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URMC / Labs / Diekwisch Lab / Areas of Research / Peridontal Research


Peridontal Research

Healthy teeth, healthy tooth enamel and healthy periodontal tissues are among the prerequisite for dental health and for a long life of the dentition. Unfortunately, the majority of the U.S. population suffers from caries and periodontal disease.  For four decades so far, Dr. Diekwisch’s research has focused on understanding the basis of these tooth-related diseases and developing molecular tools for their treatment.  From 1987-1990, Tom Diekwisch trained with one of Europe’s pre-eminent periodontists at that time, Dr. Lavin Flores-de-Jacoby, in Marburg/FRG. Ever since his first exposure to periodontal research and clinic in 1987, his work has been dedicated toward understanding the development of periodontal tissues and discovering novel therapeutic aids to improve the oral health of patients suffering from periodontal disease. He hopes that with the current line of work, the practicing dentist and periodontist will be provided with future aids that will help with the biological regeneration of periodontal tissues.

Contributions to the area of periodontal research include a high-impact paper related to the mesenchymal origin of cementum (Diekwisch 2001), the first study demonstrating extensive movements of neural crest derived tissues during the development of the periodontium (Diekwisch 2002), the discovery that the dental follicle contains diverse progenitor populations which may independently give rise to various periodontal tissues (Luan et al. 2006a), a comprehensive analysis of the role of Hertwig’s Epithelial Root Sheath in tooth root development (Luan et al. 2006b), a characterization of the extracellular matrix environment influencing periodontal progenitor growth and differentiation (Dangaria et al. 2009) and studies related to the systems biology and epigenetics of periodontal progenitor populations (Dangaria et al. 2011a, Gopinathan et al. 2013). Our combined periodontal progenitor – surface topography approach to facilitate tooth replantation (Dangaria et al. 2011b,c) has found much acclaim in the popular press. In recent years, Diekwisch’s research has focused on the application of microRNAs and small molecules for the regeneration of periodontal tissues.

