Keith Kirkwood

Dentistry and Maxillofacial Prosthetics

Specializing In:

Dental Specialist in Periodontology

About Keith Kirkwood


I am currently a professor in the Department of Oral Biology at the University at Buffalo. Previously, I was a professor and Founding Chair of the Department Oral Health Sciences at the College of Dental Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC, where I was also the Sr. Associate Dean for Research and Director for the MUSC Center for Oral Health Research. I completed my Certificate in Periodontology and earned my PhD in Oral Biology at the University at Buffalo and was a tenured associate professor at the University of Michigan. I have been the principal investigator in several grants from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Dental Research (NIH/NIDCR) focused on understanding immune signaling involved inflammatory periodontal bone loss and oral cancer progression. I have received numerous awards and honors throughout my career, including the Tarrson Fellowship Career Development Award from the American Academy of Periodontology Foundation, the IADR Distinguished Scientist Award, the Sunstar Fellowship Research Award from the American Academy of Periodontology Foundation, and the two-time recipient of the IADR/GSK Innovation in Oral Care Award.


Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

  • Consulting Physician
  • Department of Head & Neck Surgery

The University at Buffalo

  • Professor
  • Department of Oral Biology


Education and Training:

  • 1997 - PhD - University at Buffalo, Oral Biology
  • 1991 - DDS - West Virginia University


  • 1995 - Periodontics, University at Buffalo


  • 1999 - Individual NRSA Fellowship in Molecular Biology, University at Buffalo

Board Certification:

  • Diplomate, American Board of Periodontology

Professional Memberships:

  • International Association for Dental Research
  • American Academy of Periodontology
  • American Association for Bone and Mineral Research
  • The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Professional Experience:

  • President-Elect for the Pharmacology Toxicology Therapeutics Group of the IADR/AADR (2006-present)
  • 2017 World Workshop on the Classification of Periodontal and Peri-implant Diseases and Conditions
  • AADR Ethics in Dental Research Committee; 2005-2008
  • Vice President for the Pharmacology Toxicology Therapeutics Group of the IADR/AADR (2005-2006)

Honors & Awards:

  • 2016 - Sunstar Fellowship Research Award from the American Academy of Periodontology Foundation
  • 2016 - AADR Fellow
  • 2008, 2014 - IADR/GlaxoSmithKline Innovation in Oral Care Award
  • 2013 - IADR Distinguished Scientist Award for Pharmacology/Therapeutics/Toxicology Research


Research Overview:

My research program has been focused on innate immune signaling and cytokine biology as it relates to inflammation, bone loss, and head and oral cancer progression. My translational research explores the roles of posttranscriptional cytokine regulation in oral inflammation with the ultimate possibility of developing novel therapies to control chronic oral inflammation. I have a long history of success in garnering national, peer-reviewed funding for my independent research program. Over the past several years, my laboratory has expanded interest to address the role of the tumor microenvironment and oral inflammation during oral cancer and oral mucositis progression.


Full Publications list on PubMed
  • Zhang X, Hyer JM, Yu H, D'Silva NJ, Kirkwood KL. DUSP1 Phosphatase Regulates the Proinflammatory Milieu in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Cancer Res. 2014 Dec 15;74(24):7191-7. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-1379. Epub 2014 Oct 13. PubMed PMID: 25312268; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4268021.
  • Van Tubergen EA, Banerjee R, Liu M, Vander Broek R, Light E, Kuo S, Feinberg SE, Willis AL, Wolf G, Carey T, Bradford C, Prince M, Worden FP, Kirkwood KL, D'Silva NJ. Inactivation or loss of TTP promotes invasion in head and neck cancer via transcript stabilization and secretion of MMP9, MMP2, and IL-6. Clin Cancer Res. 2013 Mar 1;19(5):1169-79. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-2927. Epub 2013 Jan 24. PubMed PMID: 23349315; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3594656.
  • Zhang X, Junior CR, Liu M, Li F, D'Silva NJ, Kirkwood KL. Oral squamous carcinoma cells secrete RANKL directly supporting osteolytic bone loss. Oral Oncol. 2013 Feb;49(2):119-28. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2012.08.004. Epub 2012 Sep 16. PubMed PMID: 22989723; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3527639.
  • Palanisamy V, Jakymiw A, Van Tubergen EA, D'Silva NJ, Kirkwood KL. Control of cytokine mRNA expression by RNA-binding proteins and microRNAs. J Dent Res. 2012 Jul;91(7):651-8. doi: 10.1177/0022034512437372. Epub 2012 Feb 1. Review. PubMed PMID: 22302144; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3383846.
  • Rossa C Jr, Sommer G, Spolidorio LC, Rosenzweig SA, Watson DK, Kirkwood KL. Loss of expression and function of SOCS3 is an early event in HNSCC: altered subcellular localization as a possible mechanism involved in proliferation, migration and invasion. PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e45197. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045197. Epub 2012 Sep 18. PubMed PMID: 23028842; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3445460.