Contact: Laura Mackin, 617-638-4888 | lmackin@bu.edu

BOSTON – Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine (BUGSDM)Periodontology and Oral Biology Assistant Professor Dr. Eva Helmerhorst has been awarded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) for her R21 grant application, Oral Fluid Proteolytic Effects on Salivary Protein Structure and Function. The award is
for $446,875 and will be distributed over a two-year period.

Helmerhorst was the principle investigator of the grant application, which focuses on studying how glandular salivary proteins are processed by the whole saliva proteases once they are released into the oral cavity. Functionality of intact salivary proteins has been studied at length, but Dr. Helmerhorst hypothesizes that structural modification to these proteins is taking place in the dynamic oral cavity and as a result one section of the protein may be more active than other. Multiple studies at the basis of her hypothesis have been published in the past two years.

“Up until now, this area has been ignored,” said Dr. Helmerhorst. “By separating the protein
into pieces we will be able to pinpoint if the modifications are causing one section to react
differently than the rest.”

The mission of Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine is to provide excellent education to dental professionals throughout their careers; to shape the future of dental medicine and dental education through research; to offer excellent health care services to the community; to participate in community activities; and to foster a respectful and supportive environment.