Contributions to Journals

  • Lyu, H., Zhou, X., Qian, Y., Liu, X., Gopinathan, G., Pandya, M., Qin, C., Luan, X., Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2022). Long-acting PFI-2 small molecule release and multilayer scaffold design achieve extensive new formation of complex periodontal tissues with unprecedented fidelity.  Biomaterials 290, 121819. 
  • Luan, X., Zhou, X., Fallah, P., Pandya, M., Lyu, H., Foyle, D., Burch, D., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2022). MicroRNAs: Harbingers and shapers of periodontal inflammation.  Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 124, 85-98.
  • Ma, W., Lyu, H., Pandya, M., Gopinathan, G., Luan, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2021). Successful application of a Galanin-coated scaffold for periodontal regeneration. J. Dent. Res. 100, 1144-1152.
  • Pandya, M., Saxon, M., Bozanich, J., Tillberg, C., Luan, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2021). The glycoprotein/cytokine erythropoietin promotes rapid alveolar ridge regeneration in vivo by promoting new bone extracellular matrix deposition in conjunction with couple angiogenesis/osteogenesis. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22, 2788.
  • Francis, M., Gopinathan, G., Foyle, D., Fallah, P., Gonzalez, M., Luan, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2020). Histone Methylation: Achilles Heel and Powerful Mediator of Periodontal Homeostasis. J. Dent. Res. 99, 1332-1340.
  • Francis, M., Gopinathan, G., Salapatas, A., Nares, S., Gonzales, M., Diekwisch, T.G.H. and Luan, X. (2020). SETD1 and NF-kB Regulate Periodontal Inflammation through H3K4 Trimethylation. J. Dent. Res. 99, 1486-1493.
  • Harrel, S.K., Wilson, T.G., Jr., Pandya, M., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2019). Titanium particles generated during ultrasonic scaling of implants. J. Periodontol. 90, 241-246.
  • Gopinathan, G., Foyle, D., Luan, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2019). The WNT antagonist SFRP1 – a key regulator of periodontal homeostasis. Stem Cells and Development 28, 1004-1014.
  • Qian, Y., Zhou, X., Zhang, F., Diekwisch, T.G.H., Luan, X., and Yang, J. (2019). Triple PLGA/PCL scaffold modification including silver impregnation, collagen coating, and electrospinning significantly improve biocompatibility, antimicrobial, and osteogenic properties for orofacial tissue regeneration. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 11, 37381-37396
  • Issac, A., Jivan, F., Xin, S., Hardin, J., Luan, X., Pandya, M., Diekwisch, T.G.H. and Alge, D.L., (2019). Microporous Bio-orthogonally Annealed Particle Hydrogels for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. ACS Biomater. Sci. Eng. 5, 6395-6404.
  • Luan, X., Zhou, X., Naqvi, A., Francis, M., Foyle, D., Nares, S., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2018). MicroRNAs and Immunity in Periodontal Health and Disease. Int. J. Oral Sci. 10:24 (
  • Luan, X., Zhou, X., Trombetta-eSilva, J., Francis, M., Gaharwar, A.K., Atsawasuwan, P., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2017) MicroRNAs and periodontal homeostasis. J. Dent. Res. 96, 491-500.
  • Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2016) Our periodontal tissue: a masterpiece of evolution. J. Clin. Periodontology 43, 320-322.
  • Zhou, X.*, Luan, X.*, Chen, Z., Francis, M., Gopinathan, G., Li, W., Lu, X., Li, S., Wu, C., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2016). MicroRNA-138 inhibits periodontal progenitor differentiation under inflammatory conditions. J. Dent. Res. 95, 230-237.
  • Chen, Y., Evans C.A., Zhou X., Luan X., Diekwisch, T.G.H.*, and Atsawasuwan, P.* (2015). Cyclic stretch and compression forces alter microRNA-29 expression of human periodontal ligament cells. Gene 566, 13-17.
  • Reed, D.A. and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2015). Morphogenesis and wound healing in the periodontium. Stem Cell Biology and Tissue Engineering in Dental Science, Chapter 35, pp. 445-458. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
  • Hasturk, H., Kantarci A., Ghattas, M., Dangaria, S.J., Rima, A., Morgan, E.F., Ash, A., Diekwisch, T.G.H., and van Dyke, T. (2014). The use of light/chemically-hardened poly-methyl-methacrylate, poly-hydroxyl-ethyl-methacrylate and calcium hydroxide graft material in combination with polyanhydride around implants and extraction sockets in minipigs: Part II: Histological and µCT evaluations. J. Periodontol. 85, 1230-1239.
  • Li, Q., Reed, D.A., Min, L., Gopinathan, G., Li, S., Dangaria, S.J., Li, L., Geng, Y., Galang, M.T., Gajendrareddy, P., Zhou, Y., Luan, X., Diekwisch, T.G. (2014). Lyophilized Platelet-Rich Fibrin (PRF) promotes craniofacial bone regeneration through Runx2. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 15, 8509-8525.
  • Li, Q., Pan, S., Dangaria, S.J., Gopinathan, G., Kolokythas, A., Chu, S., Geng, Y., Zhou, Y., and Luan X. (2013). Platelet-rich fibrin promotes periodontal regeneration and enhances alveolar bone augmentation. Biomed Res Int. 638043. doi: 10.1155/2013/638043.
  • Hasturk, H., Kantarci, A., Ghattas, M., Schmidt, M., Giordano, R.A., Ashman, A., Diekwisch, T.G.H., and van Dyke, T. (2011). The use of light/chemically hardened polymethylmethacrylate, polyhydroxyethylmethacrylate, and calcium hydroxide graft material in combination with polyanhydride around implants in minipigs: part I: immediate stability and function.J. Periodontol. 82, 1339-1352.
  • Dangaria, S., Ito, Y., Luan, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2011c). Successful periodontal ligament regeneration by periodontal progenitor pre-seeding on natural tooth root surfaces. Stem Cells and Development 20, 1659-68.
  • Dangaria, S., Ito, Y., Yin, L.L., Valdrè, G., Luan, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2011b). Apatite microtopographies instruct signaling tapestries for progenitor-driven new attachment of teeth. Tiss. Eng. Part A 17, 279-290.
  • Dangaria, S., Ito, Y., Luan, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2011a). Differentiation of neural crest-derived intermediate pluripotent progenitors into committed periodontal populations involves unique molecular signature changes, cohort shifts, and epigenetic modifications. Stem Cells and Development 20, 39-52.
  • Dangaria, S.J., Ito, Y., Walker, C., Druzinsky, R., Luan, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2009). Extracellular matrix-mediated differentiation of periodontal progenitor cells. Differentiation 78, 79-90
  • Luan, X., Ito, Y., Dangaria, S., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2006). Dental follicle progenitor cell heterogeneity in the developing mouse periodontium. Stem Cells and Development 15, 595-608.
  • Luan, X., Ito, Y., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2006). Evolution and development of Hertwig’s Epithelial Root Sheath. Developmental Dynamics 235, 1167-80.
  • McIntosh J.E., Anderton, X., Flores-de-Jacoby, L., Carlson D.S., Shuler C.F., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2002). The caiman periodontium as an intermediate between basal vertebrate ankylosis-type attachment and mammalian “true” periodontium. Microscopy Research Technique 59, 449-459.
  • Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2002). Pathways and fate of migratory cells during late tooth organogenesis. Connective Tissue Research 43, 245-256.
  • Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2001). The developmental biology of cementum. Int. J. Dev. Biol. 45, 605-706.
  • Diekwisch, T. and Flores-de-Jacoby, L. (1991). Diagnostics of periodontal diseases by using a combined immunohistochemical-morphometrical analysis. DZZ 46, 491-493.
  • Flores-de-Jacoby, L. and Diekwisch, T. (1990). Periodontal Surgery. In: Praxis of Dentistry, Vol. 4: Periodontology (ed. W. Ketterl). 2nd edition. Urban & Schwarzenberg, Munich 1990.
  • Diekwisch, T. (1989). Immunohistochemical demonstration of intermediate filaments in the periodontal ligament and other oral soft tissues. DZZ 44, 370-372.

