URI scientist awarded $2.2M grant to study oral bacteria

2016 08 25 16 27 40 366 Bacteria 400

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health has awarded a five-year $2.2 million grant to a scientist at the University of Rhode Island (URI) to study oral bacteria.

Matthew Ramsey, PhD, an assistant professor of cell and molecular biology, and a team of researchers will investigate the relationship among the 20 to 30 most encountered species of bacteria in the supragingival plaque. The researchers will study the role mouth bacteria plays in overall health. Research has shown that there is a relationship between killing good bacteria in the mouth and an increased risk of elevated blood pressure.

The researchers will focus on understanding the mechanisms responsible for bacterial interactions and how the systems promote a healthy community of bacteria assembling in the mouth. Specifically, they hope to identify the mechanisms that lead to the expulsion of invading pathogens that cause disease.

At the end of the five-year study, Ramsey expects to understand how the bacteria in the supragingival plaque maintains a healthy community.

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