Dr. Banas entered the tenure tack as an assistant professor in 1994 at the Albany Medical College, Center for Immunology and Microbial Disease (Albany, NY) following a postdoc at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Professor Banas joined the University of Iowa College of Dentistry in 2006.
Dr. Banas lectures annually on the topic "microbiology of dental caries" to the D1 students and is course director for the semi-annual graduate courses Oral Microbiology & Immunology and Current Concepts of Cariology.
Dr. Banas's broad research interest is the understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms of bacteria. Much of his work has focused on the microbiology of dental caries. His lab has extensively studied how the glucan-binding proteins (GBPs) synthesized by Streptococcus mutans contribute to the development of the plaque biofilm and ultimately dental caries. Since glucan -- a polymer of glucose derived from the metabolism of sucrose -- is a primary virulence factor that propels the change in microbial ecology that leads to a cariogenic plaque, it has been proposed that proteins that have the property of binding glucan play accessory roles in this process. It is now clear that the GBPs share in structurally supporting the biofilm, each doing so in a unique manner. These studies also revealed that the relative coverage of bacteria at the substratum surface of the biofilm was correlated with the risk of caries development.
Dr. Banas's lab is also collaborating with College of Dentistry colleagues to investigate whether oral streptococci other than S. mutans are involved in the early stages of dental decay. Other collaborations, both within and outside the College of Dentistry, foster work to identify novel agents to specifically target cariogenic bacterial species, to coat dental materials with antimicrobials, to examine the microflora associated with localized aggressive periodontitis, and to investigate potential cariogenic properties associated with multiple bacterial species common to dental plaque.
1: Banas JA, Lubinsky R, Qian F, and Vickerman MM. Survey of sterilisation and disinfection practices for new, unused endodontic materials in U.S. dental offices. ENDO - Endodontic Practice Today 2015;9:1-6.
2: Downs RD, Banas JA, Zhu M. An in vitro study comparing a two-part activated chlorine dioxide oral rinse to chlorhexidine. Surgical Restorative Resource. Jan. 21, 2015.
3: Lynch DJ, Michalek SM, Zhu M, Drake D, Qian F, Banas JA. Cariogenicity of Streptococcus mutans glucan-binding protein deletion mutants. Oral Health Dent Manage 2013;12:191-199.
4: Banas JA, Popp ET. Recovery of Viable Bacteria from Probiotic Products that Target Oral Health. Probiotics Antimicrob Proteins. 2013 Sep;5(3):227-231. PubMed PMID: 24015157; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3762494.
5: Banas JA. Delaying Streptococcus mutans colonization in children leads to reduced caries experience. J Evid Based Dent Pract. 2013 Jun;13(2):67-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jebdp.2013.04.007. PubMed PMID: 23773472.
6: Banas JA, Biswas S, Zhu M. Effects of DNA methylation on expression of virulence genes in Streptococcus mutans. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2011 Oct;77(20):7236-42. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00543-11. Epub 2011 Aug 12. PubMed PMID: 21841035; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3194855.
7: Phattarataratip E, Olson B, Broffitt B, Qian F, Brogden KA, Drake DR, Levy SM, Banas JA. Streptococcus mutans strains recovered from caries-active or caries-free individuals differ in sensitivity to host antimicrobial peptides. Mol Oral Microbiol. 2011 Jun;26(3):187-99. doi: 10.1111/j.2041-1014.2011.00607.x. Epub 2011 Jan 31. PubMed PMID: 21545696; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3092152.
8: Banas JA. Walter Loesche--a maverick in translational research in dentistry. J Dent Res. 2009 Dec;88(12):1092-5. doi: 10.1177/0022034509351511. Epub 2009 Nov 5. PubMed PMID: 19892917.
9: Zhu M, Ajdić D, Liu Y, Lynch D, Merritt J, Banas JA. Role of the Streptococcus mutans irvA gene in GbpC-independent, dextran-dependent aggregation and biofilm formation. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Nov;75(22):7037-43. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01015-09. Epub 2009 Sep 25. PubMed PMID: 19783751; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2786544.
10: Banas JA, Miller JD, Fuschino ME, Hazlett KR, Toyofuku W, Porter KA, Reutzel SB, Florczyk MA, McDonough KA, Michalek SM. Evidence that accumulation of mutants in a biofilm reflects natural selection rather than stress-induced adaptive mutation. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jan;73(1):357-61. Epub 2006 Nov 3. PubMed PMID: 17085702; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1797100.
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Dr. Banas has served as an ad hoc member of numerous study sections, has completed three years of service as a member of the NIDCR Oral, Dental and Craniofacial Sciences study section, and is a member of the College of CSR Reviewers. He is on the editorial boards of Infection and Immunity and Applied and Environmental Microbiology, and contributes ad hoc reviews for several scientific journals. Dr. Banas is a member of the American Society for Microbiology and the American and International Associations for Dental Research.