The overall objective of the Laboratory-based Core of the Center for Oral Health Research (L-COHR) is to provide MUSC researchers with a unified Core that provides access to methodologies and guidance on research project planning and implementation for studies using complex tissues, specialized microbial flora, and environment of the oral cavity. To achieve this objective, the L-COHR is composed of four distinct but interactive facilities: 1) Oral Cancer Research Facility, 2) Laser Capture Microdissection Facility, 3) Gnotobiotic Animal Research Facility, and 4) Mineralized Tissue Facility. Collectively, these facilities provide researchers with a full spectrum of services and expertise including the generation and use of mouse models in pathogen-free conditions, mouse models of tumor progression, cellular and molecular analysis of tumor and tissue samples, and the analysis of mineralized tissues and associated pathologies. L-COHR was conceived and initiated during the second phase of COBRE funding due to a new cadre of investigators at MUSC with expanded research needs and recognition of gaps in available services on campus for techniques and approaches used in oral health research. The Director of L-COHR is an established, highly respected scientist and educator with responsibilities for oversight of all Core activities including services, education, training and outreach. Each of the four facilities is directed by expert faculty;L-COHR is also staffed by five trained and experienced research and animal technicians who assist in the daily operations of each facility and L-COHR as a whole. Overall, L-COHR has compiled essential resources and expertise to assist researchers with their projects in the areas of microbial pathogenesis, oral cancer and mineralized tissue research. The services offered by the Core are either novel methodologies within the University or procedures that require expertise to generate meaningful data. The Core will benefit the Center members by providing a unified facility to conduct and analyze these complex experiments and offer advice and training in research related to the Center goals. Additionally, the Core will continue to offer new services to the University research community and improve our overall research efforts.
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 and data show a connection between oral health and chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cancer. The national health expenditures for dental services exceeded $102 billion in 2009.
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