UIC College of Dentistry Oral Medicine & Pharmacognosy Research (OMPR) Laboratory

Medical anthropology and ethnopharmacology research associated with plants and other natural products used for oral medicine conditions, pains and pathologies. 

“I study the medical anthropology of plants used in dental care since the time of written history, about 3000 B.C.” 
-- Dr. Michael D. Colvard

Plant-Based Medicine and Anthropology

Humans discovered through personal experimentation that numerous plants and plant-based products, when placed into the oral cavity, had the capacity to deliver diverse secondary metabolites and thereby elicit a variety of stimulant, medicinal, and hallucinogenic effects.

All historical and world systems of health care advocate plant remedies and/or pharmacognostic derivatives for health and healing. All systems of health care including allopathic/bio-science, Arabic, Ayurveda, Chinese, ethnopharmacology, Judeo-Christian anointing, Native American Indian healing ceremonies, naturopathic, osteopathic, Far-eastern philosophies, and shamanism advocate botanical preparations for the medicinal, mental, and the physical amelioration of pain and disease. Oral and maxillofacial pains, inflammations, and associated pathologies have been documented since the beginning of recorded human history, and the use of plant materials for the relief of these disorders has paralleled this health care need.

plant-based-medicine01_0.jpgMedical anthropology and pharmacognostic research continuously affirms the presence of medicinal compounds in natural products including plants. Contemporary neurobiological and pathophysiologic research has illuminated numerous mechanisms, actions, and mammalian peripheral and CNS receptors responsive to plant-based and other natural compounds. Consequently, theories have emerged that propose a co-evolutionary relationship and functionality between natural products and the various mammalian cell membrane channels, receptors, and tissues.

Our Research

Our laboratory continues to conduct medical anthropology and ethnopharmacology research associated with plants and other natural products used for oral medicine conditions, pains and pathologies. We leverage classical and portable spectroscopic technologies based on various forms of directed energies (i.e. Raman and FT-IR Spectroscopy) for biometric and pharmacognostic studies.

1. Previously Funded Projects:

"Ethnopharmacological Studies in Oral Medicine." National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), K08 Award #AT000987-01.

2. Currently Funded Projects:

"Research, Analysis and Databasing of Emerging High Power Directed Energy Technologies Marketed to the Clinical and Research Communities." Department of Defense (DoD), United States Air Force Surgeon General's Modernization Directorate (USAF/SGR), Cooperative Research Agreement #FA7014-09-2-0003.

Publications

Pestle WJ, Brennan V, Sierra RL, Smith EK, Vesper BJ, Cordell GA, Colvard MD. Hand-held Raman spectroscopy as a pre-screening tool for archaeological bone. J Archaeol Sci. 2015 Apr; 58:113-120.

Pestle WJ, Ahmad F, Vesper BJ, Cordell GA, Colvard MD. Ancient bone collagen assessment by hand-held vibrational spectroscopy. J Archaeol Sci. 2014 Feb; 42:381-389.

Budyn E, Bhogle S, Radosevich JA, Colvard MD. Thermal microenvironment of keratinocytes and fibroblasts during cauterization by laser devices. 3rd International Conference on Computational and Mathematical Biomedical Engineering (CMBE2013). Nithiaruasu P, Lohner R (Eds.), Hong Kong, 16-18 Dec 2013. (Conference proceedings)

Vesper BJ, Colvard MD. Photodynamic therapy (PDT): an evolving therapeutic technique in head & neck cancer treatment. In: Head & Neck Cancer: Current Perspectives, Advances, and Challenges. Radosevich JA (Ed.). Springer Science+Business Media: New York, 2013, pp.649-76.

Pestle WJ, Colvard MD. A disease without history? Evidence for the antiquity of head and neck cancers. In: Head & Neck Cancer: Current Perspectives, Advances, and Challenges. Radosevich JA (Ed.). Springer Science+Business Media: New York, 2013, pp.5-36.

Breskey JD, Lacey SE, Vesper BJ, Paradise WA, Radosevich JA, Colvard MD. Photodynamic therapy: occupational hazards and preventative recommendations for clinical administration by healthcare providers. Photomed Laser Surg. 2013; 31(8):398-407.

Cordell GA, Colvard MD. Natural products and traditional medicine: Turning on a paradigm. J Nat Prod. 2012 Mar; 75(3):514-25.

