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Helping children smile
Founded in 2000, we comprise a group of orofacial clinicians and researchers with a common vision that translational research holds much promise for our field of healthcare. Our primary aim is to improve the health and well-being of children who are afflicted with facial disorders (i.e. oral, dental and craniofacial problems). As elsewhere, Melbourne faced the problem of scientists working in isolation from the "clinical coalface" and from each other. And our clinicians were too busy fixing people to become deeply engaged in research. The founding goal therefore was to foster an integrated approach to research translation, with clinicians and scientists of various disciplines working together.
The Melbourne Research Unit for Facial Disorders (MRUFD) initiative was spawned through recognition that orofacial problems were suffering from lack of recognition in the research arena, and that the field was suboptimally positioned to attract research funding for pursuing translational goals. The vision for MRUFD as a translational research vehicle came from four colleagues with shared beliefs in the power of teamwork and community. Two were clinicians who encountered bone and tooth problems on a daily basis and the other two were philanthropists.
Proteomics is a modern technological field aimed at enriching our understanding about proteins by studying them collectively rather than individually (i.e. a holistic approach). Likewise, metabolomics is used to investigate many small molecules, or "metabolites", at once (learn more at PMV). When the ideas that led to PMV were being conceived, the proteomics discipline was little more than a decade old and expanding rapidly. While attracting great excitement, the field was also suffering growth pains which were only aggravated when metabolomics subsequently rose to prominence.
In essence, Developmental Dental Defects (DDDs = D3s) are dental birth defects. They comprise a wide variety of disorders that manifest as malformed (e.g. discoloured, soft, pitted) or missing teeth. Whilst common and often problematic to the extent that many consider them a public-health burden, these disorders traditionally have received little attention at multiple levels (research, practitioner, population health, public awareness). However, the past decade has brought increased concern, particularly amongst clinical specialists dealing with children, prompting formation of The D3 Group.
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