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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

Research team

Research support
  • Richard Bright
  • Neelika Roy Chowhury - PhD candidate
  • Simona Gatej - PhD candidate
  • James Lee - PhD candidate
  • Garima Sharma - Doctor of Clinical Dentistry candidate
  • Lasni Kumarasinghe - Doctor of Clinical Dentistry candidate
  • Wing Chuan Chen - Doctor of Clinical Dentistry candidate
  • Christine Chan - Honours candidate
  • Peter Varga - Honours candidate
  • Michael Kim - Honours candidate
  • Joshua Lee - Honours candidate
  • Lucas Ciacciarelli - Honours candidate


  • 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

Interested in undertaking a postgraduate research degree with us?

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.