Dr Christina Adler

Associate Lecturer

C24 - Westmead Hospital
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 8890 4818

Biographical details

Dr Christina Adler is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Dentistry. She is a scientist and academic whose research focuses on understanding how the oral microbiome evolves from a state of health to the current state of highly prevalent chronic infection and disease. “I am interested in the complexity of bacteria rather than any one particular bacterium”, she says “and what factors can push a bacterial community toward maintenance of health or the development of oral diseases, particularly dental caries”. Currently, she is lead investigator of a NHMRC grant funded project using twins to study how genetic and environmental factors influence the developing oral microbiota and drive disease (i.e. dental caries development) in early childhood.Dr Adler is a celebrated early-career researcher who has received a number of awards. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Sydney (and received the University Medal) and a PhD (2012) at the University of Adelaide where she won the Doctoral Research Medal. She also received a Wellcome Trust grant to attend the Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK to study microbial genetics. Dr Adler has already established an excellent publication track record in high-impact journals.Her research involving sequencing of ancient calcified dental plaque was the first study to use ancient calculus for genetic analysis, and showed the transition from hunter-gatherer lifestyle to farming shifted the oral microbial community to a disease-associated composition, then remained relatively stable until the Industrial Revolution when cariogenic bacteria became dominant. These findings indicating modern oral microbiotic ecosystems are markedly less diverse than historic populations, which might be contributing to chronic oral (and other) disease in postindustrial lifestyles, led to a first-author publication in Nature Genetics, which has been the subject of a number of editorials and reviews. She co-authored another paper published in Science, on the stages in the formation of Central European mitochondrial genetic diversity. At the Faculty of Dentistry, alongside research, Dr Adler teaches Oral Life Sciences in the Doctorate of Dental Medicine and Bachelor of Oral Health courses.

Research interests

Dr Adler’s research aims to improve our understanding of the manner in which the oral microbial community contributes to the maintenance of health and the development of oral diseases, particularly dental caries, and the factors influencing changes to the oral microbiota.

Dr Adler leads the NHMRC grant-funded ‘Twin study’ of dental decay (caries), the most common chronic disease affecting Australian children which will extend previous work from a cohort study of Australian children (300 monozygotic and 300 dizygotic twin pairs with and without dental caries) who have been followed from 3 months to 5 years of age by the Craniofacial Biology Unit at The University of Adelaide. The study involves in-depth genetic analysis on the dental plaque samples from the twin cohort to understand how genetic and environmental factors drive variation in the composition of the oral microbiota, leading to either dental decay or oral health. The findings will be used at the population level to direct treatment approaches.

Awards and honours

Doctoral Research Medal, The University of Adelaide, 2013.

Colgate Postdoctoral Award and Medal, International Association for Dental Research, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Division, 2012.

Australian Postgraduate Award, The University of Adelaide, 2008- 2011.

Earth and Environmental School, PhD Top-Up Scholarship, The University of Adelaide, 2008-2011.

Student Presentation Prize, Australasian Society for Human Biology Conference, 2008.

University Medal, The University of Sydney, 2006.

McAvoy Prize for outstanding overall performance in Honours, The University of Sydney, 2006.

Keywords

Genetics; Bioinformatics; Microbiology; Child health; Oral diseases

International links

United Kingdom

(University of Aberdeen) The impact of past dietary changes on the oral ecosystem ¿ Ancient dental calculus - Professor Alan Cooper (The University of Adelaide) and Professor Keith Dobney (The University of Aberdeen).

