Translational Research in Oral Health Science

Our research group utilises continuous culture, biofilm and animal models and has the following research focus.

Translational research

Dental caries remains one of the most preventable chronic diseases. It has huge health implications and is a major public health concern. The broad goal of research is the development of 'Intelligent Particles' (IPs) that will specifically target bacteria that cause dental caries.

The IPs will attach to the tooth surface and release anti-microbial compounds if bacteria become adherent. The design of the IPs will be based on an acid-sensitive polymer that will encapsulate antimicrobial ultra-small nanoparticles that bind to tooth pellicle.

Oral disease: Focusing on interrelationships with systemic health

Periodontal disease has been linked to adverse systemic health issues including, diabetes, preterm birth, heart disease, and arthritis. Gut microbiome dysbiosis is associated with other pathologies such as diabetes, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease and heart disease.

Many of these pathologies are linked to periodontal disease, so the project aims to determine whether periodontitis in humans is associated with dysbiotic changes in the gut microbiome and if this is associated with systemic diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, arthritis and cardiovascular disease.

  • Lead researcher

    Dr Peter Zilm

    Dr Peter Zilm’s study areas include:

    • Understanding the relationship between oral health and systemic diseases by monitoring changes in the human microbiome.
    • Developing 'intelligent nanoparticles' as mechanisms to reduce dental caries in the young and elderly.

    Both project areas include collaboration with international and national researchers.

  • Research team

    Research team Role
    Professor Mark Bartold - Emeritus Professor Researcher
    Dr Tracy Fitzsimmons Researcher
    Associate Professor Giampiero Rossi-Fedele Researcher
    Associate Professor Tony Rogers - Visiting Research Fellow Researcher
    Richard Bright Research support
    Neelika Roy Chowhury - PhD candidate Student
    Simona Gatej - PhD candidate Student
    James Lee - PhD candidate Student
    Garima Sharma - Doctor of Clinical Dentistry candidate Student
    Lasni Kumarasinghe - Doctor of Clinical Dentistry candidate Student
    Wing Chuan Chen - Doctor of Clinical Dentistry candidate Student
    Christine Chan - Honours candidate Student
    Peter Varga - Honours candidate Student
    Michael Kim - Honours candidate Student
    Joshua Lee - Honours candidate Student
    Lucas Ciacciarelli - Honours candidate Student
  • Partnerships

    • Dr Claus Christopherson - Edith Cowan University
    • Dr Stephen Kidd - University of Adelaide
    • Professor Claire Roberts - University of Adelaide
    • Professor Krasimir Vasilev - University of South Australia
    • Dr Alex Mira - Centre for Advanced Research in Public Health, Valencia, Spain
    • Dr Laura Weyrich - University of Adelaide
    • Associate Professor - Susanna Proudman, Royal Adelaide Hospital
    • Associate Professor Alison Coates - University of South Australia
    • Dr Tania Crotti - University of Adelaide
  • Related areas of research

Interested in a postgraduate research degree?

We offer exciting opportunities for researchers at the honours, masters and PhD levels. Our research degrees are open to students from a broad range of backgrounds, and range from basic sciences to clinical research. If you are interested in human health, consider furthering your research career with us.

Honours and Higher Degrees by Research

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