NIH 1998 Almanac/The Organization/NIDR/
National Institute of Dental Research : Research Programs
Division of Extramural Research
NIDR is the primary sponsor of dental, oral, craniofacial research and research
training. Through its Divison of Extramural Research, the institute provides funds outside
its intramural laboratories and clinics in Bethesda. Funds are made available in the form
of grants, cooperative agreements and contracts which support scientists working in
institutions throughout the U.S. and in foreign countries. These scientists conduct basic,
translational, patient-oriented and demonstration research to increase understanding of
fundamental processes in health and disease, to promote timely transfer and community
adoption of research findings. The institute also
supports research training and career development to ensure an adequate pool of research
In addition to an Office of the Director, which incorporates research training and
career development, the division consists of the Program Development Branch, which
includes inherited, infectious, neoplastic, and
chronic disabling diseases and disorders; biomaterials, biomimetics and tissue
engineering; and behavior, health promotion and environment--as well as clinical trials
and clinical core centers, diversity initiatives, comprehensive centers of discovery, and
technology transfer.he Program Operations Branch
includes scientific review, grants management, and contracts
Program Development Branch
The Inherited Diseases and Disorders Program supports research from molecular
biology to clinical investigations on normal dental-oral-craniofacial development and on
etiology, pathogenesis, epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of inherited
diseases and disorders such as ectodermal dysplasia, cleft lip and palate, amelogenesis
imperfecta, dentinogenesis imperfecta, osteogenesis imperfecta, and other inherited
diseases that have oral manifestations. Research on developmentally related disorders such
as occlusion defects and those acquired through trauma are included.
The Infectious Diseases Program supports research on etiology, pathogenesis,
epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of oral infectious diseases such as
dental caries, periodontitis, oral candidiasis, herpes, hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS. Research
on immunity is included with special emphasis on mucosal and salivary immunity, and on
oral manifestations of systemic infectious diseases and development of new diagnostics and
The Neoplastic Diseases Program funds
basic, translational, patient-oriented, and community-based research on the etiology,
pathogenesis and metastasis, epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of oral and
pharyngeal neoplastic diseases.
The Chronic Disabling Diseases Program supports a full range of research
involving chronic diseases associated with the dental-oral-craniofacial complex. These
include nonheritable and postnatally acquired diseases and conditions; temporomandibular
joint disorders; neuropathies and neurodegenerative diseases, including those involving
oral sensory and motor functions; and autoimmune diseases. Included is research
elucidating the relationships between chronic diseases of the dental-oral-craniofacial
complex and systemic diseases.
The Biomaterials, Biomimetics and Tissue Engineering Program supports basic,
translational, and patient-oriented research to enhance the development of natural and
synthetic therapeutics and biomaterials used for the repair, regeneration, restoration,
and reconstruction of dental-oral-craniofacial molecules, cells, tissues, and organs.
The Behavior, Health Promotion and Environment Program supports basic,
patient-oriented, and community-based research aimed at assessing the interactive roles of
sociological, behavioral, economic, environmental, genetic, and biomedical factors in
dental-oral-craniofacial diseases and disorders. These include examining the impact of
oral health care delivery systems, clinical decisionmaking, and health promotion on health
The Diversity in Research Portfolio enhances research on minority
dental-oral-craniofacial health issues, expands the diversity of the scientific work
force, and increases the research capacity of minority institutions and of those serving
primarily minority populations. These objectives are achieved through Regional Research
Centers for Minority Oral Health and Collaborative Opportunities for Research Minority
Oral Health grants; through supplements to research grants supporting minority individuals
at the high school, undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral and career investigators levels;
and through collaborative funding through NIGMSs MARC ( Minority Access to Research
Careers) and MBRS (Minority Biomedical Research Support) grants.
The Clinical Trials and Clinical Core Centers Portfolio recognizes the increasing need
to establish a strong foundation for support of meritorious clinical research. The
Clinical Core Centers provide the administrative, scientific and technical core resources
to support clinical dental-oral-craniofacial research, including clinical trials.
Short-term training is provided in the design and conduct of single- and multicenter
clinical trials through the Research Training and Career Development Program.
