This grant will help to support Dr. Biswas's research for the next five years. The NIH awarded the grant to Dr. Biswas from a very competitive pool of applicants – fewer than 10 percent of grant applications are considered each year.
S. mutans is one of the most common bacterial infectious agents in humans. If left untreated, the bacterium primarily causes tooth decay. Research has shown that cavities are the most common chronic disease in childhood, one that costs Americans billions of dollars annually. In some instances, this bacterium can cause other serious health problems which include heart disease and premature births.
S. mutans produces many harmful substances known as virulence factors that allow them to grow inside the human host and cause diseases. Dr. Biswas's laboratory is interested in the mechanisms by which these bacteria regulate its virulence repertoire in response to host signals encountered during infection. Specifically, they have focused their studies on the regulatory networks required for the expression of these virulence factors. Dr. Biswas, his lab staff and students are also studying to identify novel proteins that can be used as vaccine candidates for the prevention of the diseases caused by this bacterium. This funding will provide opportunities for the development of new approaches to the prevention and treatment of dental caries.
The NIH, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research in the United States. NIH is the steward of medical behavioral research for the nation. Its mission is science in pursuit of fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. Helping lead the way toward important medical discoveries that improve people's health and save lives, NIH scientists investigate ways to prevent disease as well as find the causes, treatments and even cures for common and rare diseases.
For more information, please contact Dr. Biswas at Indra.Biswas@usd.edu.