Director, Center for Clinical and Translational Research; Department of Applied Oral Health Sciences
Associate Research Investigator
University of Hacettepe (Ankara-Turkey), D.D.S., MSc,1988, Dentistry
University of Hacettepe (Ankara-Turkey), Ph.D., 1995, Periodontology
Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, CAGS, 2004, Periodontology
Dr. Hasturk is a clinician/researcher in Periodontology, with more than 15 years as a Board certified periodontist. She became involved in Periodontal research in 1988 with a focus on periodontal immunology and its relationship with systemic diseases. Dr. Hasturk’s main interest is understanding the mechanisms of periodontal and systemic diseases and its impact on public health. Specifically, Dr. Hasturk focuses on diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions that share a common inflammatory pathway with periodontal disease.. She is also interested in the development and utilization of clinical and laboratory techniques to investigate the reciprocal relationships between systemic and local inflammation.
Dr. Hasturk serves as Director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research at the Forsyth Institute.. In this role, Dr. Hasturk works with an outstanding research team, including: investigators, study coordinators, dental hygienists, and dental assistants. The Center’s mission is to create an environment where the findings of basic science can reach the chair side and help patients to improve their oral and systemic health, inevitably building a healthy future generation.
Diabetes and chronic oral health conditions present serious obstacles to public health. Approximately 80 million Americans have some form of gum disease, with the most severe cases resulting in bone loss. Over the last 20 years, the related disorders of obesity and Type 2 diabetes have increased to epidemic status in the United States. More than 20 million people in the United States have diabetes ― more than 90 percent of which are diagnosed with Type 2. According to the National Institutes of Health, six million people with diabetes do not know they have the disease. Type 2 diabetes presents many serious health complications including: defective immunity and wound healing, heart disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, blindness and periodontal disease.
A primary focus of Dr. Hasturk's research is determining the association between diabetes and oral diseases. Gaining an understanding of the relationship between these disease conditions is critical for improving the health of the public. With a K23 Patient oriented award from the National Institute of DentoCraniofacial Research (NIDCR) for her project "Treatment of Periodontitis and Inflammatory Changes in Diabetes," Dr. Hasturk is examining the disease correlations. The primary goal of this research is to determine the systemic and local inflammatory responses before and after periodontal therapy by evaluating pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators in serum, gingival crevicular fluid and gingival tissue of diabetics. In addition, the study aims to determine if endogenous, anti-inflammatory lipid mediators can limit the inflammatory response in diabetes by blocking the enhanced functional responses of those cells. She is focused on understanding the inflammatory mechanisms of different types of periodontal disease and has published a number of studies. This study builds on existing research projects in the area of periodontal health determinants and systemic disease and quality of life outcomes, with a special focus on the relationship of periodontal diaseses and diabetes, and especially the impact of periodontal treatment on the control of the diabetic complications.
Dr. Hasturk has been collaborating with groups of investigators at The Forsyth Institute and at other institutions (i.e., Boston University, University at Buffalo, etc.) to test new products and/or techniques and define the underlying mechanisms in the treatment of periodontal inflammation and control of risk for systemic diseases.
Dr. Hasturk has a considerable amount of experience and has authored numerous articles on identifying the inflammatory mechanisms and resolution pathways involved in periodontal disease, as well as identifying new pro-resolving molecules (i.e., lipoxins and resolvins) and other fatty acid compounds in the resolution of periodontal inflammation using experimental periodontitis models in rabbits and minipigs. She has carried out a series of studies since 2003 using this established experimental periodontitis model demonstrating the actions of these novel molecules in prevention and treatment of periodontitis in vivo.
In conjunction with her research on inflammation, Dr. Hasturk is also examining issues related to bone loss with a goal of creating regeneration models as Co-investigator on an NIH grant (PIs: Dr. Serhan and Dr. Van Dyke). This work has the potential to reverse the tissue and bone loss due to periodontal disease, which is known to be irreversible. More importantly, the results of this study will help to gain more information on the mechanisms of resolving agents (i.e., lipoxins, and resolvins, etc.) in inflammatory conditions where both soft tissue and bone are affected.
Dr. Hasturk volunteerly participates in the colloborative efforts of Massachusetts Diabetes Education Coalition Program (MDEP) in managing control of diabetes and its complications in patients with diabetes. She is one of the active members of PPOD (Pharmacists, Podiatrists, Optometrists and Dental professionals)-Diabates Management Medical Team- who are primary point of care for people with diabetes. The goal of this team is to work with patients and with each other as well as the patient’s primary care provider, nutritionist and other members of the patient’s medical management team to make sure that the patient’s diabetes care is continuous,coordinated, comprehensive, and patient-centered. Dr. Hasturk connects her extensive experience in working with patients with diabetes over 12 years and the research experiences in helping her colleagues in this team to improve the medical care of the patients with diabetes and prevent the complications which are often debilitating.
Dr. Hasturk has a lifelong commitment to improving the health of the community, as a practicing periodontist at the chair side, and by bridging the worlds of basic science and patient care. The ultimate goal of her research is to discover why diseases occur and progress in different ways, so that treatment can be customized to the patient. A new generation of approaches is changing the paradigm of treating inflammatory disease.