Research in the Calcified and Connective Oral Tissue Focus Group spans tissue, cell and molecular biology centred on pain control, wound healing, regeneration and repair of hard and soft oral tissues, and the use of lasers for pain control and caries prevention.

LASER APPLICATIONS research examines the effects of laser on pain control after surgical removal of wisdom teeth, and the preventive effects of laser in caries development by purifying enamel hydroxyapatite (HA) and blocking the diffusion pathway of acids in enamel.

PAIN BIOLOGY research examines synaptology, neuro-connectivity and neuro-transmission of the Trigeminal cranial nerve involved in pain in the oral and facial region. Current findings show the presence of a sustained and prolonged microglial reaction in the caudal spinal trigeminal nucleus after formalin injection into the rat lateral face. Another project, entitled "Qualitative light and electron microscopic study of glutamate receptors in the caudal spinal trigeminal nucleus of the rat", has provided baseline information for the development of agonists and antagonists of ionotropic and metabotropic glutamate receptors in the clinical treatment of orofacial pain.

Sample of rabbit palate after surgical wounding

PALATAL MUCOSAL WOUND HEALING AND SCARRING research aims to study the effect of surgical scarring on subsequent facial growth in patients born with cleft lip and palate deformity. The biochemical profile of the mucosal wound of the rabbit palate following surgical trauma is analysed. The current activities utilize immunohistochemistry to study the location and concentration of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor, Fibroblast Growth Factor-beta, Collagen Type 1 and 3, Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS), and the adhesion molecule, Cadherin. Oxidative Stress of the mucosal wound is concurrently studied through Lipid Peroxidation.

Extracellular matrices in cartilage-compartment, 51 days after bone marrow stromal cell seeding and 33 days after chrondrocyte seeding (SEM, x150)

BONE REGENERATION research in the context of "Tissue Engineering of Osteochondral Composite for Articular Defect Repair" is directed to support the overlying neocartilage formation and assist in anchoring the graft within the articular defect. Another project entitled "Bone Tissue Engineering in
Ti-Implant/PCL-Scaffold Construct", has great potential for clinical applications in tissue-engineered bone graft fixation and scaffold fixation in guided bone regeneration. Expressions of bone matrix proteins and growth factors using immunohistochemical methods are also currently used to study membranous bone healing in rat calvarial defects. Studies is also underway to investigate the effects of fibrin glue and scaffolds as delivery systems of VEGF for in-vivo bone regeneration in a rabbit model.

Research in PERIODONTAL LIGAMENT REGENERATION following dental trauma examines the proliferation, differentiation, migration and attachment of the progenitor periodontal ligament cells to the denuded root surface and the eventual maturation of matrix into an organized and functional fibrous attachment apparatus. This development using current tissue engineering technology for cell growth could also extend to regenerating other dental structures, and advance the feasibility of tooth recycling for reconstructive dentistry.

GENOMICS research examines ptch-1 gene mutations in pathologic odontogenic tissue to explore the possibility of using anti-sense therapy for the treatment of these pathologies in animal models and in future human trials.

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National University of Singapore
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