Tom Diekwisch, DMD, PhD, PhD

Professor and Head, Department of Oral Biology
Director, Brodie Laboratory for Craniofacial Genetics
Allan G. Brodie Endowed Chair for Orthodontic Research
Professor of Anatomy/Cell Biology, Bioengineering, Orthodontics, Periodontics
UICollaboratory Profile


Education & Career

  • Philipps-University of Marburg in Hesse, DMD, 1986
  • Philipps-University of Marburg in Hesse, PhD (Anatomy, summa cum laude), 1988
  • Philipps-University of Marburg in Hesse, PhD (Philosophy, magna cum laude), 2005
  • Postdoctoral fellow in craniofacial biology at the University of Southern California, 1990-1994
  • Former faculty, Baylor College of Dentistry; Creator, "Habitat for Science" community science education project
  • Honorary Professor, Jilin University, 2009-present
  • Return to Baylor College of Dentistry as Professor and Chair, Baylor Department of Periodontics and Director of the Center for Craniofacial Research and Diagnosis in 2014/2015


Research Interests


Our laboratory pursues a number of seemingly diverse, but tighly interconnected research questions related to the molecular and functional design of the craniofacial region. 
Craniofacial Development. Currently, we are using a number of mouse models to understand genetic and epigenetic factors involved in craniofacial development and disease.
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.
Epigenetics and Chromatin. Twenty 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. 
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. 
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. 
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 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.
Periodontics. 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. More recently, we have conducted studies to understand how epigenetic changes affect periodontal tissue response to pathogens.
Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering.  In previous studies we have generated and characterized stem cell populations in dental tissues.  We have also developed novel extracellular matrix-based scaffold materials.  Currently we are performing a number of studies to examine the use of stem cells and scaffolds to regenerate periodontal and other oral tissues.


Representative Publications


Stem Cells and Epigenetics


Gopinathan G., Kolokythas, A., Luan, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2013). Epigenetic marks define the lineage and differentiation potential of two distinct neural crest-derived odontogenic progenitors. Stem Cells and Development 22, 1763-1778.

Dangaria, S., Ito, Y., Luan, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2011). 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.


Tissue Engineering


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.H. (2014).  Lyophilized Platelet-Rich Fibrin (PRF) promotes craniofacial bone regeneration Runx2.  Int. J. Mol. Sci. 15, 8509-8525.

Dangaria, S., Ito, Y., Luan, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2011). Successful periodontal ligament regeneration by periodontal progenitor pre-seeding on natural tooth root surfaces. Stem Cells and Development 20, 1659-1668.

Dangaria, S., Ito, Y., Yin, L.L., Valdrè, G., Luan, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2011). Apatite microtopographies instruct signaling tapestries for progenitor-driven new attachment of teeth. Tiss. Eng. Part A 17, 279-290.


Tooth Enamel


Atsawasuwan, P., Lu, X., Ito, Y., Chen, Y., Evans, C.A., Kulkarni, A.B., Gibson, C.W., Luan, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2013). Enamel-related gene products in calvarial development. J. Dent. Res. 92, 622-628.

Zhang, X., Ramirez, B., Liao, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2011). Amelogenin Supramolecular Assembly in Nanospheres Defined by a Complex Helix-Coil-PPII helix 3D-Structure. PLoS ONE 6(10): e24952. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024952.

Lu, X., Ito, Y, Kulkarni, A., Gibson, C., Luan, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2011). Ameloblastin-rich enamel matrix favors short and randomly oriented apatite crystals. Eur. J Oral Sci 119, 254-260

Jin T, Ito Y, Luan X, Dangaria S, Walker C, Allen M, Kulkarni A, Gibson C, Braatz R, Liao X, Diekwisch TGH. (2009). Elongated polyproline motifs facilitate enamel evolution through matrix subunit compaction. PLoS Biol. 7(12):e1000262.


CP27 Gene Regulation


Ito, Y., Zhang, Y., Dangaria, S., Luan, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2011). NF-Y and USF1 transcription factor binding to CCAAT box and E-box elements activates the CP27 promoter. Gene 473, 92-99.

Luan X, Ito Y, Zhang Y, Diekwisch TGH. (2010). Characterization of the mouse CP27 promoter and NF-Y mediated gene regulation. Gene 460, 8-19.


Tooth Movement


Walker CG.*, Dangaria S*, Ito Y, Luan X., and Diekwisch TGH. (2010). Osteopontin is Required for Unloading-Induced Osteoclast Recruitment and Modulation of RANKL Expression during Tooth Drift-associated Bone Remodeling, but Not for Super-Eruption. BONE 47, 1020-1029.

Luan, X., Ito, Y., Holliday, S., Walker, C., Daniel, J., Galang, T.M., Fukui, T., Yamane, A., Begole, E., Evans, C., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2007). Extracellular matrix-mediated tissue remodeling following axial movement of teeth. Histochem. Cytochem. 55, 127-140.


History of Science


Smith, M.M., Johanson, Z, Underwood, C., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2013). Pattern formation in development of chondrichthyan dentitions: a review of an evolutionary model. Historical Biology 25, 127-142.

Luan X, Diekwisch TGH. (2007). Vienna-Chicago: the cultural transformation of the model system of the un-opposed molar. Bioessays 29, 819-830.

Holliday, S., Schneider, B., Galang, M.T., Fukui, T., Yamane, A., Luan, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2005). Bones, Teeth, and Genes: A Genomic Homage to Harry Sicher’s “Axial Movement of Teeth“. World J. Orthodontics 6, 61-70.



Dr. Diekwisch

Research Areas