As a dentist and specialist (periodontist), Hatice Hasturk’s work mainly involves the oral cavity, but she is interested in much more than just improving dental care. She is working to understand the link between oral diseases and how they can affect the rest of the body. Specifically, Hasturk focuses on diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions that share a common inflammatory pathway with periodontal disease.
“All chronic inflammatory diseases, from gum disease to diabetes or heart diseases, are chronic lifetime conditions,” says Hasturk. “Because of this, it’s important to both understand independent risk factors and educate people about how to deal with these conditions without debilitating complications. People want to be cured –unfortunately, that’s currently not possible so it’s more about making improvements to enhance quality of life and to learn from the existing conditions to prevent new cases.”
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 and tooth loss. Over the past 20 years, the related disorders of obesity and type 2 diabetes have increased to epidemic status. More than 20 million people in the United States have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes often results in many serious health complications including defective immunity and wound healing, heart disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, blindness and periodontal disease.
Hasturk is focused on understanding the inflammatory mechanisms of different types of periodontal disease, with a focus on the relationship of periodontal diseases and diabetes, and especially the impact of periodontal treatment on the control of the diabetic complications. She is studying 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, she is seeking to determine if endogenous, anti-inflammatory lipid mediators can limit the inflammatory response in diabetes by modulating the enhanced functional responses of those cells.
In addition to her laboratory research, Hasturk is Director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research at the Forsyth Institute. In this role, she orchestrates an outstanding research team, including investigators, study coordinators, data analysts, dental hygienists and dental assistants. The Center’s mission is to create an environment where the findings of basic science can be brought to patients. Her ultimate goal is to help people improve their oral and systemic health, and ultimately fostering a healthier future generation.
University of Hacettepe (Ankara-Turkey), DDS, MSc,1988, Dentistry
University of Hacettepe (Ankara-Turkey), PhD, 1995, Periodontology
Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, CAGS, 2004, Periodontology