Research

A Multidisciplinary Research Environment

Our laboratory features a broad spectrum of research areas and technologies. Areas of research range from stem cell biology and tissue engineering to the developmental and evolutionary biology of odontogenic tissues. One area of expertise includes the use of classic and modern structural analysis techniques such as paraffin histology, ultrathin ground sections, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, immunohisto- and cytochemistry, and atomic force microscopy. A second area of research in our lab focuses on proteins, using recombinant technology and structural biology approaches such as 3D NMR to decipher the structure of proteins in their biological environments. The molecular biology team in our lab uses promoter studies, in situ and real-time RT-PCR to study gene expression. For gene function studies, we use transgenic and knockout mouse models in tandem with knockdown and overexpression cell culture approaches. For epigenetic analyses, we use ChIP assays.  Finally, we are also equipped for tissue regeneration and tooth movement studies in rats and mice. Based on the broad range of technologies used and questions asked, the Brodie Laboratory is an ideal training environment for graduate students and junior scientists.

 

Research at the Brodie Laboratory

 

Our laboratory pursues a number of seemingly diverse, but tighly interconnected research questions related to the molecular and functional design of the craniofacial region. The main areas of research within the Brodie Laboratory include:
 

 
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.
 

Lab Honors & Accolades

Awards to Students

2014  Marybeth Francis (co-mentee with Dr. Luan).  Finalist, AAP Research Forum Competition, San Francisco, CA

2014  Giancarlo Cecchini, 1st Prize, Research Associates Category, UIC Clinic and Research Day

2014  Marybeth Francis (co-mentee with Dr. Luan).  3rd Prize, Graduate Student Category, UIC Clinic and Research Day

2014  Marybeth Francis (co-mentee with Dr. Luan).  F30 individual predoctoral scientist fellowship award. 

 

2012 Gokul Gopinath, CBC Epigenomics Symposium Evanston Data Blitz, selected presenter: “High throughput histone modification profiling of multipotent odontogenic stem cells reveals distinct epigenetic signatures for individual neural-crest derived subpopulations” 2007 Cameron Walker, IADR Craniofacial Biology Group Research Award – Sarnat Award
2012 Phimon Atsawasuwan, American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) Orthodontic Faculty Development Fellowship Award  2007-2009 Dr. Xianghong Luan, R03 NIDCR Small Grant Award
 2011 Smit Dangaria, 2nd Prize, UIC/UIUC 3rd Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Program. “Periodontal progenitors and topography: key factors for periodontal ligament engineering”  2007-2011 Cameron Walker, Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral MD/PhD Fellows F30
 2011 Smit Dangaria, AADR Block Travel Grant Award T14DE017284. “Periodontal progenitors and topography: key factors for periodontal ligament engineering”  2007 Smit Dangaria, 2nd place, graduate student category, UIC College of Dentistry Clinic and Research Day Award
 2011 Phimon Atsawasuwan (co-mentee with Dr. Luan) Thomas M. Graber Award of Special Merit “Ameloblastin Affects Craniofacial Suture Closure by Regulating Msx2 Expression”  2006 Cameron Walker, Illinois State Dental Society, Basic Sciences Research Award
 2010 Caryn Reizl Ayarzagoitia, 1st Prize “Associate, Basic/Clinical/Behavioral Research” category, UIC College of Dentistry Clinic and Research Day Award  2006 Cameron Walker, National Dental Honor Society, Basic Sciences Research Award
 2009 Cameron Walker, Quintessence Award for Research Achievement, UIC College of Dentistry Honors Day  2006 Cameron Walker, Hinman Student Research Award, UIC College of Dentistry Clinic and Research Day
 2009 Cameron Walker, Dr. Harry Saxon Scholarship Award, UIC College of Dentistry Honors Day  2006 Smit Dangaria, 1st place, graduate student category, UIC College of Dentistry Clinic and Research Day Award
 2009 Cameron Walker, American Academy of Periodontology Award, UIC College of Dentistry Honors Day  2006 Smit Dangaria, UIC College of Dentistry AADR Travel Award
 2009 Cameron Walker, American Association of Orthodontists Award, UIC College of Dentistry Honors Day  2005 Beth Damas, American Association of Oral Biologists Annual Award Oral Biology Honors Day Award, UIC College of Dentistry
 2009 Cameron Walker, American Association of Oral Biologists Annual Award Oral Biology Honors Day Award, UIC College of Dentistry  2004 Sean R. Holliday, 3rd prize, American Association of Orthodontists’ Research Competition, Orlando, Florida
 2009-2014 Dr. Xianghong Luan, NIDCR FIRST R01 Grant Award  2004 Sean R. Holliday, invited presenter, UIC Proteomics Symposium
 2009 Cameron Walker, UIC College of Dentistry Basic Science Research Award, Predoctoral Students  2004 Sean R. Holliday, 1st place, postgraduate basic sciences, UIC College of Dentistry Clinic and Research Day Award
 2009 Cameron Walker, Illinois State Dental Society, Basic Sciences Research Award  2004 Sean R. Holliday, invited speaker, Chicago Odontographic Society
 2008 Spencer Walker, IADR/AADR Young Investigator Award, First Place, Predoctoral Award, AADR Chicago Chapter  2004 Sean R. Holliday, chosen local scholar in the AAO/Dentsply Resident Clinician Scholar competition
 2008 Spencer Walker, Illinois State Dental Society, Basic Sciences Research Award  2003 Sean R. Holliday, $1,000 research award, Chicago Odontographic Society
 2008 Spencer Walker, National Dental Honor Society, Basic Sciences Research Award  2003 Therese M. Galang, 1st prize, postgraduate category, 2003 AADR/IADR Young Investigators Competition
 2008 Spencer Walker, Hinman Student Research Award, UIC College of Dentistry Clinic and Research Day  2003 Therese M. Galang, 2nd prize, UIC Sigma Xi Graduate Student Research Forum, awarded by Provost Michael Tanner
 2007 Cameron Walker, $1,000 research award, Chicago Odontographic Society    