Selected grants

2014

  • Determining how genetic and environmental factors influence the developing oral microbiota and drive disease in early childhood; Adler C, Hughes T, Townsend G, Arora M; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Kianoush, N., Adler, C., Nguyen, K., Browne, G., Simonian, M., Hunter, N. (2014). Bacterial Profile of Dentine Caries and the Impact of pH on Bacterial Population Diversity. PloS One, 9(3), 1-10. [More Information]
  • Williams, S., Hughes, T., Adler, C., Brook, A., Townsend, G. (2014). Epigenetics: a new frontier in dentistry. Australian Dental Journal, 59(Suppl 1), 1-11. [More Information]
  • Bray, S., Austin, J., Metcalf, J., Ostbye, K., Ostbye, E., Lauritzen, S., Aaris-Sorensen, K., Valdiosera, C., Adler, C., Cooper, A. (2013). Ancient DNA identifies post-glacial recolonisation, not recent bottlenecks, as the primary driver of contemporary mtDNA phylogeography and diversity in Scandinavian brown bears. Diversity and Distributions, 19(3), 245-256. [More Information]
  • Brandt, G., Haak, W., Adler, C., Roth, C., Szécsényi-Nagy, A., Karimnia, S., Möller-Rieker, S., Meller, H., Ganslmeier, R., Friederich, S., et al (2013). Ancient DNA reveals key stages in the formation of central European mitochondrial genetic diversity. Science, 342(6155), 257-261. [More Information]
  • Brotherton, P., Haak, W., Templeton, J., Brandt, G., Soubrier, J., Adler, C., Richards, S., Der Sarkissian, C., Ganslmeier, R., Friedrich, S., Ho, S., et al (2013). Neolithic mitochondrial haplogroup H genomes and the genetic origins of Europeans. Nature Communications, 4, 1-11. [More Information]
  • Adler, C., Dobney, K., Weyrich, L., Kaidonis, J., Walker, A., Haak, W., Bradshaw, C., Townsend, G., Soltysiak, A., Alt, K., et al (2013). Sequencing ancient calcified dental plaque shows change in oral microbiota with dietary shifts of the Neolithic and Industrial revolutions. Nature Genetics, 45(4), 450-455. [More Information]
  • Adler, C., Haak, W., Donlon, D., Cooper, A. (2011). Survival and recovery of DNA from ancient teeth and bones. Journal of Archaeological Science, 38(5), 956-964. [More Information]
  • Haak, W., Balanovsky, O., Sanchez, J., Koshel, S., Zaporozhchenko, V., Adler, C., Der Sarkissian, C., Brandt, G., Schwarz, C., Nicklisch, N., et al (2010). Ancient DNA from European Early Neolithic Farmers Reveals Their Near Eastern Affinities. PLoS Biology, 8(11), 1-16. [More Information]
  • Adler, C., Donlon, D. (2010). Sexual dimorphism in deciduous crown traits of a European derived Australian sample. Forensic Science International, 199(40238 (1-3)), 29-37. [More Information]
  • Donlon, D., Casey, M., Haak, W., Adler, C. (2008). Early colonial burial practices for perinates at the Parramatta convict hospital, NSW. Australasian Historical Archaeology, 26, 71-83.

2014

  • Kianoush, N., Adler, C., Nguyen, K., Browne, G., Simonian, M., Hunter, N. (2014). Bacterial Profile of Dentine Caries and the Impact of pH on Bacterial Population Diversity. PloS One, 9(3), 1-10. [More Information]
  • Williams, S., Hughes, T., Adler, C., Brook, A., Townsend, G. (2014). Epigenetics: a new frontier in dentistry. Australian Dental Journal, 59(Suppl 1), 1-11. [More Information]

2013

  • Bray, S., Austin, J., Metcalf, J., Ostbye, K., Ostbye, E., Lauritzen, S., Aaris-Sorensen, K., Valdiosera, C., Adler, C., Cooper, A. (2013). Ancient DNA identifies post-glacial recolonisation, not recent bottlenecks, as the primary driver of contemporary mtDNA phylogeography and diversity in Scandinavian brown bears. Diversity and Distributions, 19(3), 245-256. [More Information]
  • Brandt, G., Haak, W., Adler, C., Roth, C., Szécsényi-Nagy, A., Karimnia, S., Möller-Rieker, S., Meller, H., Ganslmeier, R., Friederich, S., et al (2013). Ancient DNA reveals key stages in the formation of central European mitochondrial genetic diversity. Science, 342(6155), 257-261. [More Information]
  • Brotherton, P., Haak, W., Templeton, J., Brandt, G., Soubrier, J., Adler, C., Richards, S., Der Sarkissian, C., Ganslmeier, R., Friedrich, S., Ho, S., et al (2013). Neolithic mitochondrial haplogroup H genomes and the genetic origins of Europeans. Nature Communications, 4, 1-11. [More Information]
  • Adler, C., Dobney, K., Weyrich, L., Kaidonis, J., Walker, A., Haak, W., Bradshaw, C., Townsend, G., Soltysiak, A., Alt, K., et al (2013). Sequencing ancient calcified dental plaque shows change in oral microbiota with dietary shifts of the Neolithic and Industrial revolutions. Nature Genetics, 45(4), 450-455. [More Information]

2011

  • Adler, C., Haak, W., Donlon, D., Cooper, A. (2011). Survival and recovery of DNA from ancient teeth and bones. Journal of Archaeological Science, 38(5), 956-964. [More Information]

2010

  • Haak, W., Balanovsky, O., Sanchez, J., Koshel, S., Zaporozhchenko, V., Adler, C., Der Sarkissian, C., Brandt, G., Schwarz, C., Nicklisch, N., et al (2010). Ancient DNA from European Early Neolithic Farmers Reveals Their Near Eastern Affinities. PLoS Biology, 8(11), 1-16. [More Information]
  • Adler, C., Donlon, D. (2010). Sexual dimorphism in deciduous crown traits of a European derived Australian sample. Forensic Science International, 199(40238 (1-3)), 29-37. [More Information]

2008

  • Donlon, D., Casey, M., Haak, W., Adler, C. (2008). Early colonial burial practices for perinates at the Parramatta convict hospital, NSW. Australasian Historical Archaeology, 26, 71-83.

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