Associate Professor Jeffrey M Craig

Associate Professor Jeff Craig

Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Molecular and Medical Research
School of Medicine, Faculty of Health, Deakin University

Associate Professor Craig is a lecturer in medical sciences at Deakin University School of Medicine, at Warn Ponds, Victoria. He has established a number of longitudinal cohorts including the Peri/postnatal Epigenetic Twin cohort. Dr Craig is a passionate twin researcher and is President of the International Society for Twin Studies. His work focuses on epigenetic changes associated with early development and the link between environmental factors, development and disease, in particular cardiovascular and neurodevelopmental disorders. He is currently developing epigenetic biomarkers using peripheral tissues, oral samples, to integrate into disease risk models.

Presentation Title: Quantitation of the cellular content of saliva and buccal swab samples

Buccal swabs and saliva are often used for medical research but have been used interchangeably, despite evidence that both contain buccal cells and blood leukocytes in different proportions. Such heterogeneity can confound ‘omic’ analysis. We collected such samples from twelve children and twenty adults and, using Papanicolaou staining, measured the proportions of epithelial cells and leukocytes. We confirmed that buccal swabs contained a higher proportion of epithelial cells than saliva and that children have a greater proportion of such cells in saliva compared to adults. We showed that in children, gingivitis is associated with higher proportion of leukocytes in saliva. We suggest that a quick oral health questionnaire and/or microscopic analysis will be of great benefit for downstream applications.