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Dental researcher tapped with international oral health award

by Cindy Abole
Public Relations
Understanding basic science related to periodontal or gum disease, bone loss and new, innovative treatment possibilities in humans is an area of research that inspires translational scientist Keith L. Kirkwood, DDS, Ph.D., associate dean for research and associate professor in the College of Dental Medicine. Kirkwood’s interest and hard work has led him to being selected as one of three international oral health researchers to receive the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare 2008 Innovator in Oral Care Award.
Dr. Keith Kirkwood

Kirkwood joined Urban Hagg, DDS, Prince Phillip Dental Hospital, University of Hong Kong in China, and David T.W. Wong, DMD, DMSc, University of California at Los Angeles School of Dentistry, in sharing this award and a $225,000 research grant. Kirkwood and his fellow honorees each receive a $75,000 grant award, which recognizes innovative research in oral care technologies that improves oral care and quality of life for patients. The trio gathered in Toronto, Ontario on July 3 to receive their awards at the 86th IADR General Session & Exhibition.
“It’s an honor to receive this international oral health award,” said Kirkwood, who joined MUSC in February. “It’s my hope that research opportunities like this will lead to more clinical studies, demonstrate promise for advanced investigational drugs and provide an effective systemic delivery system that can be placed in several disease models. It’s this type of research that will provide hope and enhance and improve oral and systemic health for South Carolina residents. ”
Kirkwood and other winners were among a field of 35 teams of international researchers in this year’s competition. In its fifth year, the awards are jointly sponsored by IADR and GSK, and funded exclusively by GSK. IADR’s mission is to advance research and knowledge to improve oral health worldwide by partnering with industry, health agencies, scientific/educational organizations, etc. The awards provide opportunities for researchers to conduct dental research that may have a direct impact on oral health and the public. GSK grants have supported about 190 teams from 26 countries and provided more than $1 million in research funding.
Kirkwood won with his research study proposal, “Targeting Post-transcriptional Signaling for Periodontitis,” which explores the role of post-transcriptional cytokine regulation in periodontal inflammation and bone loss and the possibilities for new treatments in periodontal disease and other chronic inflammatory diseases. A translational scientist, Kirkwood hopes to use the award to focus on integrating basic and translational inflammation and bone loss. The award is for a one-year period until July 31, 2009. Later, Kirkwood will submit a final report describing his research outcomes by next August.
“GlaxoSmithKline is privileged to work with the IADR in providing the Innovation in Oral Care Awards to help such talented teams of researchers develop new treatments and products,” said David Alexander, Ph.D., director of Global Dental Professional Relations, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. “The IADR membership comprises some of the most innovative scientists and clinicians in the field of oral health. All three winning entries address very significant quality-of-life issues and GSK hopes that these innovative concepts will one day be widely available as new products to improve the lives of those suffering from disease.”
This grant is one of a handful of oral health awards available to active researchers in the dental research community. It also comes at a time when MUSC has made great strides in research funding. Last month, the institution announced that it reached an all-time high of more than $202 million in total research funding and more than $101 million in NIH grants and awards – a $9 million increase from FY07 in overall research funding.
“The IADR/GSK Innovation in Oral Care Award is quite an honor as it is a prestigious global recognition,” said Stephen M. Lanier, Ph.D., MUSC Associate Provost for Research and pharmacology professor. “We are very fortunate to have Dr. Kirkwood here at MUSC and this recognition will further accelerate the translational research programs here at MUSC.”

Friday, Sept. 5, 2008
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