Paulo Camargo, DDS, 2002 Bud and Linda Tarrson Fellow:
What is your research focus?
My research program focuses on the regeneration of the periodontal tissues around natural teeth, preservation and reconstruction of the alveolar ridge following tooth extraction, and on the etiology, pathogenesis and treatment of peri-implantitis.
What has/have been the most significant contribution(s) of your research to our specialty?
Our group at UCLA was the first one to conduct controlled clinical trials showing the effectiveness of regenerative procedures aimed at preserving the dimensions of the alveolar ridge following tooth extraction. We have also published extensively on the influence of various modalities of bone grafts, guided tissue regeneration and bioactive molecules and preparations in achieving periodontal regeneration. Recently, we developed a murine model of peri-implantitis that has the potential to assist us in dissecting the pathogenic mechanisms involved in bone loss around dental implants at the cellular and molecular levels.
What are some future directions of your research program?
I want to continue to focus on preventive and regenerative strategies to preserve the natural dentition and to have a better understanding of peri-implantatitis, so that we can prevent complications and increase the longevity of dental implants.
What influence did the support from the Foundation have on your career as a researcher?
The support from the foundation came at a time when I was being reviewed for tenure at UCLA. Receiving the Bud and Linda Tarrson Scholarship in 2002 was instrumental in my promotion to Associate Professor at UCLA, because it is the highest recognition that a junior faculty member in Periodontics can receive. The interaction with the Foundation also allowed me to meet and develop relationships with faculty members from other institutions, which led to scholarly collaborations that lasted to date. Additionally, it was with assistance from the Foundation that I was able to support highly qualified individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds in participating in periodontal research.