Patients receiving head and neck radiation during chemotherapy, shortly after suffer from xerostomia. Lack of saliva can cause complications in speech, digestion, and frequent tooth decay all of which are substantial reasons to understand the reasons behind saliva loss.
Saliva producing acinar cells are sensitive to irradiation and shortly after stop their normal function and/or die. This summer I was working with salivary parotid acinar cells trying to understand cell cycling regulation after irradiation induced DNA damage using flow cytometry and western blots. As a result, protein kinase C delta, which is a protein known to be involved in cell death, regulates the cell cycle by arresting it in G2/M phase. My summer research concluded that this protein is a potential therapeutic target to treat xerostomia.
What are your future research goals?
My goal is to continue work with saliva and understand more about its contents and function as well as its diagnostic tool in disease detection.
How did you became interested in research?
During my undergraduate, I was very interested in molecular biology and genetic aspect of the cell and I had an opportunity to do internship in Neurology department working with herpes viruses. Since then research was my passion and I would like to implicate it as much as possible practicing dentistry in the future.