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ADA conference to focus on genetics in dentistry

June 08, 2015

By Michelle Manchir

Dr. Thomas Hart
Dr. Thomas Hart 
The ADA is hosting a first-of-its-kind meeting in October about current issues involved in genetic testing and the expectations for genetics in dentistry.

Academicians, dental practitioners, regulatory bodies and leaders of professional dental organizations are encouraged to attend the conference scheduled for Oct. 28-29 at the Association Headquarters in Chicago.

The purpose of the conference is to develop guidance for interested parties that can be used to inform and assess the design and analysis of genomic studies of oral diseases, according to conference co-chairs, Dr. Daniel Meyer, ADA Chief Science Officer, and Dr. Michael Glick, editor of The Journal of the American Dental Association and professor of oral medicine and dean of the School of Dental Medicine at the University at Buffalo.

Dr. Thomas Hart, program coordinator for the conference and chair of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs, said the conference is important because it will be the first time renowned genomic experts have come together to discuss pressing issues related to genetic testing in the context of dentistry. Dr. Hart is also the director of the ADA Foundation Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center.

“They will discuss significant changes in our understanding of genomics and how genes contribute to disease,” Dr. Hart said. “Additionally, they will discuss the issues that the dental community needs to understand to develop and implement safe and effective genetic tests to improve clinical care.”

Dr. Hart added that many challenges dentists face in incorporating genomics into clinical practice are shared by clinicians in other areas in medicine.

At the conference, “we will see that we are not alone in facing these challenges, and that by working together and sharing experiences we will succeed,” Dr. Hart said.

The conference includes a keynote presentation from Dr. John Ioannidis, a professor at Stanford University, who is a leader in genomic/genetic research. Other speakers include Dr. John Barnard, Ph.D., head of biostatistics at the Cleveland Clinic; Dr. Teri Manolio, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Genomic Medicine at the National Human Genome Research Institute; Dr. Robert Wildin, M.D., chief of the Genomic Healthcare Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute; Dr. Cecile Janssens, Ph.D., professor of Epidemiology at Emory University; and Dr. Debra Regier, M.D., Ph.D. and incoming director of genetic and genomic education, Children’s National Health System, which provides pediatric health care in Washington, D.C.

The Task Force on Design and Analysis in Oral Health Research, which is funding the conference along with the ADA, has a mission to foster and promote sound research design and analysis and to encourage dialogue between stakeholders in oral health research, said Dr. Sebastian Ciancio, director of the task force and professor and chair of the Department of Periodontics and Endodontics at the University at Buffalo.

Dr. Ciancio said planning for this conference was initiated following a 2014 ADA Annual Meeting program that obtained input from the community of oral health practitioners regarding the application of genomic technologies and genetic testing in dental practice.

“The purpose of this conference is to bring together renowned genomic experts to discuss research on genetic associations with disease and the use of genetic tests for disease,” Dr. Ciancio said. “This conference will provide background information for developing a framework for guidance which can be used to inform and assess the design and analysis of genomic studies of oral diseases.”

Registration for the conference is expected to open in August. More details about registration will be available later this month.

To view the most up-to-date agenda for the conference, visit and click on “Meetings.” Then look for “Navigating The Sea of Genomic Data.”