From the Director: John G. Thomas, Ph.D.
2007 has been an incredible year for increased awareness of biofilms. Everywhere one looks, from the “lay” literature to the scientific literature, new articles describe the impact of biofilms and chronic infections. Below is a summary of the events that we were intimately involved with and emphasize the growing awareness of biofilms:
- The American Association of Endodontics (AAE), Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA (April 25-29) – A marvelous meeting at which I continued the interface with outstanding dentists and the recognition of biofilms and endodontic infections and problems with chronic or recurrent root canal infections. It is remarkable that the literature is so problematic, stating that between 15-60% of root canals become infected or re-infected. I presented to 1300 attendees in the opening ceremonies with a presentation entitled “Biofilm in Endodontic Infections: Updated Treatment,” which focused on perspectives concerning biofilms and the “root of the problem.”
- Fourth ASM Sponsored Conference on Biofilms, Quebec City, Canada (April 25-29) – This was the 3rd that I attended and its numbers show the influence of biofilms: 600 participants, 400 posters and 90 presentations over five days. Remarkable! Emphasis of the symposium was Basic Science with descriptions of genetics and molecular interactions of “social microbes:” Mutualism, synergy and microbial sociology were key words.
Our Three Posters:
- Thomas JG, Gray DM, Nakaishi LA, Parsons J, and Martens P. The long-term antibiofilm efficacy of an ETT silver releasing compound in a polymicrobic ventilator-endotrach-lung model.
- Thomas JG, Parsons J, and Nakaishi L. Silver coated endotracheal tube (ETT) and impact of dental-systemic co-biofilm.
- Thomas JG, Martens P, Gray DM, and Nakaishi L. Impact of ETT accretions on airway resistance in MV patients.
- Symposium on Wound Care and Impact of Biofilms. Supported by Convotech, Manchester, UK (April 29-May 1). – A focused discussion group highlighting limited information about biofilms in chronic wounds, particularly those associated with soft tissue breakdown, i.e. diabetes. The participants represented a marvelous spectrum of science, academics, industry and medicine/surgery. For me it was also a marvelous time to interface with researchers who will be collaborators during my sabbatical at Cardiff University, Wales: Steven Percival, Ph.D., Convotech and Dr. David Williams, M.D., Leeds, UK.
- Asia-Pacific Tour #2: Jakarta, Hong Kong and Taipei (April 27—May 7) A repeat educational tour of medical and dental schools describing the impact of biofilms, the importance of oral microbiology and the growing recognition of links between oral colonization and systemic diseases. I particularly focused on our findings with out studies with Tyco Healthcare and the endotrach and the realization that colonization within the endotrach is reminiscent if not an overlay of colonization on the enamel surface with similar steps: pre-conditioning, plaque, early and late stage biofilm development. Presentations included:
- Jakarta School of Dentistry
- The Prince Phillip’s School of Dentistry, Hong Kong
- Taipei Medical University, School of Dentistry, College of Oral Medicine, Taipei, Nationalist China.
- Pre-Sabbatical Cardiff University, School of Dental Medicine, Wales, UK (April 12-22)
Although shortened by bad weather on the US Eastern seaboard and cancellation of two flights, Penny and I were finally able to arrive at Cardiff via a wonderful train ride from London—across the beautiful countryside of the United Kingdom. My interface with Dr. Michael Lewis, my mentor during the sabbatical was truly remarkable and established a friendship and scientific intensity that will be expanded upon during my sabbatical July 1 – December 31. I spent time with David Williams, Ph.D., who in fact, will be my main research contact during my stay. I also presented a lecture at the Eastman Dental Institute entitled, “Biofilms and the Ecological Hypothesis.”