Division of Public Health Research

The Division of Public Health Research and Oral Medicine is dedicated to improving the quality of life in high-risk and medically compromised populations by engaging in basic and translational research to promote general health through good oral health practices. From managing large, multi-site research grants to providing non-surgical management of medically-related conditions, the division addresses a wide range of oral health issues.


The division’s research focuses on identifying and implementing novel oral health therapies. As part of its translational research approach, the division pinpoints key laboratory and research discoveries and creates interventions that are applied to patient care. The division has conducted dozens of clinical trials and manages research initiatives spanning topics such as:

  • Sjögren’s Syndrome. The division is known for its research on Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that affects between one and four million people in the U.S. It is characterized by a sicca complex of decreased tears and saliva, burning mouth and the involvement of other organs and systems in the body. The division’s research activities include the identification of biomarkers for the disease, research on the effect of Omega-3 fatty acids on salivation, assessment of cognitive dysfunction associated with Sjogren’s syndrome, and numerous FDA trials on potential therapeutic interventions.
  • Xerostomia (Dry Mouth). The division’s research covers dry mouth caused by cancer therapy, bone marrow transplantation, medication or Sjogren’s syndrome.
  • Geriatrics: The division also researches oral healthcare for an aging population, including caries progression and periodontitis.

Oral Medicine Clinic

The division treats disorders and conditions affecting the oral and maxillofacial region through the Oral Medicine Clinic. Serving medically compromised patients, including those with Sjögren’s syndrome, HIV and other autoimmune diseases as well as those undergoing radiation and bone marrow transplantation, the Oral Medicine Clinic offers preventive protocols and assessments, and then provides referrals for follow-up medical treatment.


Graduate and undergraduate students are exposed to critical oral medicine conditions and treatments through a required rotation in the Oral Medicine Clinic. The faculty members of the division supplement clinical observation through weekly lectures.