EimearDr Eimear Hurley of Cork Dental School and Hospital has been awarded a Health Research Board Research Award 2012 to fund her PhD research investigating the oral microbiota of babies and pre-schoolers (ORALMET).

The title of Eimear’s research is ‘The oral microbiota of Irish children: a baseline and longitudinal study in health and disease’.

The identification of the oral microbiota of Irish children has not been studied to date and is now possible with the establishment of culture-independent microbiota profiling in Cork. Longitudinal investigation of the oral microbiota in infants would be the first research of its kind to be done in Ireland. The microbiota data collected will constitute a developing ‘picture’ and a bank of information for future studies on prevention of dental caries and promotion of oral health in Irish children. The goal of this research is to identify the oral microbiome in health and disease alongside the factors that are associated with the development of both states with the ultimate goal of developing new effective methods of preventing disease through cultivating a healthy microbiome in young children.

This research is supervised by Dr Paul O’Toole, a Principal Investigator in the Genomics and Metagenomics Core of the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre(APC) in UCC. By being awarded this funding it is the start of an exciting relationship between the clinical oral side in Cork Dental School and Hospital, and the basic and applied microbiology side, representing great potential for translational research and new discovery.