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Department of Oral Biology

History Heading link

The University of Illinois Chicago College of Dentistry prides itself in a rich leadership tradition in dental research and education. In the mid-20th century, the College boasted of brilliant teachers and educators such as Drs. E. Lloyd Du Brul, Harry Sicher, Frederick B. Noyes, Isaac Schour, Joseph-Peter Weinmann, and Allan G. Brodie Sr. Their textbooks, such as Dr. Sicher’s and Dr. DuBrul’s Oral Anatomy, Dr. Sicher’s and Dr. Weinmann’s Bone and Bones, and Dr. Noyes’s Oral Histology and Embryology became classics and provided the basic oral biology education for generations of dentists. Today at the College, the Department of Oral Biology continues in that great research and education tradition. Among its teachers/researchers are several recognized as world leaders.

An exciting environment for new discoveries Heading link

researcher in lab coat smiling while holding a syringe

The Department of Oral Biology is comprised of Faculty, Staff, PhD students and Post-doctoral fellows engaged in scholarship and research. The departmental expertise forms a foundation for many of the basic science topics taught to our DMD, MS and PhD students. Beyond basic science in our state-of-the-art laboratories, departmental research extends to clinical activities through faculty involvement in the Clinical Research Center.

Our faculty provide expertise in the basic sciences with interests in topics ranging from regenerative sciences to cancer research to cariology and developmental biology. All faculty and post-doctoral fellows contribute to the teaching mission of the College by engagement at all levels including:

  • Undergraduate education through Small Group Learning / Team Learning
  • Undergraduate education in General and Oral histology
  • Undergraduate education in Gross Anatomy
  • Graduate education in Head and Neck anatomy
  • Post-graduate education in the MS in Oral Sciences Curriculum
  • Post-graduate education in the PhD in Oral Sciences Curriculum

The department faculty participate actively in service to the college and many if not most members are intimately involved in the planning and management of our College’s annual Clinic and Research Day.

Many of the Oral Biology Faculty have primary roles in research. The laboratories are supported by funding from NIH and the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research, Foundation Grants, and Industry. We have a particular rich focus in regenerative sciences including oral and craniofacial bone, cartilage of the Temporomandibular Joint, dentin and pulp tissues. Importantly, the Oral Biology faculty laboratories are home to a DMD/PhD Trainees and PhD for Trained Dentist trainees as well as post graduate dental students seeking MS in Oral Sciences degrees. The Department is supported by a dedicated and talented staff with over 30 years of combined service to our College.

Research Training Heading link

computer screen

Our principal duty is to teach many of the basic sciences to UIC’s dental students. We are also teaching advanced oral sciences to graduate students. The Department is responsible for dental undergraduate courses Gross Anatomy (including Head and Neck Anatomy), Neuroanatomy, General Histology, Oral Histology, and Biology of the Human Dentition. Graduate classes encompass Advanced Oral Histology and other classes of the Masters’ program. We are also contributing to non-departmental Graduate Courses such as the Seminars in Oral Sciences and Research Methodology. Our first-rate teaching level has been rewarded by numerous “Golden Apple” teaching awards to our faculty

Research Centers & Labs Heading link

empty classroom

The Department of Oral Biology laboratories provide an exciting environment for new discoveries in many areas of oral biology. Annual departmental funding approaches $2 Million per year. Funding sources include the National Institutes of Health (more than 50% from the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research) and the National Science Foundation.

