Dr. Dennis Cvitkovitch’s research interests focus on the role of the acid tolerance response of Streptococcus mutans, the principal agent of dental decay. Using a variety of molecular biological, biochemical and in silico technologies, Dr. Cvitkovitch and his research group are also unraveling the mechanisms of cell-cell signaling and its role in biofilm formation and genetic exchange by gram positive pathogens. Ongoing collaborative programs also include the search for potential vaccine targets for Streptococcus pyogenes infections and the effects of dental restorative materials on bacterial growth and metabolism.
The group is also integrated with the University of Toronto Tissue Engineering Group focusing on the development of novel biomaterials resistant to bacterial infection. Dr. Cvitkovitch is the inventor of the Competence Stimulating Peptide (CSP) technology which is based upon the discovery that CSP is associated with the formation of dental plaque, which can lead to dental cavities, periodontal diseases, and infective endocarditis. The technology includes inhibitors of CSP that have been shown to prevent CSP from performing its essential role in plaque formation. A biotechnology company engaged in the development of products to prevent and remove biofilms has exclusive licensing to the CSP technology.