Dr. Nguyen Sjögren’s Syndrome Research Grant Renewed
Dr. Cuong Nguyen, a Research Assistant Professor in oral biology at the University of Florida (UF) College of Dentistry, was recently notified that the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation (SSF) is extending his current research grant for a second year, saying his renewal application had “demonstrated clear and significant progress during the first year of his grant.”
The $35,000 grant is in support of his project “Suppression of TH17 cells using IL-27 gene therapy: A potential therapeutic approach for the treatment of Sjögren’s syndrome.” This study focuses on characterizing the different cell populations within lymphocytic infiltration in salivary glands of Sjögren’s syndrome patients and using gene therapy to down-regulate pathogenic TH17.
As many as four million Americans are living with Sjögren’s syndrome, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes people’s white blood cells to attack their moisture-producing glands. Hallmark symptoms include dry eyes and dry mouth, but Sjögren’s can also cause dysfunction of other organs, such as the kidneys, gastrointestinal system, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and the central nervous system. It is one of the most prevalent autoimmune disorders, and 90% of patients are women.
Dr. Nguyen completed his Ph.D. in Immunology and Microbiology in 2006 at UF and joined the UF faculty in 2009. The lab he works with in the Department of Oral Biology focuses on many aspects of Sjögrens syndrome, including:
- Development of animal models for Sjögren’s syndrome
- Identification of genetic susceptibility region(s) using animal models of Sjögren’s syndrome
- TH17 cells and signal transduction in the immune system regulation and function
- Application of microarray analysis for pathogenesis and biomarkers for autoimmunity
- Exocrine glands regeneration using stem cells
- Application of microengraving to identify novel autoantibodies in autoimmune diseases
- Potential therapeutic approaches (e.g., gene therapy) for autoimmune diseases
UTHSC Class of 2012 Wins ADHA YouTube Contest
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) Dental Hygiene Class of 2012 won a YouTube contest sponsored by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA). The winning video is a self-produced music video entitled “Headed for the ADHA,” referring to the ADHA’s upcoming AHDA-Center for Lifelong Learning’s (CLL) 88th Annual Session in Nashville, Tennessee. You can view the winning entry on the ADHA website.