  • The Brodie Laboratory is a joint venture with the Department of Orthodontics (Brodie Laboratory for Craniofacial Genetics) and works on questions related to craniofacial genetics, genomics, and proteomics as they pertain to enamel and periodontal biomimetics and evolution.
  • Dr. Anne George’s lab focuses on the molecular biology, biomimetics, and biochemistry of tooth dentin and dentin-related proteins. A particular interest are mechanisms of biomineralization.  Mineralized tissues occur widely in nature. In vertebrates bone, teeth and cementum are the principal mineralized tissues. The shapes of these tissues are defined by their organic components. In bone, dentin and cementum the organic matrix is comprised principally of collagen fibers and noncollagenous proteins. The fibrous arrays of collagen provide strength, while the rigidity and high compressive strength are derived from the apatite crystals of the mineralized phase, deposited within the collagen fibers. The noncollagenous (NCPs) proteins of bone and dentin, even though present in small quantities relative to collagen, are of extreme functional importance in the mineralization process. Please explore this review of Dr. Anne George’s research for more information.
  • Dr. Lin Tao’s lab research stretches from oral microbiology and cariology to AIDS research and AIDS prophylaxis.
  • Dr. David Reed’s research group is interested in understanding how chondrocyte-extracellular matrix interactions regulate homeostasis in the tissues of the temporomandibular joint. His lab is particularly interested in understanding the interaction of tissue mechanics and cell-matrix derived signaling.
  • Dr. Srilata Bagchi’s lab’s research focuses on better understanding the development of human papillomavirus (HPV) associated cancers at the molecular level. Her research involves studies in two different types of HPV-associated cancers, human cervical cancers (>90% contain HPVs) and Oral and Head and Neck cancers, HNSCC (20-30% contain HPVs).
  • Dr. Sriram Ravindran’s laboratory operates with the theme of mimicking this ECM complexity for regenerative medicine applications. More specifically, his laboratory designs 3D scaffolds and modifies existing clinical materials by incorporating native cell-type-specific ECM and cell-type-specific exosomes on/within them to influence stem cell differentiation and tissue regeneration.
  • Dr. Russell Pesavento’s lab is investigating novel nanoparticle based formulations for reducing adherent biofilm formation among streptococcal species and the potential mechanism(s) of action. With these formulations, the lab focuses to gain insight into the potential chemical and biological mechanisms of these agents on bacteria – which may lead to optimizing structures down the road.
  • Dr. Seung Chung’s research focuses on understanding the role of the complement system in nerve regeneration of human carious teeth. His lab is interested in gaining a new insight on the initial step of dentin-pulp regeneration process by contributing to the poorly understood regulation of nerve fiber sprouting observed after tooth injuries and possible targeted therapies.
  • Dr. Linda Kaste’s research focus has been the related elements impacting oral health status of populations with limited access to dental care. These elements include early childhood caries, dental workforce issues, oral cancer, Hispanics (particularly the Dominican Republic) and women’s oral health.

More on the Department of Oral Biology Research Areas

Our Faculty Activities Heading link

Faculty Research Focus Teaching Email Contact
Dr. Srirlata Bagchi Cancer/HPV infection SGL
Dr. Seung Chung Dental Pulp Stem Cells and Neurogenesis Director, Histology
Dr. Anne George Dentinogenesis MS/PhD Curriculum
Dr. Linda Kaste Public health/early childhood caries SGL
Dr. Russell Pesavento Dental Caries, Nanochemistry SGL/TBL & MS/PhD Curriculum
Dr. Sriram Ravindran Exosome biology/tissue regeneration SGL & MS/PhD Curriculum
Dr. David Reed TMJ pathogenesis Head and Neck Anatomy & MS/PhD Curriculum
Dr. Lin Tao Oral microbial pathogenesis Histology, SGL
Dr. Chun-Chieh Huang Bioprinting/Bioengineering SGL
Dr. Yinghua Chen Calcium Signaling and Dentin Mineralization Research
Dr. Sylvia Pavlova Oral microbial pathogenesis Research
Dr. Miya Kang Immunomodulation and bone regeneration Research
Dr. Mateusz Wietecha Oral Healing and Cancer Research

Oral Biology Post-Doctoral Fellows Heading link

Post Doctoral Fellow Research Focus Email
Dr. Amudha Ganapathy Angiogenesis and Dentin Mineralization Research
Dr. Kassapa Ellepola Biofilms Research
Dr. Mina Bagheri Varzaneh Cartilage Mechanobiology Research
Dr. Muhammad Irfan Dental pulp stem cells and alveolar nerve regeneration Research

Oral Biology PhD Students Heading link

Student Program Mentor Year Email
Mohamad Alhadlaq PhD Dr. Russell Pesavento PhD 4
Jonathan Banks DMD/PhD Dr. David Reed PhD 3
Kristelle Capsistrano DMD/PhD Dr. Afsar Naqvi PhD 4
Kasey Leung DMD/PhD Dr. Sriram Ravindran PhD 4
Ji Hyun Kim PhD Dr. Seung Chung PhD 4
Anna Salapatas DMD/PhD Dr. Luisa DiPietro DMD 4/PhD 3
Cassandra Villani PhD Dr. Anne George PhD 2
Flavia Lamberghini PhD Lab Rotation PhD 2
Avin Hafedi Ghezelji PhD Lab Rotation PhD 1
Niloufar Abedi PhD Lab Rotation PhD 1
Lana Dalbah PhD Lab Rotation PhD 1

Oral Biology Administrative Staff Heading link

Staff Role Email
Amsa Ramachandran Assistant Director, Office of Research
Virginia Buglio Director, Research Services

We invite you to explore our laboratories, research and educational interests. For additional information or assistance regarding our research and teaching activities, please contact our office directly.

Department Head:

Ana Bedran-Russo
Department Head of Oral Biology

Amsa Ramachandran
Assistant Director, Office of Research
Academic Advisor DMD/PhD Dual Program
MOST Program Coordinator
Office of Research, Room 402c
UIC College of Dentistry
Phone: 312-413-1160