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Translational Research in Oral Health Science

Our research investigates the molecular stress response of microbial pathogens during the transition from health to disease in the host. 

The Translational Research in Oral Health Science group utilises continuous culture, biofilm and animal models—with proteomic and genetic techniques—to study the physiology and molecular changes associated with bacterial responses to stress associated with prolonged antimicrobial exposure and to bacterial responses to allogenic and autogenic changes.

More recently our research has focused on the relationship between extra-oral diseases as a result of the migration of oral bacterial to niches not normally associated with colonisation.

Oral diseases such as periodontitis allows oral bacteria to gain entry to the circulatory system, where they can potentially migrate and infect other areas of the body. Diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and adverse pregnancy outcomes are only a few of the pathologies linked to oral diseases. 

We also investigate the development and removal of multi-species and axenic bacterial biofilms grown on natural substrates using 3D-printed flow cells. In particular, we are investigating the effectiveness of D-amino acids in dispersing and inhibiting biofilm development using species of bacteria that contribute to dental caries.

Lead researcher: Dr Peter Zilm

Research team

  • Professor Mark Bartold - Emeritus Professor
  • Dr Tracy Fitzsimmons
  • Associate Professor Giampiero Rossi-Fedele
  • Associate Professor Tony Rogers - Visiting Research Fellow
Research support
  • Richard Bright
  • Neelika Roy Chowhury - PhD candidate
  • Simona Gatej - PhD candidate
  • Matthew Macowan - PhD candidate
  • Deon Naicker - Doctor of Clinical Dentistry candidate
  • Garima Sharma - Doctor of Clinical Dentistry candidate
  • Christine Chan - Honours candidate
  • Dunia Khider - Honours candidate
  • Michael Kim - Honours candidate
  • Joshua Lee - Honours candidate
  • Alen Rahulen - Honours candidate
  • Farah Wali - 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

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.