Basic Science Research 

Macrophage Activation in Periodontitis Associated with Diabetes

Periodontitis and diabetes mellitus are two interconnected chronic conditions affecting a significant and increasing percentage of the world population.  Un-resolved inflammation is central to their pathogenesis and therapeutic control of one condition has a positive impact on the other.  Professional phagocytes (e.g. neutrophils and macrophages) play critical roles in inflammation and its resolution.

This project investigates the roles of resolving macrophages and their therapeutic activation by the Ω-3-derived SPM resolvin E1 (RvE1) in maintenance of periodontal and metabolic homeostasis during chronic dietary caloric overload (high-fat diet).

Blood vessel

Rolling leukocytes

Attached leukocyte

Gingival Leukocyte Recruitment

Clinical and Translational Research

Non-Invasive Imaging of Periodontal Tissues by Combined RMS and mOCT

There is a lack of reliable tools to monitor small changes in periodontal tissue structure that can predict disease onset and progression around teeth and dental implants in susceptible individuals.    

The goal of this study is to test the validity and reliability of a combined RMS (Raman microspectroscopy) and mOCT (micro-optical coherence tomography) instrument in assessing marginal periodontium in health and periodontitis, in collaboration with Physical Sciences, Inc.   The RMS/mOCT probe will allow for accurate monitoring of disease activity and response to therapy, and personalized management of periodontal and peri-implant conditions.








RMS/mOCT  Imaging of Gingiva






Development of a Functional Biomimetic Drug Delivery System Targeting Phagocytes 

Professional phagocytes recognize, neutralize and eliminate non-self (pathogens) and altered-self (modified tissue components) to maintain homeostasis.  However, in chronic conditions such as periodontists, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, un-resolved inflammation sustained by immune cells leads to disease progression. 

This project develops and provides proof-of-concept evidence for a novel phagocyte-targeted drug delivery system.   The system includes a particulate formulation for specific drug delivery to phagocytes, and biomimetic functionalization (mimicking pathogen neutralization) for efficient drug delivery to and around phagocytes in inflamed tissues.  





Pathogen Neutralization 

Monocyte Immunophenotyping and SPM profiling in CAD/T2D

This project aims to characterize peripheral blood monocytes and SPMs in overweight/obese patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D).   Patients admitted to BIDMC Cardiology for investigation and treatment of CAD, and who undergo diagnostic cardiac catheterization, are recruited in this study.

The results of this research will provide insights into mechanisms of  inflammation resolution failure in T2D and CAD, and will identify novel biomarkers to advance personalized and precision cardiovascular medicine.

Active Grants

Murine Heart

R00 NIH/NIDCR (Sima):  Regulation of Inflammation in T2D-Associated Periodontitis

R44 NIH/NIDCR (Iftimia):  Optical Probe for Real-Time Assessment of Periodontal Health Status

R01 NIH/NIDCR (Han):  Regulatory B cells in the amelioration of immune-mediated periodontal disease

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