Oral Diseases and Disorders Research

To obtain improved information on craniofacial-oral-dental health promotion, disease prevention, diagnostics, therapeutics, and fundamental scientific research that fuels the engine of patient-oriented and community-based clinical or applied research.

The research portfolio is divided into several

over-lapping programs which support basic, clinical and transitional research from molecular biology to patient-oriented and community-based clinical investigations.


Inherited Diseases and Disorders Program supports research on etiology, pathogenesis, epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of inherited craniofacial-oral-dental diseases and disorders (e.g., ectodermal dysplasia, cleft lip and palate, amelogenesis imperfecta, dentionogenesis imperfecta, osteogenesis imperfecta, and other inherited diseases that have craniofacial-oral-dental manifestations) as well as on normal craniofacial-oral-dental development.

Developmentally related disorders such as occlusion defects and those acquired through trauma is included.


Infectious Diseases Program supports research on etiology, pathogenesis, epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of oral infectious diseases (i.e., viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic) such as dental caries, periodontitis, oral candidiasis, herpes, hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS.

Included is research on immunity with special emphasis on mucosal and salivary immunity; and on the oral manifestations of systemic infectious diseases and the development of new diagnostics and therapeutics.


Neoplastic Diseases Program supports research on the etiology, pathogenesis and metastasis, epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral and pharyngeal neoplastic diseases.


Chronic Disabling Diseases Program supports the full range of research involving such diseases associated with the craniofacial-oral-dental complex.

These include osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and related bone disorders, temporomandibular joint diseases and disorders, neuropathies and neurodegenerative diseases including those involving oral sensory and motor functions, and autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren's syndrome.

Also included is research aimed at elucidating the relationship between chronic diseases of the craniofacial-oral-dental complex (e.g., periodontitis) and other systemic diseases (e.g., diabetes).


Biomaterials, Biomimetics and Tissue Engineering Program supports research to enhance the development of natural and synthetic therapeutics and biomaterials used for the repair, regeneration, restoration, and reconstruction of craniofacial-oral-dental molecules, cells, tissues, and organs.


Behavior, Health Promotion and Environment Program supports research aimed at assessing the interactive roles of sociological, behavioral, economic, environmental, genetic, and biomedical factors in craniofacial-oral-dental diseases and disorders.

Included are studies aimed at examining the impact of oral health care delivery systems, clinical decision-making, and education on health outcomes.

The Institute also supports Comprehensive Oral Research Centers of Discovery, each of which is organized around a unifying scientific theme pertinent to diseases and disorders of the craniofacial-oral-dental complex, integrates basic, clinical, applied and behavioral research, accelerated science-technology transfer, provides a vehicle for cross-disciplinary and collaborative research, and provides health professionals and the public with the latest information about craniofacial-oral-dental health.

The Research Training and Career Program insures the future of craniofacial-oral-dental research by developing an outstanding and diverse scientific work force through programs designed for high school, undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral stages of education and for continued career development of scientists and retraining of mid-career scientists.

The DiversityinResearch portfolio enhances research onminoritycraniofacial-oral- dental health issues, expands the diversity of the scientific work force, and increases the research capacity of minority institutions and of those serving primarily minority populations.

The Clinical Trials and Clinical Core Centers portfolio recognizes the increasing need to establish a strong foundation for the support of meritorious clinical research.

The Technology Transfer portfolio responds to the increasing partnering of the Institute's Division of Extramural Research with industry in craniofacial-oral-dental research.

It expands on the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs and works closely with the industrial R&D community to identify new opportunities for fostering collaborative efforts.

The SBIR program seeks to increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal research and development; to increase small business participation in Federal research and development; and to foster and encourage participation of socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns and women-owned small business concerns in technological innovation.

The STTR program seeks to stimulate and foster scientific and technological innovation and foster technology transfer through cooperative research and development carried out between small business concerns and research institutions; to increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal research and development; and to foster and encourage participation of socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns and women-owned small business concerns in technological innovation.
Examples of Funded Projects

(1) Research center support coordinated studies of periodontal diseases, clinical cores, dental caries, oral biology, craniofacial disorders, oral cancer, minority oral health, and materials sciences; (2) genomic sequencing of bacterial oral pathogens; (3) metalloproteinases in developing enamel; (4) genetic basis of ectodermal dysplasia; (5) biofilms, including studies of microbial ecology, physiology and transmission; (6) prevention and control of infectious diseases including behavioral approaches, antibiotics and vaccines; (7) development of anti-streptococcal antibodies in genetically engineered plants; (8) endodontic treatment and management of oral AIDS-Kaposi's sarcoma for HIV positive patients; (9); development of HIV diagnostic assays utilizing saliva; (10) epidemiology of HIV associated opportunistic oral infections; (11) papilloma viruses in oral cancer; (12) regulated expression of extra-cellular matrix proteins in oral cancer; (13) biobehavioral aspects of temporomandibular disorders (TMD); 14)pharmacological management of TMDs; (15) brainstem mechanisms controlling jaw movement; (16) neural control of swallowing and mastication; (17) construction of chimeric salivary molecules; (18) etiology and pathology of Sjogren's syndrome; (19) guided bone regeneration with morphogenic protein; and (20) computer assisted detection of dental caries.

Agency - Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services is the Federal government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially to those who are least able to help themselves.

Website Address


Program Accomplishments

Funding for fiscal year 2007 is estimated as follows: 451 noncompeting research project grants at $171,443,000, 169 competing grants at $54,177,000, 34 SBIR/STTR awards at $8,330,000, 8 research centers at $15,259,000, 90 grants in the career development award program at $12,350,000, 27 other research grants at $12,275,000, and 337 positions in the NRSA program at $14,910,000.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Research Grants: Research Grants provide funds for salaries, equipment, supplies, travel, and other expenses associated with scientific investigation in the oral health sciences.

They are awarded to universities, colleges, medical and dental schools, hospitals, and other nonprofit and for-profit institutions.

Awards include investigator-initiated project grants, program project grants, center grants, career development awards to enable investigators with outstanding research potential to develop their careers, and small grants.

Individual and institutional Dentist Scientist Awards are made to provide research career development in both clinical and basic science areas.

National Research Service Awards (NRSAs) can be made directly to individuals for research training in specified biomedical areas, and can be made to institutions to enable them to accept individuals for research training.

Individuals who receive NRSAs may be obligated upon termination of the award to comply with service and payback provisions.

SBIR Phase I grants (of approximately 6-months' duration) are to establish the technical merit and feasibility of a proposed research effort that may lead to a commercial product or process.

Phase II grants are for the continuation of the research initiated in Phase I and that are likely to result in commercial products or process.

Only Phase I awardees are eligible to receive Phase II support.

STTR Phase I grants (normally 1-year duration) are able to determine the scientific, technical, and commercial merit and feasibility of the proposed cooperation effort that has potential for commercial application.

Phase II funding is based on results of research initiated in Phase I and scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of Phase II application.