UW School of Dentistry

Faculty Research Areas

Oral Biology is concerned with the nature of the oral and craniofacial tissues and with the application of basic scientific knowledge to oral health and disease. The courses and research programs in the Graduate Program in Oral Biology deal with the origin, growth and development, structure, and functions of oral tissues, as well as with the etiology and pathogenesis of oral diseases and malfunctions. By its nature, oral biology overlaps with both clinical dental sciences and basic medical sciences.

Research conducted by faculty in the UW Department of Oral Health Sciences and other basic science departments has direct ties with Dentistry and advances in dental research that keep the dental profession strong. In addition, the mouth is the entrance to the body and many aspects of systemic health are reflected in oral health. Our research contributes to our nation’s need for knowledge to develop better prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral diseases that affect us all, from infancy to old age.

Cancer Biology and Virology

Community, Public Health and Health Services Research

  • Donald Chi – Dentistry and public health, Medicaid dental program, dental care utilization for children with special health care needs, multi-level statistical modeling
  • Douglas Conrad – Vertical integration in health services, integrated health systems, and impact of financial incentives on physician behavior
  • Trilby Coolidge –  Decision-making, behavior change, and psychometrics
  • Joana Cunha-Cruz – Oral health epidemiology, social epidemiology, and evidence-based dental practice
  • David Grembowski – Design and performance of health care systems, prevention, and technology diffusion
  • Lisa Heaton – Access to dental care in adults with mental Illness and individuals who avoid dental care due to fear and other barriers
  • Philippe Hujoel – Nutrition with a focus on low carbohydrate diets, harmful effects of diagnostic radiation and evidence-based methodology and applications
  • Amy Kim – Dermatology, bone biology, and oral health.  Research interests include access to care and innovations in dental therapeutics.
  • Brian LerouxStatistical methods for correlated data with applications to dental research and other fields
  • Lloyd Mancl – Statistical methods for dental research with an emphasis on longitudinal and correlated data and applied research on caries, temporomandibular disorders, and periodontal disease
  • Christy McKinney – Oral clefts, maternal nutrition, infant feeding, and global health
  • Norma Wells – Community issues in oral health

Dental Hygiene Training and Research

Microbe-Host Interactions and Immunology

Orofacial Development, Structure and Function

  • Peter Byers – Molecular genetics of collagen disorders
  • Timothy Cox – Understanding the genetic and developmental mechanisms coordinating morphogenesis of the midface and contributing to the susceptibility to cleft lip and palate.
  • Michael Cunningham – Pathogenesis of human malformation syndromes
  • David Eyre – Collagen structure, biomineralization
  • Susan Herring – Craniofacial structure and function
  • Linda LeResche – TMD, pain, hormones
  • Zi-Jun Liu – Biology of craniofacial skeleton and tooth movement
  • Tracy Popowics – Dental morphology and development


Pharmacology and Drug Metabolism

  • Robert Grubbs – Neuropharmacology, neurotoxicology, cell signaling, molecular pharmaocology of the muscarinic cholinergic system
  • Douglas Ramsay – Mechanisms of drug tolerance
  • Rheem Totah – Drug-endogenous substrate interactions

Salivary Gland Biology and Salivary Diagnostics

  • Richard Presland – Molecular aspects of epithelial differentiation
  • Paul Yager – Salivary diagnostics based on microfluidics
  • Jing Zhang – Molecular biomarker for Parkinson’s disease

Stem Cell Biology, Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Structural Biology and Protein Modeling