Research & Scholarly Activities
Noel K. Childers, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D. Mucosal immunology as it relates to the immunobiology of dental caries; design and characterization of optimal oral immunization strategy with liposomal antigens of Streptococcus mutans that will induce immune responses and protection against dental caries in humans.
Kohtaro Fujihashi, DDS, PhD. Mucosal immunology and cytokines in dental diseases. Induction and regulation of IgA responses and tolerance.
Gregg Gilbert, DMD. PC. My interests are in the fields of clinical epidemiology, behavioral sciences and dental health services research, and dental practice-based research.
Jannet Katz, DDS, PhD. Periodontal disease, Porphyromas gingivalis, hemagglutinins and proteases, immune response, cytokines, toll-like receptors.
Jack E. Lemons, Ph.D. Investigations of synthetic materials (biomaterials) for application as load bearing musculoskeletal surgical implants. The primary focus has been the role(s) of elements and forces that are exchanged across implant-to-tissue interfaces and how these factors influence short and long biocompatiblity profiles.
Mike McCracken, D.M.D. PC. My interests include tissue engineering, clinical research, and the interaction between systemic disease and oral health. In particular, we are investigating a possible like between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Other topics of interest include diabetes and dental implants, as well as the development of bone substitute materials. Suzanne M. Michalek, Ph.D. Oral vaccines and the secretory immune system; microbial pathogenicity; T cell regulatory mechanisms in the secretory immune system and in inflammatory responses.
Jan Novak, Ph.D. Immunoglobulin Glycosylation in Chronic Inflammatory Diseases; Periodontal Disease; Differential Gene statement; Antimicrobials; Modified Peptides and Proteins
Firoz Rahemtulla, Ph.D. Structure, function, and biosynthesis of proteoglycans of periodontal tissues; consequence of oxidants and connective tissue cells and proteins.
Michael S. Reddy, D.M.D. D.M.Sc. Natural history and modeling of bone resorption and attachment loss as it relates to periodontitis and implant therapy. Bone regenerative technology and treatment modalities for periodontitis and treatment of failing implants.
Hui Wu, Ph.D. Bacterial biofilm development is an important aspect of dental diseases and other persistent and chronic infections. We are interested in the molecular mechanism governing bacterial biofilm formation. We have identified and characterized a serine-rich glycoprotein Fap 1 using Streptococcus parasanguis as a model organism. Fap 1 is required for biofilm formation. Fap 1-like proteins are not only highly conserved throughout oral streptococci but are also found in genomes of many pathogenic Gram- positive bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus agalactiae, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus. Our laboratory employs genetic, molecular biological, biochemical, microscopic as well as animal infectious strategies to dissect the biogenesis pathway for this serine-rich adhesion and to elucidate its function in bacterial and host interactions.
Mary McDougall, Ph.D. Dr. Mary MacDougall is the Associate Dean for Research of the School of Dentistry, Director of the Institute of Oral Health Research, and Professor in the Department of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery. Her research centers on the mechanisms which lead to the formation of teeth in particular the various highly specialized dental cell types of the tooth (odontoblasts ameloblasts and cementoblasts) that produce the unique hard mineralized tissues of the tooth dentin, enamel and cemementum. In order to investigating formation of these dental tissues, we are establishing and characterizing unique immortalized mouse and human cell lines which have the ability to retain their cell type, actively proliferate, and form a characteristic hard matrix (dentin, enamel or cementum) in culture. These cell lines are being used to establish the mechanisms that dicate and control tooth-specific gene expression. In addition, whole tooth tissue cultures have been established to culture “teeth in a dish”. These studies will determine why certain genes are only expressed in teeth during human development and how this process is regulated at the DNA level. These studies are correlated with genetic studies on human diseases that effect tooth number, shape and structure such as dentinogenesis imperfecta, radicular dentin dysplasia, amelogenesis imperfecta, tooth agenesis, oligodontia and cleidocranial dysplasia. Mutational studies are determining the precise genes and alterations caused each of these diseases using large informative families. Finally, these studies are culminating in tissue engineering approaches to regenerate tooth structures and ultimately whole teeth through characterization of adult dental stem cells.
Amjad Javed, Ph.D. The central focus of our laboratory is to understand the molecular mechanisms that govern the formation and remodeling of skeletal tissues such as Cartilage, Bone, Teeth and Tendon. Cellular differentiation involves the stepwise establishment of specific genetic programs in proliferating cell lineages. We are exploring the signalling role of runt related transcription factor (Runx), in the coordinated regulation of various cell types (Chondrocyte, Osteoblast, Odontoblast) during skeletogenesis. Runx factors are heterodimers formed by α and β subunit and are essential for embryonic development. In mammals three genes encode α subunits (Runx1, 2 and 3) that heterodimerise with the common β subunit. All three gene products recognize the same DNA sequences, but exhibit distinct and non-redundant biological functions. Runx1 is required for definitive hematopoiesis and is frequently mutated in human leukemia. Runx2 is required for osteogenesis and in human mutations of the Runx2 gene are associated with cleidocranial dysplasia, an autosomal dominant skeletal disorder characterized by clavicular and pelvic anomalies, multiple supernumerary teeth, and a sever delay in closure of the fontanels. Runx3 controls neurogenesis, development and proliferation of the gastric epithelium and is frequently silenced in human gastric cancer. Runx2 knock-in and knock-out mouse models show a complete absence of both intramembranous and endochondral ossification and dies in utero or shortly after birth. Bone formation and resorption (bone turnover) is a dynamic process that continues throughout our lifetime. Because of embryonic lethality current models are useless to Updated 1-30-06 address Runx2 role in these processes. To circumvent this difficulty we have developed mouse model where Runx2 gene can be inactivated in adults in a spatio-temporal fashion. We are directing our efforts towards understanding of specific roles of Runx2 gene during post-natal bone formation, bone remodeling, fracture healing, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases (lupus, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis) and aging.