With Phase III COBRE support, the MUSC Center for Oral Health Research (COHR) will complete its transition to long-term sustainability as a nationally competitive multidisciplinary research program in oral health. The COHR was conceived to expand the critical mass of funded investigators at MUSC in oral and craniofacial research and to enhance scientific core resources that serve as platforms to increase the capacity of our faculty to compete successfully for NIH funding. The COHR has mentored a total of 28 junior investigators to date, of which 17 have been promoted and 3 have earned tenure;23 of the 28 have been retained at our institution. As a group, they have published more than 250 peer-reviewed papers and abstracts. They have received support from a total of 50 extramural grants, including 24 NIH grants on which they serve as PI or Key Personnel. The major components of this proposal are: A) The Administrative Core providing organizational, coordinating, fiscal and accountability functions;B) The Laboratory Core (L-COHR) providing services through four interactive facilities--the Gnotobiotic Animal Research Facility, Mineralized Tissue Facility, Oral Cancer Research Facility, and Laser Capture Microdissection Facility;C) The Clinical Core (C-COHR) fostering clinical and translational research and stimulating research discoveries through community-based participatory research;and D) The Pilot Project and Feasibility Projects Program providing support for pilot studies to foster research projects that utilize Center resources, personnel and facilities and facilitate interaction with COHR members. The COHR also has an NIH-funded research training component (T-COHR) that complements this proposal. The COHR's growth and activities have fueled a major cultural shift in the College of Dental Medicine and fostered recognition for oral health research at both campus and national levels. Research discoveries and grant success have created an interactive, supportive environment for research in the College of Dental Medicine. Thus, the Center for Oral Health Research is strategically positioned for long-term success as a critical resource for investigators developing new technologies, therapeutics and interventions to enhance the oral health of people in South Carolina and the United States.
The national health expenditures for dental services exceeded $102 billion in 2009. Oral diseases and craniofacial disorders are linked to total health and wellbeing throughout life. Virtually everyone has had at least one oral disease, e.g., dental caries, periodontal disease, cold sores or cancer. Many suffer from oral and facial pain. General risk factors, such as tobacco use and poor dietary practices, affect oral/craniofacial health. Data show a connection between oral health and chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cancer.
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