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Singapore Oral Microbiomics Initiative (SOMI)

Overview

SOMI is an integrated research platform focusing on studies on the oral microbiome, oral biofilms and salivary biomarkers in clinical cohorts to effectively untangle the increasingly complex oral-systemic associations using advanced technologies such as genomics, proteomics and metabolomics.

SOMI aims to:

  1. Explore the healthy and disease-perturbed oral microbiome associated with oral and systemic diseases
  2. Develop novel therapeutics that modulate the disease-perturbed microbiome towards health
  3. Develop point-of-care diagnostics for oral and systemic diseases using oral microbial and salivary biomarkers


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Background

The oral microbiome is one of the most diverse and complex microbiomes in the human body. Dysbiosis of oral microbiome may have a potential effect on distant body sites as the microbiota disperse and gain access to the systemic circulation1. The oral microbiota has been shown to be associated with a number of systemic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, respiratory tract infections, gastrointestinal diseases and adverse gestational outcomes.

The SOMI research platform has been established to understand the pathobiology of oral infectious diseases and the link between oral microbiome and systemic diseases. SOMI aims to bridge the current knowledge gaps in our understanding of the oral-systemic link by multi-OMICS (genomics, proteomics and metabolomics) analysis of clinical samples pertaining to oral and systemic diseases. The high diversity of clinical cases at NDCS makes SOMI strategically well positioned to recruit the multitude of clinical cohorts required for these studies.


At SOMI, a multidisciplinary team of dental clinicians, dental clinician-scientists and platform experts works together to facilitate the identification of relevant clinical problems, investigation of the underlying pathogenesis mechanisms, development of innovative solutions and translation of these innovations into clinical practice.

 

1Han YW, Wang X. Mobile microbiome: oral bacteria in extra-oral infections and inflammation. Journal of Dental Research. 2013;92:485-91.


Key Research Areas

​Oral MicrobiomeOral Biofilms ​Salivary Biomarkers
  • ​Pathobiology of oral infectious diseases
  • Link with systemic diseases
  • ​Anti-biofilm agents and devices
  • Microbiome-modulation therapy
  • Diagnostic and prognostic salivary biomarkers for systemic diseases
  • Salivary biomarkers for various nutritional statuses


Core Research Platforms

SOMI has three core research platforms to support our key research areas – technical, diagnostic and therapeutic. The applications of these platforms are summarised in the table below.


Oral Microbiome Oral Biofilms​ Salivary Biomarkers
Technical
  • ​Metagenomics
  • Metaproteomics
  • ​Transcriptomics
  • Animal models
  • ​Proteomics
  • Metabolomics
Diagnostic
  • ​Health vs disease-specific microbial signatures
  • ​In vitro, ex vivo screening models
  • ​Point-of-care devices
​Therapeutic
  • ​Microbiome modulation therapy
  • ​Small-molecule based drug discovery
  • Anti-biofilm devices
  • ​Nano-encapsulated artificial saliva

Members

A/Prof Jaya Seneviratne (Lead)
Cl A/Prof Marianne Ong Meng Ann
Cl A/Prof Mimi Yow
Cl A/Prof Christina Sim
Dr Lui Jeen Nee
Dr Chee Hoe Kit
Dr Preethi Prajod
Dr Tanujaa Suriyanarayanan
Dr Pang Li Mei