UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry secured nearly $35 million in total research grants during its 2022 fiscal year, which ended Aug. 31. This sets a new record for the school’s research program.
“Our school’s research mission focuses on finding solutions to treat and prevent illnesses that profoundly affect the communities we serve and beyond,” said Peter Loomer, DDS, PhD, MRCD(C), FACD, professor and dean of the UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry. “Chronic pain, gum disease, substance abuse, autoimmune disease and oral cancer are just some the areas that our researchers focus on. I am thankful for the tremendous support from our funders; and immensely appreciative of all the efforts our outstanding faculty, staff and students dedicate to this critical mission,”
The 28 awarded grants—from the National Institutes of Health, the federal Health Resources and Services Administration and others— span key areas of research in pain management, periodontal diseases and oral biology, population oral health and clinical research. The record amount is well more than the totals in each of the three previous years, which ranged from $11 million to $14 million.
Contributing to this success, the school achieved an astounding 123% increase in total direct funding from the NIH, jumping to $11.26 million in 2022 from $5.05 million in 2021.
“This record-breaking success and growth in research funding for the School of Dentistry is a result of the dedication of the faculty to be a top research institution and the emphasis on research and support from the administration,” said Brij B. Singh, PhD, associate dean for research of the School of Dentistry and professor in its Department of Periodontics.
Top-awarded grants include:
- $9,849,707 from NIH HEAL Initiative to better understand how muscles and tissue interact in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), or jaw joint, to influence and create the sensation of pain, which could potentially lead to novel, more precise therapies for managing pain. Principal investigator: Armen Akopian, PhD, professor of endodontics.
- $3,238,385 from NIH to study the role of epigenetic regulation in Sjogren’s syndrome. Principal investigators: Brij B. Singh, PhD, and Bibhuti Mishra, MD, associate professor of developmental dentistry.
- $2,434,345 from NIH to conduct a clinical trial studying the responsible use of antibiotics in combination with other treatments for periodontal disease. Principal investigator: Georgios Kotsakis, DDS, MS, associate professor of periodontics.
- $2,000,000 from HRSA to support a large special-care dental clinic that will serve adults with special needs as well as children with medical complexities, and provide training for students. Principal investigator: Micaela Gibbs, DDS, MHA, chief dental officer.