Vol. 2 No. 1
From the Director: John G. Thomas, Ph.D.
The years 2007 and 2008 saw the most extensive and incredible travel journey for me, and my wife, Penny. During and after the Sabbatical at Cardiff University, Wales, UK, July through December, fall 2007, Penny and I travelled to 16 countries, four continents and greater than 130,000 miles. I will summarize Key Points of each from a personal, scientific and educational perspective:
My Sabbatical from July 1 through December 31, 2007 at Cardiff University School of Dental Medicine, Wales, UK, was the highlight of my academic career. The basis for the sabbatical was continuation of the oral-systemic link with emphasis on DGGE (Density Gradient Gel Electrophoresis), a nonculturable technique, and further elucidation of the co-contribution of oral flora and systematic flora in ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) from extubated endotrachs (ETT) in a 25 patient study. It was supported in part by Covidien. Results were initially highlighted in three abstracts presented at IADR (International Association for Dental Research) and in two subsequent manuscripts being finalized now. The titles of the three abstracts were:
1. PCR DGGE to Unmask Streptococcus mutans in Endotrach Biofilms. JG Thomas, DW Williams, SJ Hooper, S Malic, and S Cairns.
2. Profiling Microbial Diversity in Endotracheal Biofilms. DW Williams, JG Thomas, SJ Hooper, M Wise, P Frost, S Malic, S Cairns, M Lewis.
3. Influence of Eh and pH Upon Endodontic Irrigant Microbial Efficacy. JG Thomas, J Noore, JS Ellis, D Gray.
In summary, we found that the oral microbial contribution is quite significant to the co-biofilm and that the endotrach is, in fact, a BIOFILM ENGINE; a perfect environment for 1) mixing and matching of both endogenous and exogenous microbial flora, 2) increased work or breathing (WOB) concomitant with adhesion and 3) potentially a marked milieu for genetic transfer and increased resistance of subsequent isolates (MDR). The use of DGGE highlighted the diversity and mixed clonality of the ecosystem in the extubated endotrach and hence, highlighted the limitations of culture techniques. We were particularly surprised by the appearance in the endotrach of key early isolates associated with caries and periodontal disease, Strep. mutans (microaerophilic) and P. gingivalis, a strict anaerobe. During our investigations, I gained experience in PCR/DGGE, CLSM, 3-D animation, PFGE, and other unique culturing methods. During my Sabbatical, Penny and I also did extensive traveling, and I lectured at such divergent places as the University of Glasgow School of Medicine and Surgery, chartered in 1599; Dubai at the Federation Dental Internationale (FDI); London and Newcastle University in the northern part of England.
John G. Thomas, PhD
Travels / Global Research
New Research Heroes