Pestle WJ, Colvard MD. Bone Collagen Preservation in the Tropics: A case study from ancient Puerto Rico. J Archaeol Sci. 2012 Jul; 39(7):2079-90.

Colvard MD, Naiman M, Danzinger, L; Hanley L. Handheld directed energy sensor for environmental monitoring and clinician safety. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2010 Jun; 81(6):602-4.

Colvard MD, Cordell GA. Rationalizing the study of plants for the treatment of oral pain. Curr Chem Biol. 2008 May; 2(2):140-52.

Pestle WJ, Demel S, Colvard MD, Pickering R. Skeletal biology and mortuary practice at the Kubinski Site (11WI1186), a middle woodland ossuary. Ill Archaeol. 2007; 19:47-84.

Cordell GA, Colvard MD. Natural products in a world out-of-balance. Arkivoc. 2007; 2007(7):97-115.

Pestle WJ, Colvard MD, Pettitt P. AMS dating of a recently rediscovered juvenile human mandible from Solutre (Saone-et-Loire, France). Paleo. 2006 Dec; 18:285-92.

Colvard MD, Ashrafi SH, Alonge OK, Cordell GA. Smokeless tobacco-induced lamellar body abnormalities. Oral Dis. 2006 May;12(3):343-8.

Colvard MD, Cordell GA, Villalobos R, Sancho G, Soejarto DD, Pestle WJ, Echeverri TL, Perkowitz KM, Michel J. Survey of medicial ethnobotanicals for dental and oral medicine conditions and pathologies. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Aug 11; 107(1):134-42.

Cordell GA, Colvard MD. Some thoughts on the future of ethnopharmacology. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Aug 22; 100(1-2):5-14. Review.

Alonge OK, Ashrafi SH, Colvard MD. Mitochondrial volume densities in the smokeless tobacco-treated hamster cheek pouch epithelium. Oral Dis. 2003 May; 9(3):138-43.

Contact

For further information, please contact Dr. Michael Colvard.

Group Members

Laboratory Director
Dr. Michael D. Colvard, DDS, MTS, MS, PhD, FDS RCSEd
Professor, Department of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago;
Periodontist, Oral Medicine Specialist, and Medical Anthropologist;
Diploma (Oral Medicine), Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh (RCSEd);
Fellow Dental Surgery (FDS), Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh (RCSEd)

Dr. Peter Demitry, MD, MPH
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Alison Doubleday, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Brian Murphy, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry & Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago

Eva K. Nabuufu, MPA, PMP, CRA
Finance and Research Coordinator, Department of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago; 
Project Management Professional (PMP), Project Management Institute

Dr. Salvador Nares, DDS, PhD
Department Head and Associate Professor, Department of Periodontics, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. David Peters, JD
Senior Director of Police Services, Commander of Support Services, UIC Police Department, State of Illinois Police, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. James A. Radosevich, PhD
Professor, Department of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Herve Sroussi, DMD, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Harvey Wigdor, DDS, MS
Clinical Professor, Department of Oral Medicine & Diagnostic Sciences, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago;
Chief, Department of Dentistry, Illinois Masonic Hospital

Jim D. Wallace, MS
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Christine D. Wu, PhD
Professor, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago

 

Collaborators

Dr. Nikolai Attard, BChD, MS, PhD
Dean, Head of Department, and Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Dental Surgery, Mater Dei Hospital, University of Malta, Msida, Malta

Dr. Elisa Budyn, PhD
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Oral Medicine & Diagnostic Sciences, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago;
Professeur des Universites, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ecole Normale Superieure de Cachan, Chachan, France

Dr. Joseph Buhagiar, PhD
Lecturer and Director, Argotto Gardens, University of Malta, Msida, Malta

Dr. Geoffrey A. Cordell, PhD
Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois at Chicago;
President, Natural Products Inc.

Dr. Luke Hanley, PhD
Professor and Head, Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Chicago;
Adjunct Professor, Department of Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. D. Doel Soejarto, PhD
Professor of Pharmacognosy, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Director, UIC Pharmacognosy Field Station, Downers Grove, IL

Dr. William J. Pestle, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Miami (FL)

Dr. Richard Preston, PhD
President/Senior Scientist, Sensing Strategies, Inc.

Dr. Rodrigo Villalobos, DDS, MSc, MS
Dean of Health Sciences, Universidad Latina de Costa Rica (ULATINA), San Jose, Costa Rica