Regina L. W. Messer
Associate Professor of
Oral Biology, Dental College of Georgia, College of Graduate Studies
Program Director of the Oral Biology Graduate Program
Georgia Health Sciences University ,
Augusta , Georgia
Dr. Messer is known for investigating the interactions between materials, mechanical stress and the human body, a field known as biocompatibility. Materials can be considered as any substance added to a system such as collagen scaffold, inflammatory stimulus, gene vector, metallic implant, or ceramic coatings. Dr. Messer's initial focus has been on implant alloys and how mechanical forces alter biocompatibility of the implant. Specifically, she is interested in the ability of implant materials (including dental materials) to release corrosion products that may alter normal oral tissues. This work focused on two fundamental areas: (1) corrosion processes which lead to the release of substances from metals, ceramics and polymers used as dental restorative materials, and (2) the biological reactions to those released substances.
This groundwork research allowed Dr. Messer to expand her research by asking how does mechanical stress alter inherit biological properties and how does inflammatory stimulus alter this normal response? Dr. Messer is directing is the investigation of differences between alveolar and basal bone and their response to changes in mechanical stress. Her laboratory has been successful in isolating and culturing cells from these tissues and initial studies show exciting differences in these cell populations. Furthermore, this exciting research includes investigating the differences in periodontal ligament fibroblasts from healthy and diseased sites. The concept that inflammation may permanently alter cellular function is novel and is being well received at conferences and on grant applications.