Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology
Ostrow School of Dentistry
I have been striving to understand the principles that govern the formation and mineralization of dental enamel by learning how the intricate matrix of proteins and minerals come together to form this remarkable bioceramic. The ultimate goal is to help scientists develop new dental materials that more closely mimic the structure and function of natural tooth enamel. In addition, I seek to explore novel fundamental structural principles by which proteins interact with their targets and to investigate the prevalence of intrinsically disordered proteins in tooth biomineralization. My area of research, integrates physical chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology, and biomaterial sciences in the study of mineralization of enamel and dentin. The following specific projects are currently ongoing in my laboratory, some of them in collaboration with other investigators: 1) molecular mechanisms of amelogenin self-assembly, 2) investigation of amelogenin configuration by NMR spectroscopy, 3) amelogenin interactions with other enamel proteins, 3) amelogenin-mineral interactions, 4) biomimetic strategies for enamel bioceramic, 5) proteolysis and apatite crystal growth.