Oral Diagnostics and Rehabilitation
The division is divided in two units, Oral Diagnostics and Surgery and Oral Rehabilitation. The research within the Unit for Oral Rehabilitation is conducted within the Orofacial Neuroscience Group.
Malin Ernberg is Head of the Division. By now she is also Head of the Unit of Oral Diagnstics and Surgery. Anastasios Grigoriadis is Head of the Unit for Oral Rehabilitation. The division conducts research within Oral Immunology and Cancer, Orofacial Medicine, including Gerodontology, Oral Radiology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orofacial Pain and Oral Sensorimotor Regulation.
Oral Immunology and Cancer
The research focuses on immunological mechanisms effective in eliminating microbial pathogens associated with chronic diseases and cancer. A main track is antiviral lymphocyte engineering for immunotherapy of virus infections and cancer. We also investigate the link and cause-effect relationships between opportunistic microbiota and diseases along upper gut, incl. oral cavity to liver and pancreas. We are particularly interested in human oncopathogens and opportunistic commensals, alterations in tissue/biofluid microbiome, transcriptome, and metabolic signatures that have impact on disease resolution or treatment interventions. Recently we initiated new assay development projects to support detection of Fusobacteria and Sars-Cov2 mucosal immunity in biofluid including saliva. The overall aim is to define the immunological and microbial community related pathways associated with the biology of infection and cancer cell metabolism, to develop clinically relevant biomarkers and therapeutic interventions to improve cancer prevention and cure.
The research group on oral radiology is oriented towards multidisciplinary research and involved in international research projects, with a focus on the use of 2D and 3d imaging modalities for aiding diagnosis in other oral and maxillofacial specialties. At the moment there are collaborative projects with the department of orthodontics and maxillofacial surgery within KI, and internationally with the respective research groups at the University of Bergen and the omfsimpath research group at KULeuven. Research is focussed on 2D and 3D image segmentation for diagnosis, planning and outcome prediction, mainly addressing artificial intelligence applications. A second attention point is radiation dose reduction, with a specific focus on pediatric applications, such as for cleft lip and palate patients.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Research in oral and maxillofacial surgery focus on antibiotic stewardship in dentistry, i.e. the optimal usage of antibiotics and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD). The research in antibiotics is translational collaborating to cover the identified knowledge gaps within antibiotic usage in dentistry by combining epidemiological studies with clinical trials and basic science. The TMJD research aims at characterizing the patients with TMJ disorders clinically and tissue based to improve diagnostics, treatment planning, prediction of outcome, and open for new non-surgical treatment options.
For more information about the projects, see Research in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
The research within Orofacial Medicine is conducted in two areas, Oral Medicine and Gerodontology. The research within Gerodontology is conducted at the Academic Center for Gerodontotology, ACT.
Elisabeth Boström’s group focuses on immune processes and molecular mechanisms underlying chronic inflammatory conditions with the emphasis on monocytes and macrophages. The lab studies the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, and periodontitis. We employ advanced methodology to characterize the function of involved immune cells and molecules and have a translational approach where human clinical biopsy tissues and primary cells are used for mechanistic studies. The lab also studies oral manifestations of Crohn’s disease with the overall hypothesis that oral mucosa mirrors intestinal mucosa. Immune alterations, presented in oral mucosa and saliva, may reflect not only local involvement but also intestinal disease, and may be of value in the diagnosis and monitoring of Crohn’s patients.
Rachael Sugar’s group focuses on developing clinical and histopathological models for oral lesion diagnostics. Principally, we are concerned with the manifestations that result following hematopoietic cell transplantation in the form of Graft versus Host Disease. Oral complications in the mucosa and salivary glands are investigated to advance clinical and diagnostic criteria, and the search for predictive biomarkers. Further, machine learning, and in particular deep learning methodologies are being developed to provide unique tools to increase digital diagnostic capabilities, precision and accuracy. Deep learning algorithms are applied for predictive oral lesion (pre-malignant and malignant) diagnostics to create prognostic and treatment application models. The long-term aim is to strengthen pathologist / clinician interactions by providing provide rapid accurate oral histological assessments for clinical decision-making and personalized medicine.
For information about individual projects, see Oral Biology and Medicine Group
The major research area for Gunilla Sandborgh-Englund’s group is in oral epidemiology focusing on register-based studies. These are performed in research areas related to gerodontics and the interaction between oral and general health, as well as the treatment and care aspects of the oral health of older persons in a multi-disciplinary perspective.
Inger Wårdh’s research group focuses on oral health in older individuals that today keep their natural teeth, sometimes completed with advanced tooth replacements, up in high ages when multimorbidity and functional impairment increase. This new dental scenario places a great oral care burden both on the dental profession and individual level but also on health and nursing care. We try to identify efficient methods and routines for oral and dental care in this patient group to preserve oral functions as long as possible. This work is done in cooperation between dentists and dental hygienists but also include medical and nursing professions as well as professions that handle the social side of care for older people. Ongoing projects deal with masticatory ability, domiciliary oral care, dental fear and oral care education to older patients and nursing staff.
The group has two main themes, one focusing on research question within Orofacial Pain and Jaw Function and one within Oral Sensorimotor Regulation and Chewing Function. The Orofacial Neuroscience Group is part of the Scandinavian Center for Orofacial Neuroscience (SCON), which is a brick-less center of leading research groups at KI, Malmö University and Aarhus University.
Orofacial Pain and Jaw Function
The main focus of the research is on orofacial pain of muscular origin, from causes to treatment in both children and adults, and its sex differences. The research is translational, spanning from basic research conducted in patients and matched pain-free controls via human experimental studies where pain is induced experimentally, to clinical intervention studies. The research methods include e.g. intramuscular microdialysis, microbiopsies, conditioned pain modulation, exercise-induced analgesia, quantitative sensory testing (sensory and pain thresholds for warmth, cold and mechanical stimuli), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electromyography (EMG), jaw tracking, as well as immunohistochemistry, genomics and proteomics (in collaboration with other researchers). The group also conduct pedagogic research.
For information about individual projects, see Orofacial Pain and Jaw Function
Oral Sensorimotor Regulation and Chewing Function
The research group specializes in behavioral and clinical studies in the field of orofacial neurosciences and oral rehabilitation procedures. Our specific focus is on the basic somatosensory and motor mechanisms of the masticatory system. The group particularly specializes on investigating how loss of tactile sensibility due to tooth loss, and subsequent rehabilitation with dental prosthesis including dental implants influences the individual’s biting and chewing capacity. We have developed novel techniques to evaluate and study motor physiology and sensory-motor mechanisms involved in the control of biting and chewing behaviors.
We are also involved in clinical studies investigating how impaired chewing function contributes to the development of malnutrition, cognitive impairment, and quality of life in general. The knowledge acquired from the basic experiments are directly implemented in the clinical practice to restore and optimize oral rehabilitation procedures. We believe that chewing impairment is an underexplored and modifiable risk factor contributing to poor quality of life especially in the aging population. The outcome of the group’s research activities in the future will facilitate the development of novel clinical methods and effective routines for increased sensorimotor regulation and optimization of chewing function.