Reynolds Group

“The research programs of the Oral Health CRC focus on the prevention and early diagnosis of oral disease, and on the known links to systemic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.“ - Laureate Professor Eric Reynolds AO

Research

The Oral Health CRC is a large multidisciplinary group located at the Bio21 Institute and the School of Dental Science that investigates oral diseases at a microbiological, immunological and molecular level. This information is then used to design and develop novel preventive and therapeutic strategies to combat the causes and progression of oral diseases such as periodontitis and dental caries. The Oral Health CRC encompasses a wide variety of disciplines, including structural chemistry, bacterial proteomics and transcriptomics, bacterial ecology, bacterial biofilm analyses, immunology, protein chemistry and peptide vaccine technology. The team has already discovered and characterized novel calcium phosphate stabilizing peptides involved in biomineralisation and commercialized these under the trademark of Recaldent as preventive agents to stop and reverse the progression of enamel demineralisation (dental caries). The further characterisation of the efficacy, clinical applications, structure-function relationships and mechanisms of action of these peptide-mineral complexes and their interaction with salivary proteins is ongoing. As part of research program the group have also characterized a novel antimicrobial peptide (Kappacin) that has activity against oral bacterial biofilm and are currently investigating further bioactive peptides.

Chronic periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that results in destruction of the supporting tissues of the teeth, is the main cause of tooth loss in adults and is a major health problem in Australia. The disease is caused by a consortium of specific Gram-negative bacteria, including Porphyromonas gingivalis and Treponema denticola, that exist as part of a polymicrobial biofilm on the tooth surface. The CRC has an integrated program of research studying these Gram-negative bacterial pathogens and their interactions with each other and the host. The aims of this program are to develop novel diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccine technologies to prevent periodontal disease and to learn more about the immune response in bacterial-mediated chronic inflammatory diseases and the methods by which bacteria communicate and coordinate their activities in biofilms.

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Techniques

Using recently developed techniques the team is studying the proteome and transcriptome of these bacteria and have developed novel bacterial biofilm culture techniques to study how the interactions between these species contribute to the disease. They are also now interested in using metabolomic approaches to investigate these biofilms. The CRC-is developing and assessing novel peptide-based vaccine technologies. They have characterized novel virulence factors of P. gingivalis and secretion, transport and genetic regulatory systems and determined the contributions of these to the virulence of the bacterium.

Biography

Professor EC Reynolds has over 20 years experience in molecular biology, biochemistry, immunology, microbiology, cariology and periodontology. He has published over 172 peer-reviewed publications and 19 patents and has supervised over 50 BSc(Hons), BDentStud, MDSc and PhD students. Seven patents have been licensed to Recaldent Pty Ltd and GC (Japan) and another six have been licensed to CSL Ltd.

Professor Reynolds has been closely involved in technology transfer associated with all licence agreements.

In 1999 Professor Reynolds was invited to join the Editorial Board of the Journal of Dental Research; the pre-eminent dental journal of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) and the American Association for Dental Research (AADR).

Professor Reynolds is a Board member and Chief Executive Officer of the Oral Health CRC as well as the Head of the Melbourne Dental School at The University of Melbourne.  Professor Reynolds was the Chief Executive Officer of the previous CRC for Oral Health Science, leading the Centre for seven years and through a successful rebid.

On the recommendation of the Honours Committee, The University of Melbourne Council appointed Professor Eric Reynolds a Melbourne Laureate Professor. This honour, rarely bestowed, is reserved for the most distinguished members of academic staff at The University of Melbourne and indicates the extraordinary high standing that Professor Reynolds enjoys within the University of Melbourne and both nationally and internationally.