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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 30, 2007

UI researchers part of dental cavity research project

A multi-site research consortium that includes several University of Iowa researchers recently received more than $1 million from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to study the genetic and environmental causes of cavities. The two-year project is part of the National Institute of Health's Genes, Environment and Health Initiative.

The funding will allow researchers at the UI and several other universities to manage and organize data and genetic samples for the investigation of the genetic and environmental causes of dental cavities. They will later assist with data analysis, interpretation and reporting.

Steven Levy, D.D.S., the Wright-Bush-Shreves Endowed Professor of Research in the UI College of Dentistry and a professor of epidemiology in the UI College of Public Health, is the UI subcontract project director.

"There are many gaps in our scientific knowledge of causes of cavities," Levy said. "Sometimes people with apparently very similar situations or habits have very different cavity rates. Genetic factors are thought to be important."

The UI will receive $156,000 of the total grant funding. The UI research team also includes Marcia Willing, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, and Teresa Marshall, Ph.D., assistant professor of preventive and community dentistry in the UI College of Dentistry.

Other universities participating in the research include the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Washington, the University of Michigan and the University of California, San Francisco. The overall project director is Mary Marazita, Ph.D., at the University of Pittsburgh.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032,; Writer: Brandy Huseman.