Dr. Progulske-Fox received her PhD training in Microbiology from the University of Massachusetts and post-doctoral training under the direction of Dr. Stanley Holt. Her research program is focused on the molecular mechanisms of the pathogenesis of Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis), a bacterium associated with adult periodontitis. With the recent indictment of P. gingivalis as a contributor to cardiovascular disease, her laboratory started investigating the mechanisms by which P. gingivalis interacts with and invades human cardiovascular arterial endothelial cells. Finally, the research program is using a new technology called In Vitro Induced Antigen Technology, or IVIAT, to discover new P. gingivalis virulence genes. The IVIAT technology provides a method of finding out which P. gingivalis genes are expressed while causing disease in the human host rather than in an in vitro (test tube) or animal model. By identifying virulence-associated genes that would not be found by conventional methods, Dr. Progulske-Fox hopes to improve our understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms employed by P. gingivalis. It is expected that these newly identified genes and their products will be excellent candidates for therapeutic, diagnostic, and vaccine-design targets. She envisions those diagnostic tests as the first step in the war against periodontal and cardiovascular diseases, eventually leading to the development of a vaccine that would prevent oral bacteria from ever gaining a stronghold in the mouth. Antibiotic or antimicrobial treatments that could kill the bacteria after they have entered the circulatory system might also someday be possible.
Supported by the Colgate-Palmolive Company, this award is designed to recognize, encourage, and stimulate outstanding achievements in basic research in periodontal disease.
The Basic Research in Periodontal Disease Award, which consists of a cash prize and a plaque, is one of 15 Distinguished Scientist Awards conferred annually by the IADR, representing the highest honor the IADR can bestow. Dr. Progulske-Fox will receive the award today during the Opening Ceremonies of the IADR's 84th General Session.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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