Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Biological Science

Advisor/Committee Chair

Alex M. Valm


Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gums that can progress to bone resorption in the jaw and eventual tooth loss. A contributor to this disease is the buildup of subgingival and supragingival plaque, which consists of hundreds of bacterial species. To study the bacteria involved in periodontal disease, we use extracted canine teeth as our model. Canines were chosen based on their similarities with humans at the bacterial phylum level, as well as having a similar progression of periodontal disease. However, there are significant differences at lower levels of taxonomy of bacterial abundance and prevalence. The abundance and prevalence of bacteria at the genus level in canines were previously studied and used to create genus-specific probes for CLASI-FISH labeling of a canine tooth. These probes were tested for their specificity to their respective genus by using CLASI-FISH to label the on-target and off-target species and to determine if any cross-hybridization occurs. After labeling, the bacteria were imaged using a confocal microscope and analyzed using FIJI to determine each probe’s average intensities in the different bacteria species. So far, we have concluded that 13 out of the 18 probes are sufficient to be used in labelling the intact plaque of a canine tooth. Using probes with high specificity and little to no cross-hybridization effects will help us to better understand the spatial structures and bacteria relationships in canine dental plaque, which could be further used for therapeutic studies to combat periodontal disease.

Included in

Dentistry Commons