Current Research Highlights


Mark W. Beatty, DDS, MSE, MSD, MS

Professor, Department of Adult Restorative Dentistry

Evaluation by Clinicians to Determine Precise Interproximal Contacts

Drs. Paul Hansen, Ariel Atwood, Mallory Shanahan and Mark Beatty studied different methods to evaluate interproximal contacts on ceramic restorations and determined that accufilm and shim stock were most accurate. Hansen PA, Atwood A, Shanahan M, Beatty, M. Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry (2020) 123:284-289.

Effect of Water Dilution on Full-Arch Gypsum Implant Master Casts

Drs. James Sheets, Alvin Wee, Mark Beatty and Mr. Bobby Simetich evaluated different water dilutions of three gypsum products to determine if setting expansion could be reduced, as means to minimize implant analog location discrepancies with the mouth. For three gypsum types, dilutions up to 200% did not reduce expansion and unfavorably affected other properties, with type IV gypsum being least affected. Sheets JL, Wee AG, Simetich B, Beatty MW. Prosthesis (2020) 2:266-276.

Greg Bennett, D.MD

Gregory Bennett, DMD

Assistant Professor, Department of Adult Restorative Dentistry

Interactive Touch Walls in Action

Describes a technique for using the iEXCEL iWALL to teach CAD/CAM dentistry concepts by connecting several types of digital technology. Bennett, G (2019). In L. Love & M. Blusys (Eds.), THRIVE: Success strategies for the modern-day faculty member (p 19). Omaha, NE: Office of Faculty Development, University of Nebraska Medical Center.


David G. Dunning, MA, PhD

Professor, Department of Oral Biology

How Dental Service Organizations Strategically Navigated the Pandemic: Applauding a Successful Business Model

Dr. Dunning joined Mr. Ken Davis of Pacific Dental Services and dental college alumnus, Dr. Bob Madden, on this project.  The article focuses on how dental service organizations such as Heartland Dental and Pacific Dental Services leveraged their business systems and economies of scale successfully to navigate the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Dunning, D.G., Davis, K.J, and Madden, R.D.  Archives of Dentistry, 2020: 2:21-27.


Thomas M. Petro, PhD

Professor, Department of Adult Restorative Dentistry

Amyloid precursor protein is a restriction factor that protects against Zika virus infection in mammalian brains

This article's findings suggest that amyloid precursor protein (APP) is a restriction factor that protects against Zika virus infection by serving as a decoy receptor, and plays a protective role in Zika virus-mediated brain injuries. Lingel A, Lin H, Gavriel Y, Weaver E, Polepole P, Lopez V, Lei Y, Petro TM, Solomon B, Zhang C, Zhang L. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2020 Oct 7:jbc.RA120.015165. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA120.015165.

IFN Regulatory Factor 3 in Health and Disease

This review article summarizes the research showing that Interferon Regulatory Factor 3 is a key protein that is activated shortly after virus infections, which can have profound outcomes to the success or failure of antiviral immunity. Thomas M. Petro. Journal of  Immunology. 2020 Oct 15;205(8):1981-1989. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.2000462.

Epstein‐Barr virus‐immortalized B lymphocytes exacerbate experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in xenograft mice

The data here suggest that the Epstein Barr Virus-mediated proliferation of B lymphocytes may be a risk factor for the exacerbation of Multiple Sclerosis, in which gut microbiome changes are associated with Blood Brain Barrier modulations. Furthermore, we described a new useful model of Multiple Sclerosis whereby multiple xenografts of Epstein Barr Virus-immortalized cells injected into C57BL/6 mice cause relapsing-remitting MS with predictable severity and timing. Pascal Polepole, Alison Bartenslager, Yutong Liu, Thomas M. Petro, Samodha Fernando and Luwen Zhang. Journal of Medical Virology. 2020 Jun 16. doi: 10.1002/jmv.26188.

