Researcher Spotlight: Alessandro Villa, DDS, MPH, PhD
Dr. Alessandro Villa is an Assistant Professor of Oral Medicine in the Department of General Dentistry at the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Villa is also a member of the recently established Center for Oral Diseases (COD).
Dr. Villa participates in the Oral Cancer Research Initiative (OCRI) as a clinical investigator. He is currently studying the oral complications of cancer and cancer treatment, and working on a predictive model for oral cancer in patients affected by potentially malignant oral disorders. In collaboration with other OCRI members, Dr. Villa is studying whether there are any demographic or histopathological factors associated with an increased risk of progression of oral epithelial dysplasia to oral squamous cell carcinoma. In addition, he is investigating the role of miRNA variants and profiling as predictors of malignant transformation in potentially malignant oral disorders.
A key step to improving outcomes for oral cancer patients is to identify the molecular factors driving disease initiation and progression, as these factors represent attractive candidates for targeted therapies. Dr. Villa and his collaborators aim to identify molecular processes, pathways, and regions that may be targeted for the future pharmaceutical treatment of these potentially malignant oral disorders.