Andrea Escalante, a College of Dentistry PhD student, presented her research during the recent AADCOR conference.

Student researcher recognized for study of proteins in saliva

An abstract by PhD student Andrea Escalante received high scores in a review by the International Association for Dental Research's Salivary Research Group.

Research by a College of Dentistry PhD student has received recognition from a group that represents international salivary researchers.

An abstract by Andrea Escalante (DDS) Degradation of histatin 5 as a marker of periodontal disease received high scores in a review by the Salivary Research Group, earning her an award in the graduate student category.

The Salivary Research Group, a scientific group within the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), announced the award at an event held March 16 during the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) and Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR) meeting in Portland, OR — North America’s most prestigious dental, oral and craniofacial research conference.

“It’s very satisfying to have your work recognized by others in your field of research. The opportunity to share it with fellow researchers from across North America provides encouragement for my efforts and the research we are doing at the College of Dentistry and University of Saskatchewan,” Escalante said.

Histatins are salivary proteins that are degraded by oral proteolytic enzymes. The degradation rate and mode of histatin 5 differs between healthy individuals and with periodontitis.

Escalante’s study, conducted under the supervision of Dr. Walter Siqueira, aimed to determine if a key periodontopathogenic microorganism, Porphyromonas gingivalis, degrades histatin 5, and to determine its degradation rate and mode, compared to other non-periodontopathogens.

The findings demonstrated that P. gingivalis plays a key role in the degradation of histatin 5. The unique fragments produced after the degradation of histatin 5 by P. gingivalis may represent a novel, innovative and promising biomarker of periodontal disease.

The Salivary Research Group is one of the main scientific groups within the IADR, the leading forum for dental researchers to present their oral care research results. The group’s efforts are focused on salivary glands and saliva — from its biology and evolution to correlated diseases or disorders.