Chlorovirus Acceleration of Motor Neuron Disease in SOD1G93A Transgenic Mice may Clarify some of the Augmented anti-Chlorovirus Serology in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Patients

The results here indicate that chloroviruses, ubiquitous in fresh waters worldwide, induce antibody responses in humans that are elevated in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and may accelerate motor neuron disease in the SOD1G93A type of familial Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Thomas M Petro, Gary L. Pattee, Zachary P. Guinn, Irina V. Agarkova, David D. Dunigan and James Van Etten. Journal of Immunol May 2020, 204 (1 Supplement) 64.22.


John W. Reinhardt, DDS, MS, MPH

Emeritus Professor, Department of Adult Restorative Dentistry

Factors contributing to student satisfaction with dental loupes and headlights

This survey was conducted in 2018 to all D2-D4 and DH 4 students who had purchased dental loupes at least one year prior to the survey. Of all characteristics evaluated for loupes, customer service and sales representatives received the lowest satisfaction ratings. For headlights, battery-related factors (battery life in hours, rate of recharging, size or weight and on/off controls) received the lowest satisfaction scores. Information collected and reported in this way can help future students make better decisions when selecting products, vendors and features that will best meet their needs. Reinhardt, John W., Romine, Jarrett J. and Xu, Zheng. Eur J Dent Educ 2020;24:266-271. DOI:10:1111/eje.12493.

Dr. Minnie Vishwanath, B.D.S

Meenakshi (Minnie) Vishwanath, BDS, MDS, MDentSc

Assistant Professor, Department of Growth and Development

Orthodontic and surgical management of a patient with severe mandibular deficiency and asymmetry with condylar hypoplasia using 3-dimensional surgical planning in combination with a modified surgery-first approach

Dr. Vishwanath along with Drs. Janakiraman, Steinbacher and Uriben used the modified surgery first approach to treat a 17-year-old patient with dentofacial deformity that caused psychosocial stress, symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness, and functional limitations. This not only led to improvement of the patient's esthetics but also to a better quality of life. Vishwanath M, Janakiraman N, Steinbacher DM, Uribe F. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2020 Sep;158(3):426-442.

James K. Wahl, III, PhD

James K. Wahl, III, PhD

Professor, Department of Oral Biology

miRNA- and cytokine-associated extracellular vesicles mediate squamous cell carcinomas

This was a study to demonstrate that the cell adhesion protein desmoglein 2 influences release and the composition of extracellular vesicles. These vesicles are believed to regulate head and neck squamous cell carcinoma progression. Flemming, J.P., B.L. Hill, M.W. Haque, J. Raad, C.S. Bonder, L.A. Harshyne, U. Rodeck, A. Luginbuhl, J.K. Wahl, 3rd, K.Y. Tsai, P.J. Wermuth, A.M. Overmiller and M.G. Mahoney. 2020. J Extracell Vesicles. 9:1790159.

Shayla Yoachim, PhD

Shayla D. Yoachim, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Oral Biology

Estrogen Receptor Alpha Signaling Is Responsible for the Female Sex Bias in the Loss of Tolerance and Immune Cell Activation Induced by the Lupus Susceptibility Locus Sle1b

Shayla Yoachim, PhD and colleagues from UNMC Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Anatomy investigated the impact of estrogen receptor alpha signaling on lupus susceptibility and disease progression in B6.Sle1a and B6.Sle1b congenic mice. Graham, J., Yoachim, S., and Gould, K. (2020) Frontiers in Immunology, 11: 582214.


Periodontology Faculty

Erica E Jasa, Jessica M Gradoville, Mary M Christiansen, Kaeli K Samson, Richard A Reinhardt, Jeffrey B Payne, Amy C Killeen

Effects of enamel matrix derivative on clinical and inflammatory outcomes in periodontal maintenance patients: Randomized controlled clinical trial

Efficient methods to treat persistent pockets during periodontal maintenance therapy (PMT) require further investigation. The hypothesis of this randomized controlled clinical trial was that local application of enamel matrix derivative (EMD) added to papilla reflection/root preparation (PR/RP) could enhance clinical and inflammatory outcomes, primarily clinical attachment level (CAL). It was determined that the addition of EMD to PR/RP does not significantly improve clinical or inflammatory outcomes compared with PR/RP alone during periodontal maintenance therapy. Journal of Periodontology 2020;91(11):1400-1408.