Keith L. Kirkwood, DDS, PhD, 2005 Tarrson Fellow:
1. What is your research focus?
My research focus has largely centered on understanding cell signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms that control periodontal inflammation and bone destruction. By understanding these mechanisms, we have found several potentially novel therapeutic targets to control periodontal disease progression.
2. What has/have been the most significant contribution(s) of your research to our specialty?
We have demonstrated that the cell signaling pathway called p38 MAPK and its molecular targets of phosphorylation are vital for perioodontal disease through inflammatory cytokines and osteoclastogenesis.
3. What are some future directions of your research program?
I continue to work on translated my bench science towards clinical application through discovery and translational studies. Hopefully, we will be able to bring novel therapeutics to treat periodontitis and peri-implantitis in the future.
4. What influence did the support from the Foundation have on your career as a researcher?
The Tarrson Fellowship represented the first real award early in my academic career that fostered my choice in staying in academics. I am truly grateful for this acknowledgement.