neiva, DDS, MS
  • Periodontal wound healing
  • Dental implants
  • Periodontal regeneration
  • Bone and soft tissue augmentation

Joan Gluch, PhD, RDH, PHDHP
  • Oral health promotion and clinical care in community-based settings
  • Training programs for pre-doctoral and post-doctoral dental students and interdisciplinary programs in community based care
Hyun (Michel) Koo, DDS, MS, PhD
  • Biofilms and oral infectious diseases
  • Novel therapeutic strategies to control pathogenic biofilms associated with dental caries

Hyun (Michel) Koo, DDS, MS, PhD
  • Biofilms and oral infectious diseases
  • Novel therapeutic strategies to control pathogenic biofilms associated with dental caries

Markus B. Blatz, DMD, PhD, Prof Dr med dent
  • Dental esthetics
  • Restorative materials
  • Implant dentistry
Myung (Brian) Chang, DDS, FACP, FAAMP
  • Reconstruction for Head and Neck Cancer
  • Curriculum Development
  • Tissue Engineering
Geelsu Hwang, PhD
  • Applying engineering principles and tools to understand the pathogenesis of various biofilm-associated oral diseases and to develop therapeutic approaches
  • Developing ambulatory dental devices that can diagnose and address oral maladies
  • Investigating the dynamic interplay between host and microbes
Francis K. Mante, BDS, MS, PhD, DMD, MA (Hon)
  • Physical properties of dental materials
  • Fracture toughness of cad-cam and printed zirconia
  • Effects of oral cancer radiation treatment on physical properties of dentin and enamel
  • Adhesion of dental composites of tooth structure
  • Surface treatment of zirconia for osseo-/chondro-integration
Fusun Ozer, DMD, PhD
  • Adhesive dentistry
  • Developing more biologically stable adhesive/dentin interface
  • Determining the contribution of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) to enzymatic degradation at resin/dentin interfaces and trying to prevent their activity by using the proprietary MMP 8 and 9 derived peptide inhibitors
  • Enhancement of antibacterial and physical properties of dental restorative materials by combining them with Zeolite aluminosilicate biomaterial
Kyle Vining, DDS, PhD
  • Investigating Immuno-Mechanical Regulation of Fibrosis
  • Targeting Myeloid Cell Fate in Head and Neck Cancer
  • Mechanobiology of Immunomodulatory Mesenchymal Stromal Cells
  • Bioinstructive Materials for Immunomodulation in Dental Regeneration
Mark Wolff, DDS, PhD
  • Public health research to deliver oral health care for people with disabilities
  • Assessment of risk markers for caries and periodontitis
  • Caries management using restorative and non-restorative treatments
  • Host modulation and microbiome targeted therapies for periodontitis
Yu Zhang, PhD
  • Designing next-generation graded materials with improved damage resistance and functionalities
  • Developing nanostructured materials for dental and biomedical devices
  • Elucidating competing damage modes in all-ceramic restorations under mastication
  • Characterizing the wear and fatigue behavior of dental ceramics
  • Improving the fracture resistance of veneered prostheses through the reduction of deleterious residual tensile stresses