Strides in Science

AADR Strides in Science is a monthly feature highlighting an AADR member’s accomplishments and comments on how his/her involvement with AADR has been an important part of his/her career in research. If you would like to nominate a colleague to be featured, please send his/her name to scienceadvocate@aadr.org.

AUGUST 2014

Kesavalu Lakshmyya, B.V.Sc., M.Sc., S.C.C., is an associate professor at the University of Florida, College of Dentistry, Department of Periodontology. Prior to joining the University of Florida faculty, he was an associate research professor at the University of Kentucky, Department of Oral Health Science, Center for Oral Health Research. 

He earned his B.V.Sc. in veterinary medicine and surgery from Madras University, Chennia, India, in 1971; his S.C.C. in advanced statistics from the Institute of Agricultural Research Statistics, New Delhi, India, in 1975; and his M.Sc. in medical microbiology from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, in 1979. Additionally, he was a post-doc fellow at the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Denver and at the University of Texas at San Antonio Health and Science Center, where he worked on a National Institutes of Health-National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research project under his research mentors Jeffrey Ebersole and Stanley Holt. 

Currently Lakshmyya is conducting several research studies, including a clinical study on the association between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, periodontal pathogens and induction of periodontal disease and atherosclerosis in ApoE-/- mouse model, caries pathogenStreptococcus mutans role in atherosclerosis in ApoE-/- mouse model, polymicrobial periodontal disease and localization of periodontal pathogens in periodontium, the association between periodontal pathogens and rheumatoid arthritis in DBA1 and B10 RIII mouse model, and the association between periodontal pathogens and Alzheimer’s disease in humans and animal model. 

Recently, he and a team of researchers released findings about how gum disease can lead to heart disease, which could change the way heart disease is diagnosed and treated. Funded by the NIH-NIDCR, that study is part of a larger one on the effects of gum disease on atherosclerotic vascular disease. Similarly, last year he and a team of UK researchers released findings on the potential link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Lakshmyya has been an AADR member since 1990. As an active member, he has served as an AADR Section officer, and has been a member of the AADR Council and AADR Fellowships Committee. Additionally, he has served as a reviewer for the IADR/AADR Journal of Dental Research.

What motivated you to join AADR?
I joined AADR at the encouragement of my mentors when I was a post-doc fellow. At the time I was working on an NIH-NIDCR project in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey Ebersole and Dr. Stanley Holt. My mentors explained to me the benefits of AADR membership and why I should attend the meetings. Since then, I have attended the meetings and been an active member in the Association. 

What do you find to be the most valuable benefit of AADR membership?
I have found the access to information and to dentists and other researchers to be one of the most valuable benefits of my AADR membership. Being an AADR member enables me to attend the Annual Meetings and present my research, but it also gives me a platform to network with others in the field. I am not a dentist—I rely on my AADR membership to help me meet dentists and researchers in other specialties because that is of interest to me and my research. Being a member of AADR and especially attending the Annual Meetings gives me exposure to all the people I need to meet in order to help further my research. Attending the meetings is a significant resource for a dental researcher and it’s helpful that AADR offers this experience at a discounted rate for members. 

How important has AADR been in your career?
AADR is really the bread and butter that has helped build my career and I am fortunate for the opportunities that my membership has provided to me. I am also grateful to my mentors Dr. Jeffrey Ebersole and Dr. Stanley Holt for introducing me to AADR, I am very fortunate to have them as my mentors. One of the biggest gifts of being part of AADR is being able to collaborate with others in the field of dental research. Having that opportunity available has made a positive impact on my career, and I encourage others who are not members to join and be part of this Association so that they, too, may partake in the membership experience.  

What role does cross-collaboration play in obtaining your research findings?
Cross-collaboration plays a big role in my research and being part of AADR has helped me identify future research collaborators in different disciplines. I have been collaborating with other universities and faculty to do various research projects. In order to have more access to information and to do better research, it’s important to collaborate with others globally. 

 

What’s a message you want to give to future dental researchers?
My advice is really to mentors and faculty but it benefits future dental researchers. I encourage faculty members to mentor students and support them in their growth. I am fortunate that the University of Florida is able to send some of my students and junior researchers to the AADR Annual Meetings so that they have exposure to the specialty science that’s presented at the meeting. We all should encourage more students to attend these meetings and, if we’re not able to help off-set the cost of meeting registration, help them find funding. Grad students and post-docs will benefit enormously from the meetings because they will be the future dental researchers and the future academicians.

 

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