Sunstar Awards $30,000 Grants to Three AAP Members

Dentistry Today


Three members of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) will receive Sunstar Innovation Grants of $30,000 each as part of the AAP’s partnership with oral health and technology company Sunstar.

Kevin M. Byrd, DDS, PhD, will research “An Atlas of Experimental Gingivitis in Humans at Single Cell Resolution” to develop chairside tools that predict gingivitis to periodontitis conversion and develop specific adjuvant therapies for periodontitis-affected individuals based on the principles of precision medicine.

“Recently, there has been an exponential increase in our understanding of human diseases,” said Byrd. “However, even for common oral diseases like periodontitis, we have just begun to grasp the complexity of interactions at play.”

Maria L. Geisinger, DDS, MS, will research “Development of Multimedia Educational Materials for Caregivers to Enable Optimal Oral Hygiene Provisions for Patients With Dementia” to develop multimedia tools that can be used to educate professional and familial caregivers for patients with moderate to severe dementia about delivery of oral hygiene.

“Our team at the University of Birmingham, in conjunction with our geriatric specialist nursing faculty, has developed a protocol that reduces care-resistant behavior during oral hygiene delivery to dementia patients,” said Geisinger.

Chun-Teh Lee, DDS, MS, DMSc, will research “Improving Periodontal Health Through a Precision Periodontal Health Care Chart” to effectively educate patients, monitor their risk profile for periodontitis progression, and improve treatment outcomes using a precision periodontal healthcare chart in an electronic health record system.

“The precision periodontal healthcare chart will provide patients information about the association between periodontitis and systemic diseases and a personal risk profile for periodontitis,” said Lee.

As part of the Innovation Grant program, Sunstar has committed $250,000 toward six research grants to select AAP members over a three-year period, which began in 2017. Members of the AAP’s Research Submissions Committee examine all abstracts against criteria established by Sunstar and the AAP. Bird, Geisinger, and Lee are the fourth, fifth, and sixth award recipients.

“These three projects have the potential to have a profound impact on the practice of periodontics and the quality of care received by periodontal patients,” said Richard T. Kao, DDS, PhD, president of the AAP.

“Sunstar’s continued generosity in backing this important research will contribute to the impact of the specialty for years to come. The Academy greatly appreciates Sunstar’s longstanding dedication to furthering the science and practice of periodontics,” Kao said.

“This year’s work by the Sunstar Innovation Grant recipients continues to provide support towards the commitment to improving oral health and prevention of periodontal disease. We at Sunstar are pleased to partner with the AAP in providing this platform for scientific research and, subsequently, the improvement of patient health,” said Tom Raish, senior brand manager, Guidor, of Sunstar Americas.

Bird is a research instructor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry. Geisinger is an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry. Lee is an assistant professor at the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. They will present the results of their studies at a future AAP annual meeting.

Related Articles

Study to Explore VR Smoking Cessation Counseling During Routine Dental Cleanings

URI Researcher to Explore Relationships Between Oral Bacteria

Grant to Support Development of Material That May Replace Amalgam