The Technology Transfer Portfolio responds to NIDRs increasing partnering with
industry in the identification, development, translation and commercialization of new
technologies resulting from dental-oral-craniofacial research. It expands on the Small
Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant
programs, which seek to increase the role of the private sector in cooperative research
and development as well as commercialization of innovations from federally sponsored
The Research Training and Career Development Program ensures the future of
dental-oral-craniofacial research by developing an outstanding and diverse scientific
workforce through programs designed for undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral stages
of education and for continued career development of scientists and retraining of
Comprehensive Oral Research Centers of Discovery are each organized around a scientific
theme pertinent to diseases and disorders of the dental-oral-craniofacial complex. Each
integrates basic, translational, applied biomedical and behavioral research, accelerates
science-technology transfer, provides a vehicle for cross-disciplinary and collaborative
research, and provides health professionals and the public with the latest information
about dental-oral-craniofacial health.
NIDR also funded 50 center grants for an estimated $24.4 million, which was about 17
percent of the DER grant budget. The awards funded 19 exploratory centers; 5 Research
Centers in Oral Biology, which are noncategorical; 2 Oral Health in Aging Centers; 3
Periodontal Diseases Research Centers; 3 Caries Research Centers; 3 Craniofacial Anomalies
Research Centers; 3 Materials Science Research Centers; 4 Clinical Dental Research Core
Centers; 4 Minority Oral Health Research Centers; and 4 Oral Cancer Research Centers.
Program Operations Branch
The Scientific Review Office coordinates initial scientific peer review of a
variety of large research grant applications such as centers and program projects,
training and career development applications, and small grants and conference grant
applications, and coordinates and conducts project site visits and other review
The Grants Management Office is responsible for all fiscal management activities
associated with the review, negotiation, award, administration and termination of grants.
The Contracts Management Office has responsibility for all matters relating to
solicitation, negotiation, award and administration of research and development contracts.
Contracted Research Studies
NIDRs contracted research activities of the extramural and intramural research
programs fund studies to readily translate advances in the basic sciences to
disease-oriented applied research as well as to provide support complementary to basic
science investigations. Interagency agreements with other Federal agencies have also been
utilized to provide support toward these NIDR goals.
Division of Intramural Research
NIDRs Division of Intramural Research conducts basic, translational, clinical and
epidemiological research directed toward increasing fundamental knowledge of oral diseases and related disorders. Areas investigated include biochemistry,
structure, function and development of bone, teeth, salivary glands and connective
tissues; the role of bacteria and viruses in oral disease; genetic disorders and tumors of
the oral cavity; cause and treatment of acute and chronic pain; development of new and
improved diagnostic methods; epidemiology of dental, oral and craniofacial diseases; and
researchers in seven branches, and a series of clinical or laboratory core facilities.
The Gene Therapy and Therapeutics Branch conducts research related to the diagnosis, prevention and management of oral and dental diseases. Primary efforts are
directed at salivary gland gene transfer based on a detailed understanding of salivary
secretion and function. These studies include investigations of xerostomia (dry mouth) and establishing criteria for evaluating
salivary gland status.
The Craniofacial and Skeletal Diseases Branch studies development and structure
of mineralized tissues (bones, teeth and cartilage). Emphasis is placed on acquired
heritable disorders of the skeleton through research in bone and cartilage cell biology,
skeletal tissue metabolism and matrix moleculesmajor components of most tissues and
critical factors in oral tissue development, function and health.
The Pain and Neurosensory Mechanisms Branch has as its primary interests
clinical and basic research on pain mechanisms, the development of new methods of
assessing pain, and evaluating new approaches to pain control. Collaborative studies,
including research on pain associated with cancer and diabetes, have been initiated with other institutes.
Scientists in the Oral Infection and Immunity Branch conduct basic research
on mechanisms of human infectious diseases including bacterial and viral infections
(including AIDS) and their role in governing interplay between oral and systemic health.
Other studies focus on acute and chronic inflammatory responses, including mucosal
immunity and vaccine design and development.
The Craniofacial Developmental Biology and Regeneration Branch investigates the
roles and gene regulation of the extracellular matrix, a key component of connective
tissue, and other cell interaction systems in embryonic development and related processes.
Research focuses on such areas as normal and abnormal embryonic development of
craniofacial and other tissues, cancer metastasis and wound healing.
Research in the Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer Branch is directed toward
understanding the role of growth and regulatory factors in oncogenesis. Studies focus on
molecular mechanisms responsible for conversion of normal cells to a malignant state.
The Oral Health Promotion, Risk Factors, and Molecular Epidemiology Branch
conducts research on the epidemiology of a broad range of oral conditions. Branch
scientists investigate patterns of and genetic basis for a number of oral, craniofacial
and systemic diseases and disorders.
In addition to its branches, the division operates research core facilities or single
standing programs in clinical research, gene targeting, cellular imaging, molecular
structural biology, matrix metalloproteinase biology, and immunopathology.