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Distinguished Scientist Award Conferred on University of Rochester Scientists for Work on Preventing Cavities

Hyun (Michel) Koo, D.D.S., Ph.D., and Robert Marquis, Ph.D. have been awarded the Distinguished Scientist Award by the International Association of Dental Research. Both are Both Koo and Marquis are researchers at the University of Rochester's Center for Oral Biology.//

Koo is an oral biologist and Marquis is a microbiologist. They have been conferred this award for their work on ways to stop microorganisms that cause tooth decay and cavities. Koo, who is a member of the faculty on the Eastman Department of Dentistry, will receive the Young Investigator Award, while Marquis, who is a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, has been conferred the Senior Investigator award for a lifetime of achievement. Koo is a dentist and his work is focused on ways to stop Streptococcus mutans from causing cavities. In his research, Koo has identified propolis, a sticky substance that is found in honeybees. This substance was found to inhibit a vital enzyme in dental plaque formation. He is currently engaged in finding out if certain compounds in cranberry juice inhibit the formation of cavities. "Dr. Koo's work in this area helps us understand the pivotal role of nutrition in the development and prevention of dental decay," said Cyril Meyerowitz, D.D.S., M.S., head of the Eastman Department of Dentistry and director of Eastman Dental Center.

Marquis is a microbial physiologist, who focuses on how the bacteria stay alive and exactly what nutrients they use. He has studies S.mutans and the way it causes havoc in the mouth. He also showed that certain preservatives found in soda, juices and frozen foods can imitate the action of fluoride and prevent cavity formation. "Winning both the junior investigator award and the senior investigator award is a reflection of Rochester's status in the dental research arena," said William Bowen, B.D.S., Ph.D, who nominated both investigators for the awards. "Dental caries, or cavities, is the most widespread i nfectious disease in U.S. children. And more than 9 out of 10 adults have cavities, adversely affecting their eating habits at a point in life when good nutrition is crucial to their overall health." Contact: Tom Rickey tom_rickey@urmc.rochester.edu 585-275-7954 University of Rochester Medical Center
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