The Lundy Group

Dr Fionnuala Lundy

The oral cavity is continuously exposed to both environmental insults and potential pathogens and represents a unique, easily accessible environment for both basic science and translational research.

My current research explores twin research themes

  1. the expression of transient receptor potential (TRP) channels in the oral cavity and
  2. the role of host defense peptides in protecting the oral cavity and upper respiratory tract.

My research has strong clinical and translational links, using primary cell lines derived from explants, naturally occurring antimicrobial peptides and clinical isolates of oral/respiratory pathogens.

TRP channel expression in the oral cavity is a burgeoning area of research interest. My research group recently showed expression and functionality of a range of TRP channels on human odontoblasts.  My current research is focused on studying TRP channel expression and functionality in gingival and periodontal ligament cells. We are developing an a model in which stem cells from the dental pulp are differentiated to peripheral neuronal equivalents (PNEs). We are currently studying co-expression of TRP channels with neuronal markers and using PNEs to examine TRP functionality.  

The repertoire and abundance of human antimicrobial peptides generally ensure a predominantly beneficial rather than pathogenic flora. My work focused initially on α- defensin family and is now focused on LL-37 and truncated mimetics. We have studied the direct and indirect actions of LL-37 mimetics on a range of pathogens and host cells respectively and its stability in the inflammatory milieu.