Dr. Letra is an Associate Professor of Endodontics. Dr. Letra earned her DDS degree from Fluminense Federal University, a MS in Endodontics from State University of Rio de Janeiro and a PhD degree from University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. She moved to the US for her postdoctoral training in Human Molecular Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh where she remained as Assistant Professor.
Dr. Letra joined the UTSD faculty in 2011, and also holds an adjunct faculty position at the Pediatric Research Center, Medical School. As a research-track faculty, Dr. Letra is part of the UTSD Center for Craniofacial Research and her research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of birth defects (i.e. cleft lip/palate and dental anomalies), and inflammatory conditions (i.e. apical periodontitis) in humans. Using sophisticated genetic analysis technologies, Dr. Letra's studies aim to identify gene variants that may contribute to these conditions. Moreover, Dr. Letra's lab uses functional assays to investigate the biological effects underlying genetic variations in vivo and in vitro. Dr. Letra has published over 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts in the field of Human Genetics and Endodontics. She has accumulated several research grants including the prestigious NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99R00), UT Center for Clinical and Translational Science Award, and American Association of Endodontists Foundation Research Grant. Dr. Letra has been the Director of Endodontic Research since 2012.