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Department of Oral Biology

Department of Oral BiologyAddress H-1089 Budapest, Nagyvárad tér 4.
Tel: (+36-1) 210-4415
Fax: (+36-1) 210-4421

Director Professor Gábor Varga, Ph.D., D.Sc. Background The Department of Oral Biology is the only theoretical/pre-clinical institute of the Faculty of Dentistry. Founded in 1989, the Department was preceded by the Oral Biology Group of the Faculty of Dentistry, which had been formed by staff members of the Department of Pathophysiology with doctoral degrees in dentistry.

Profile Oral biology deals with the function and interactions of organs functionally related to the oral cavity, and the relationship of these organs with other parts of the organism both in health and disease.

Education The Department teaches two subjects and several special courses to 3rd, 4th and 5th year dental students: General and Oral Pathophysiology, a pre-clinical subject with special attention to topics important for dental students, and Oral Biology, which provides knowledge at the pre-clinical level. This latter subject started to be introduced as part of dental education in Hungarian medical schools at the end of the 1970s (1982 at Semmelweis University). The theoretical and practical components of the subjects were developed by the Department’s faculty members, based on the British and Scandinavian approach. Oral biology has been taught in a partial credit-point system since 1994.

The Oral Biology Lectures notebook was first published in 1986, while the first volume of the book Oral Biology, which deals with the biology of hard dental tissues, appeared in 1999. The Oral Biology book, edited by Professor Tivadar Zelles, appeared in 2007 with extensive content on the field of oral biology.

Research The Department’s main focus is on topics related to the interface between modern biology and clinical dentistry. Some of these include:

Postnatal stem cells of dental origin. We isolate cells from human dental pulp and periodontal ligament, to develop in vitro model systems and processes for identification of stem cells, which have the potential for full or partial regeneration of dental tissues. Cultures containing pluripotent postnatal stem cells from the dental pulp (DPSC), from deciduous pulp (SHED) and periodontal ligament (PDLSC) are prepared. We determine their proliferative capacity and clonogenity, and study the effect of BMPs and extracellular matrix components on proliferation and (trans)differentiation of these cultures.

Human salivary gland model for exploring the molecular mechanisms of epithelial secretion and for developing gene delivery techniques. Primary cultures are prepared of human submandibular gland to provide optimal conditions for the formation of either ductal- or acinar-like polarised epithelia. We use cell lines as reference systems. The HSG cells are capable of ductal-acinar transdifferentiation but it does not form a tight epithelial monolayer. Par-C10, Capan-1, Panc-1 and HPAF can form high-resistance epithelia capable of transepithelial electrolyte and water transport. The work helps to establish the basis for future gene therapeutic interventions by pinpointing possible target genes to correct salivary gland dysfunction.

Polymorphism studies of genes potentially involved in periodontitis and hypodontia. The purpose is to map single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) related to these disorders in the Hungarian population. Besides polymorphism of genes that are already implicated as factors involved in periodontitis and hypodontia, new SNPs are identified that have not been previously considered as hazards for oral health. These observations may lead to the development of new diagnostic strategies and provide novel tools for early detection and primary control.