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Ariadne Letra DDS, MS, PhD


Dr. Ariadne Letra is a professor in the Departments of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences, Endodontics, and a member of the Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics. She is a dentist-scientist, with a certificate and MS degree in endodontics, and a PhD degree in oral biology. Dr. Letra first came to Pitt Dental Medicine as a postdoctoral fellow in 2006 and in 2009 became assistant professor in the Department of Oral Biology.

Dr. Letra’s research focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying complex craniofacial and oral disorders and diseases. Her primary work involves gene discovery studies of cleft lip/palate, tooth agenesis, and apical periodontitis. By combining human genetics with in vitro and in vivo model systems, work from Dr. Letra’s group has elucidated numerous molecular players underlying these conditions. Another aspect of Dr. Letra’s work focuses on identifying shared genetic variants potentially contributing to oral health-systemic health connections. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, American Association of Endodontists Foundation (AAEF), and American Association of Orthodontists Foundation.

Dr. Letra is a member of the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) and former chair of the AAE Research and Scientific Affairs Committee. She is a member of the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR), International Association for Dental Research (IADR), American Dental Education Association (ADEA) in which she serves/has served on numerous committees and leadership roles. She is also a member of the American Association of Human Genetics (ASHG) and the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG).

Dr. Letra is associate editor for the Journal of Endodontics and is on the editorial board team of the Journal of Dental Research and the Journal Dental Research Clinical and Translational Research, as well as other scientific journals in the dental and medical fields.

From 2011-2022, Dr. Letra was on faculty at UTHealth School of Dentistry at Houston Department of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences, Endodontics, and Center for Craniofacial Research.

Education & Training
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa., Postdoctoral fellowship (Human Molecular Genetics, under Dr. Alexandre Vieira), 2006-2009
Bauru Dental School, University of Sao Paulo, Bauru, Brazil, PhD, 2008
State University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, MS, 2003
Fluminense Federal University Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, DDS, 1995