Research at Griffith School of Dentistry
- enhance the quality, relevance and satisfaction of the educational experience for all our staff and students;
- contribute to the development of a research culture across the university, and the professions in the wider practicing community;
- become a recognised first port of call for industrial partners seeking research collaborations to advance health care and oral sciences.
The Dental Education Research Action Group
As the first new dental school in Australasia for 57 years the school regards it as a moral responsibility to be active in education research. The school has a unique opportunity to be avant garde in interprofessionalism (the major conceptual innovation of the School), in curriculum structure (a major opportunity provided by Griffith’s modular course structure across all disciplines), in pedagogy and evaluation. This research group has set as a first priority the creation of a comprehensive database of demography, psychosocial profile, knowledge attitudes and behaviour toward a range of health and social issues for all its student cohorts. This is an essential baseline against which to measure trends over time and the impact of their educational experiences.
The Centre of Excellence in Oral, Head, Neck and Thyroid Diseases
This is a major collaboration between the Griffith School of Dentistry and Oral Health, School of Medicine and Queensland Health Pathology Services. This aims to create the most modern and expert service, teaching and research centre in Australasia and the Pacific which has a high disease burden, especially of upper aero-digestive tract cancers.
The founding members of the Group have international reputations in the epidemiology, prevention, and pathology of these diseases. They are well connected to, and respected by, major relevant international scientific organisations, including the World Health Organisation. The members are regular contributors to the Head and Neck Oncology Multidisciplinary Team meetings at Princess Alexandra Hospital in collaboration with Professor William Coman and are developing laboratory collaborations with other QHPS laboratories, with UQ, QIMR, Mater Hospital and elsewhere at present. Activity ranges from the specialist consultancy service in oral medicine within the School of Dentistry and Oral Health, innovative diagnostic services, including telepathology to remote and off-shore locations, field epidemiology and prevention and laboratory research on diagnostic and prognostic markers, including modern molecular science.
The Osseointegrated Implant Research Group
The replacement of missing hard tissues in the human by or through metallic fixtures which are not only biocompatible but also integrate with bone, is a major surgical advance: whilst applicable to many parts of the body the science is led, globally, by dental implantology and often dental scientists. There is enormous commercial and professional activity which is tending to run ahead of the science. This highly expert group with skills ranging from cell and tissue biology, computing and engineering science, microbiology and surgical expertise and clinical trials and are already addressing questions of implant design in a collaboration between the School of Dentistry and Oral Health and the School of Engineering.
Public Health Research: The National Institute for Rural, Remote and Indigenous Oral Health
This research group has existing projects with local communities, with modest grant funding already, and the collaboration of Queensland Health, dealing with oral health promotion, and a joint PhD student between the School of Dentistry and Oral Health and Public Health at Griffith University on indigenous oral health needs and the barriers to care. A major proposal is being considered by industry for the creation of the NIRROH Australia wide. Discussions are in progress with the World Health Organisation, through the Western Pacific Regional Office, for World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre Status.
The Oral Microbiology and Immunology Group
Most oral and dental diseases have a strong component of microbial pathogenesis, with the host response essential to outcome. Furthermore the mouth is part of the body, the oral mucosa part of the whole mucosal immune system. Work has begun on extending understanding of the host response in periodontal infections, through identification of relevant microbial antigens in cases and controls; and on evaluating vaccines with potential to prevent oral fungal infections. This research group is establishing a clinical service to provide oral health care for the HIV positive community on the Gold Coast.