Book Chapters

  • Reed, D.A. and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2015). Morphogenesis and Wound Healing in the Periodontium. In: A. Vishwakarma, P. Sharpe, S. Shi & M. Ramalingam (eds.), Stem Cell Biology and Tissue Engineering in Dental Science, Chapter 35, 445-458. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
  • Flores-de-Jacoby, L. and Diekwisch, T. (1990). Periodontal surgery. In: Praxis of Dentistry, Vol. 4: Periodontics (ed. W. Ketterl). 2nd edition. Urban & Schwarzenberg, Munich 1990.

Media Reports

  • Murray, P.E., Yelick, P.C., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2012). What is the latest thinking in dental stem cell research? Inside Dentistry 8, Issue 4.
  • G. (2012). Tom Diekwisch Sees Growing Future for Tooth Regeneration. UIC News, February 8, 2012.
  • Springen, K. (2011). Healthy Chicago. The Supertooth Squad. Researchers at UIC College of Dentistry are trying to turn fillings, crowns, bridges, and dentures into relics of the past – by harnessing nature to grow and implant new teeth. (Featuring Drs. Tom Diekwisch and Anne George, UIC COD Department of Oral Biology). Chicago Magazine December 2011 (, p. 40.
  • Cheeseman, V. (2011). The progression of stem cell research in dentistry. Interview with Thomas G.H. Diekwisch. Dentistry IQ March 29, 2011.
  • Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2010). Technique to Reattach Teeth Using Stem Cells Developed. Sep 30, 2010.
  • Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2010). Scientists develop new technique to reattach teeth using stem cells. Oct 7, 2010.
  • Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2010). Technique to Reattach Teeth Using Stem Cells Developed at UIC. Sep 29, 2010. bin/index.cgi?from=Releases&to=Release&id=3022&start=1284786000&end=1295157600&topic=0&dept=0
  • Hogan, M. U of I President, press release. UIC study could prevent early tooth loss. Nov 4, 2010.
  • Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2010). Stem cells anchor teeth. New process may advance battle against gum disease. UIC alumni magazine. Winter 2010.
  • Richmond, B. (2010). UIC Researcher’s long journey from newspaper photographer to oral biologist. Nov. 18, 2010 in Medill News Services and Nov. 24, 2010 in The Chicago Journal.
  • Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2010). Researchers at UIC have used stem cells to reattach teeth in the jaws of rats. Medill Reports interview with Benjamin Richmond. Oct 21, 2010.
  • Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2010). Chicago scientists use stem cells to reattach teeth. A WBEZ 91.5 (NPR) interview with Gabriel Spitzer. September 30, 2010.
  • Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2003). Dental Tissue Regeneration. An interview with Mary Ann Childers/CBS Channel 2 in Chicago.
  • Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2003). Periodontal Tissue Regeneration. Center for TeleHealth E-studio. Texas A&M University System College of Dentistry, Dallas, TX.