Roger Arce, DDS, PhD, 2014 AAP Foundation Fellow to the ADEA/AAL Institute for Teaching & Learning in the Health Professions, 2012 Educator Scholar:
What is your research focus?
My current research focus aims to understand how bacteria associated with periodontal disease interact with immune cells in the gingiva, not only leading to local immune dysregulation (inflammation and bone loss), but also contributing to other complex medical conditions.
What has/have been the most significant contribution(s) of your research to our specialty?
The research conducted during my dual PhD/Perio training at UNC demonstrated innate pro-inflammatory mechanisms and pathways that may explain the association between oral infections, periodontal disease and pregnancy complications.
What are some future directions of your research program?
Future directions in my research at GRU include further understanding of mucosal immune mechanisms mediated by antigen presenting cells (dendritic cells). My long-term goal is to develop and test immunomodulatory vaccine/based therapeutics against periodontal disease.
What influence did the support from the Foundation have on your career as a researcher?
The support of the AAPF has had a great impact in my career, not only as an educator, but also as a researcher. The unique opportunity to work with and interact with renowned clinicians/researchers who are active members/donors of the AAPF community has impacted my understanding of how to pursue clinical significance through modern basic science research. I look forward to continuing the legacy of many who have greatly impacted our understanding of periodontal disease pathogenesis and treatment.