 

 

 

 

Journal Covers

 

European Journal of Oral Sciences Cover

European Journal of Oral Sciences

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.

 

Stem Cells and Development Cover 

Stem Cells and Development

Dangaria, S., Ito, Y., Luan, X., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2011). Differentiation of neural crestderived intermediate pluripotent progenitors into committed periodontal populations involves unique molecular signature changes, cohort shifts, and epigenetic modifications. Stem Cells and Development 20, 39-52. Journal Cover.

 

Evolution and Development Cover

Evolution & Development

Mosasaur Tooth Anatomy as Journal Cover Art for: Luan, X., Walker, C., Dangaria, S., Ito, Y., Druzinsky, R., Jarosius, K., Lesot, H., and Rieppel, O. (2009). The mosasaur tooth attachment apparatus as paradigm for the evolution of the gnathostome periodontium. Evolution and Development 11, 247-259.
 
 Intl Journal of Developmental Biology
The International Journal of Developmental Biology
Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2001). The developmental biology of cementum. Int. J. Dev. Biol. 45, 605-706. (C) IJDB, University of the Basque Country Press.
 
Vision Cover - Brodie Dedication Vision Cover - DKW
UIC College of Dentistry - VISION
 
Cell & Tissue Research - Lungfish Cell - Enamel Crystals
Cell & Tissue Research
Satchell, P.G., Shuler, C.F., and Diekwisch, T.G.H. (2000). True enamel covering in teeth of the Australian lungfish Neoceratodus forsteri. Cell Tiss. Res., 299, 27-37. (C) Springer Verlag.
Diekwisch, T.G.H., Berman, B.J., Gentner, S., and Slavkin, H.C. (1995). Initial enamel crystals are spatially not associated with mineralized dentine. Cell & Tissue 279, 149-167. (C) Springer Verlag.