Grant to Explore Use of Nisin in Preventing Periodontal Disease

Dentistry Today


The Sunstar Foundation has awarded its first Innovation Grant to Yvonne Kapila, DDS, PhD, of the University of California at San Francisco School of Dentistry. Her project, “Natural Bacteriocins as Pre/Pro-Biotics to Promote Oral Health and Prevent Periodontal Disease,” is investigating the use of prebiotics or probiotics containing nisin or nisin-secreting bacteria to maintain a healthy oral microbiome and prevent the formation of pathogenic biofilms associated with periodontal disease. 

Under the Innovation Grant program, the Sunstar Foundation will award 6 research grants of $30,000 each to select members of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) over a 3-year period, starting in 2017. The program is designed to support research endeavors with significant potential to advance the science and practice of periodontology. It is open to all AAP members, with abstracts judged on established criteria developed by Sunstar and the AAP.

“The Sunstar Innovation Grant will allow our team of clinicians and scientists to explore nisin’s effects on oral biofilm composition using both in vitro and in vivo model systems. Nisin has a long history of safety and a broad range of biomedical applications, and it could add value in our understanding of periodontal health and periodontal disease prevention,” said Kapila. “I am so pleased and honored that this very important initiative was chosen by the AAP and Sunstar to receive additional funding.”

“Sunstar and the AAP share a common interest in innovative treatments and research that serve to alleviate the high burden of periodontitis in the United States,” said Aaron Pfarrer, senior director of professional relations with Sunstar. “We are confident that Dr. Kapila’s study will lay the groundwork for novel methods of periodontal disease prevention. We look forward to many important updates on this groundbreaking research.”

Kapila will present the results of her study at a future AAP Annual Meeting. AAP members who are actively conducting scientific research in a clinical setting are invited to submit research abstracts and proposals for the consideration of future grant awards. Applications will be accepted this fall. For more information about the Sunstar Innovation Grant, contact scientific affairs manager Stephanie Heffner at

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