Areas of Research
Chromatin and Epigenetics
Twenty-five years ago, we discovered the cp27 chromatin factor in our laboratory. This factor is part of the large SRCAP chromatin complex that plays important roles in development and cell division. A second aspect of our epigenetics research is focused on the role of histone methylation in odontogenic tissue differentiation and disease. More recently, we have conducted studies to understand how epigenetic changes affect the periodontal tissue response to pathogens.
Learn more about Epigenetics, Chromation and microRNAs
Currently, we are using a number of mouse models to understand genetic and epigenetic factors involved in craniofacial development and disease.
Learn more about our Craniofacial Research
Periodontal Development and Regeneration
Our lab works on the development and differentiation of periodontal tissues as a means to generate new progenitor-based approaches for the regeneration of periodontal tissues.
Learn more about our Peridontal Research
Enamel Formation and Evolution
Our lab is interested in determining the mechanisms of enamel crystal formation. We are asking how mineral ions are transported toward the enamel layer and what factors govern the nucleation and elongation of enamel crystals. Using an evolutionary biology approach, we are studying the relationship between the amelogenin molecule and enamel mechanical properties.
Learn more about Tooth Enamel Evolution and Development
Evolution and Development
Our lab focuses on the evolution of jaws and teeth, especially tooth enamel and periodontal ligament. Specifically, we are interested in the effects of changes in the amelogenin protein on the evolution of the amazing physical properties of enamel. We are also trying to understand how the non-mineralized state of the periodontal ligament evolved in vertebrates.
Learn more about Evolution and Development of Jaws and Teeth
History of Science
Based on our roots in the methodical culturalism of the Erlangen school, we have an interest in the genesis of scientific schools and disciplines from a cultural perspective.
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Orthodontics and Tooth Movement
This aspect of our lab focuses on the model system of the un-opposed molar and the scholarly legacy left by Allan G. Brodie. The un-opposed model has been brought to Illinois by Harry Sicher and Joseph-Peter Weinmann, two of pre-war Vienna’s most prominent scholars. Today, this model provides an intriguing venue to study the molecular mechanisms involved in tooth movement and drift.
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Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering
Our lab's research in tissue engineering, which began in 2001 with a focus on periodontal stem cells, has evolved significantly. We have received NIH grants and developed expertise in generating stem cell populations and periodontal progenitors for tooth regeneration. Our work also involves designing scaffolds and utilizing molecular cues like histone demethylases, neuropeptides, and hormones for tissue regeneration. We have concurrently advanced materials science with innovations like electrospinning and multi-layer coating to enhance compatibility, degradability, and controlled release. Overall, our research aims to improve the regeneration of complex tissues.
Learn more about Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering