Research team of dental anthropology of the department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Dental Sciences is conducting a research project on metric and non-metric dental characteristics of aboriginal Vedda people in Sri Lanka. There are three Vedda communities in the country namely, Uva-Bintenna Vedda in Uva province (Southeast part of the country), Anuradhapura Vedda in North Central province and Coastal Vedda in Eastern province. This is the first ever comprehensive dental anthropological survey conducted in Sri Lanka which covers all three Vedda populations. The research team had already collected over 250 dental plaster casts visiting 5 Vedda villages in Anuradhapura district. Recently, they visited two villages (Kirimichchai and Kunchankulam) in Wakarai in Batticaloa district and collected dental plaster casts from Coastal Vedda people whose origin and affinities are hardly known. This project leads to an Mphil degree of a postgraduate student in the Basic Sciences Department. Researchers expect that, findings of this project will provide very important and significant information of the origin and migration of Vedda populations in Sri Lanka.
The research team from the Department of Oral Pathology, affiliated with the Center for Research in Oral Cancer, Faculty of Dental Sciences mainly focuses on conducting collaborative studies on prevention, early detection and prognostic assessmentof Oral Potentially Malignant Disorders (OPMD) and Oral Cancer.
Ongoing studies on Evaluation of knowledge, attitudes and practices related to smokeless tobacco and areca nut cessation programmes among healthcare workers and students will allow us to indentify the deficiencies in such programmes. Information gained could be used to propose remedies with reference to including content on tobacco cessation to the undergraduate dental curriculum and to introduce tobacco/SLT cessation practices toHealth care professionals. The other ongoing studies include evaluation of “senescence associated secretory phenotype” and the role of senescent fibroblasts in oral submucous fibrosis, analysis of the type of areca products and its’ relationship with oral submucous fibrosis, feasibility of early detection of oral cancer using ONCALERT tool kit and the development of a Geo-coding system for OPMD and oral cancer. These projects will lead to several postgraduate degrees including a Master of Philosophy degree.
The research team has also published more than twenty full papers in international high impact scientific journals during the last five years with numerous presentations at both local and international conferences. Most notable among the publications, include a paper entitled “A model to predict nodal metastasis in patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma published in PLOS ONE in 2018. Further M. Phil degree entitled “Analysis of the significance of invasive front characteristics in relation to prognosis of oral squamous cell carcinoma” has been submitted for evaluation.