October 30, 2023

Regenstrief researcher receives $4.7 million NIH grant for training, Sjogren’s disease research

Thankham Thyvalikakath

Regenstrief Institute Research Scientist Thankam Thyvalikakath, DMD, MDS, PhD, has been awarded a $4.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to train students and clinicians to foster collaboration among healthcare professionals and incorporate oral diseases and disorder research into clinical practice.

Over a period of five years, the grant will be used to train dental students and faculty, enhance mentoring and conduct a clinical research study where students and clinicians will learn to perform a salivary hypofunction test to find an early biomarker for Sjögren’s disease.

Sjögren’s is a chronic autoimmune connective tissue disorder affecting four million Americans plus an unknown number who are undiagnosed. Nine out of 10 individuals with Sjögren’s are women. Patients with this condition may also have other autoimmune disorders. In the United States, the average time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis is three years, allowing the disease to initially progress unchecked.

Dr. Thyvalikakath also is the director of a joint dental informatics partnership between Regenstrief and Indiana University School of Dentistry and associate dean, Dental Informatics and Digital Health, IU School of Dentistry.

Grant co-principal investigators are Angela Bruzzaniti, PhD, and Mythily Srinivasan, MDS, PhD, both of the IU School of Dentistry. Dr. Bruzzaniti is a professor and director of the PhD program and research development. She also is director of dental student research. Dr. Srinivasan is an associate professor in the Department of Oral Pathology, Medicine, and Radiology at IU School of Dentistry.

The award is presented by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research of the National Institutes of Health under award number U01DE033269.

Thankam Thyvalikakath, DMD, MDS, PhD
In addition to her role as a research scientist with the Clem McDonald Center for Biomedical Informatics at Regenstrief Institute and director of the Regenstrief and IU School of Dentistry Dental Informatics Program, Thankam Thyvalikakath, DMD, MDS, PhD, is a professor and the associate dean of dental informatics and digital health at IU School of Dentistry and an adjunct professor in the IUPUI Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering.

About Regenstrief Institute
Founded in 1969 in Indianapolis, the Regenstrief Institute is a local, national and global leader dedicated to a world where better information empowers people to end disease and realize true health. A key research partner to Indiana University, Regenstrief and its research scientists are responsible for a growing number of major healthcare innovations and studies. Examples range from the development of global health information technology standards that enable the use and interoperability of electronic health records to improving patient-physician communications, to creating models of care that inform clinical practice and improve the lives of patients around the globe.

Sam Regenstrief, a nationally successful entrepreneur from Connersville, Indiana, founded the institute with the goal of making healthcare more efficient and accessible for everyone. His vision continues to guide the institute’s research mission.

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