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Emerson Martins, D.D.S., M.Sc., Ph.D., has been awarded funding through the UAB Faculty Development Grant Program (FDGP) for his proposal, “Alabama Smile Outreach: Enhancing Lives Through Dentistry – An In-vitro Study.”

Dr. Emerson MartinsA lecturer and investigator who holds Ph.D. degrees in both biomaterials and cariology, Martins is an assistant professor and co-director of the restorative sciences curriculum in clinical & preclinical operative dentistry. His primary interests are in clinical and translational research.

The FDGP provides seed money for research, scholarship, and creative activities in a faculty member’s discipline so they can undertake new efforts for which money is not generally available.

Martins hopes to use his award to advance the understanding of specific applications in preventing candidiasis, a common denture-induced inflammatory fungal infection, to potentially pave the way for improved oral health outcomes in vulnerable communities.

“The research addresses the pressing need for innovative solutions to oral health disorders exacerbated by limited access to conventional healthcare services, especially in underserved communities such as those in rural Alabama,” says Martins. “This study aims to revolutionize oral healthcare strategies and improve outcomes for aging populations facing socio-economic constraints.”

Restorative Sciences department chair Chin-Chuan Fu, D.D.S., M.S., expresses her pride. “This funding will enable Dr. Martins to build new skills to enhance peer recognition across campus and beyond UAB. We are honored that he has such a unique opportunity to further commit to his interests in a way that will benefit our campus and community,” she says.

“This will hopefully improve access to effective oral healthcare for underserved populations, and I look forward to presenting the results of my project in 2026,” says Martins.