Infection and Immunity

Overview of Group Research Activities

Infection and ImmunityBacteria and other microbial life-forms are involved in many common oral diseases in humans, such as dental caries (tooth decay) and periodontal (gum) diseases. These diseases are highly prevalent in all societies and have significant effects on our health, self-esteem, and overall quality of life. However, the mouth contains many thousands of different microbial species, and the precise mechanisms underlying the balance between oral health and disease are extremely complex, variable, and dynamic.

The Infection and Immunity Research Group aims to study such topics in a comprehensive manner by using innovative biomedical, clinical, and translational approaches. Members come from various clinical and scientific disciplines within the Faculty of Dentistry, whom collaborate extensively with local and international partners. Their research is supported by a modern, well-equipped suite of laboratory facilities located within the Prince Philip Dental Hospital, known as the Centralized Research Laboratories.

Our principal research focuses:

  • Oral microbiome. Identifying and analyzing all the bacteria (microbial life-forms) that inhabit the oral cavity. Establishing which bacteria are commonly associated with health and disease.
  • Oral biofilms. Studying how bacteria form the tough, slimy communities that comprise dental plaque (which forms on teeth, as well as other natural surfaces and man-made materials found in the oral cavity).
  • Etiology and pathogenesis of periodontal disease. Identifying the types of bacteria that may cause or promote severe gum diseases; and studying the biological processes by which these diseases occur and progress.
  • Genetics and genomics of oral bacteria. Analyzing the DNA of oral bacteria to study how they function, evolve, cause disease, and resist antibiotic treatments.
  • Biological and genetic markers of periodontal diseases. Identifying biological molecules that may be used to diagnose or detect gum diseases at an early stage. Evaluating genes that may indicate a risk of developing severe gum diseases, or may be linked to disease-related processes.
  • Basic and clinical studies relating to periodontal medicine. Studying how severe gum diseases may affect our general health, and may be related to other diseases or conditions (e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc.)
  • Strategies for the control, prevention and treatment of periodontal disease. Identifying and evaluating new ways to prevent severe gum disease from occurring or becoming more serious, and identifying ways to promote gum-healing processes. This includes chemical agents, Traditional Chinese Medicines (herbal formulations), therapeutic strategies, and tissue regeneration approaches.

To receive further information or to enquire about collaborative research, please do not hesitate to contact the research group convenor, Dr. Rory Watt (e-mail: rmwatt@hku.hk).

Members of the Infection and Immunity Research Group

Group Convenor
Dr R.M. Watt

Primary Members
Dr Y.K. Chan
Dr J.W.W. Chang
Dr D.K.L. Ho
Professor L.J. Jin
Dr O.LT. Lam
Professor W.K. Leung
Dr P. Neelakantan
Dr P.C.S. Tsang
Dr R.M. Watt

Affiliated Members
Professor M. Bornstein
Professor M.F. Burrow
Ms R.T.M. Chan
Professor G.S.P. Cheung
Professor C.H. Chu
Dr J.P. Curtin
Dr X.L. Gao
Professor H.S. Jung
Dr S.M.L. Lai
Dr W.Y.H. Lam
Dr Q.F. Li
Dr P. Liu
Professor E.C.M. Lo
Dr N. Mattheos
Dr L. Mei
Dr J.K.H. Tsoi
Dr G.H.M. Wong
Professor C.F. Zhang

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