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Research Mentors

Biomedical Sciences

Douglas Benson

Signal transduction mechanisms of spinal cord injury. Signals that ephrin-B3 generates inside neurons through activation of its receptor, EphA4, to find out which of these signaling pathways overlap with those of other known inhibitory factors that stunt axonal regrowth.

Jerry Feng

Craniofacial and tooth development, with a particular interest in understanding the roles of dentin matrix proteins in tooth development. Craniofacial, tooth and bone developmental biology, with a particular interest in understanding the roles of Dentin matrix protein-1, Bmp receptor 1A, beta-catenin, periostin and mechanical loading during development. Tooth root formation using a naturally occurring osteoporosis mouse model.

Phillip Kramer

How hormone levels (directly and indirectly) lead to changes in immune reactions and pain responses in the TMJ. Sex hormones and regulation of the immune response in patients with auto-immune disorders. Use of mesenchymal stem cells or multi-potent adult progenitor cells for repair or replacement of damaged tissues in the oral cavity. Determine the stem cell's potential to differentiate into specific oral cell types and determine the mechanistic processes by which these stem cells transform.

Matthew Kesterke

Craniofacial region (function, adaptation, biomechanics). Bone and muscle biomechanics in the craniofacial region, bone biology. Broadly concerned with the growth, adaptation, and evolution of the craniofacial skeleton and related soft tissues. Functional results of surgical and traumatic insults on the basic structures and function of the craniofacial skeleton.

Xiaohua Liu

Development of new biomaterials and technologies for tissue regeneration. Specifically, 1) design and synthesis of new biomaterials and controlled drug delivery; 2) development of injectable scaffolding systems; 3) exploration of cell-matrix interactions in 3D; and 4) regeneration of dental and craniofacial tissues.

Bob Lu

Odontogenesis to study how cranial neural crest cells migrate to the frontonasal processes and first branchial arches and how they interact reciprocally with the dental epithelium and differentiate into the odontoblasts forming dentin.

Chunlin Qin

Investigate the roles of the extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins in the formation and mineralization of dentin (the bulk tissue shaping the contour of a tooth) and bone. Seeking to understand the overall processes of tooth and bone formation by focusing upon the nature, metabolism, tissue/cell localization and functions of the ECM molecules in dentin and bone, two tissues that resemble each other in composition and mechanisms of formation.

Bruno Ruest

Understand how improper regulation of neural crest cells (NCC) development leads to birth defects. Understand how NCCs are formed, what initiates the expression of NCC-specific genes, what regulates their migration and final destination and how they differentiate into proper structures by activating specific genes and establish structural identity. Use different genetic, molecular and cellular biology tools to study craniofacial and cardiovascular development during mouse embryogenesis with emphasis on the endothelin system.

Emet Schneiderman

Craniofacial biology; use of digital imaging and biostatistics to illuminate growth and development of the facial skeleton, particularly in cleft patients. Use and efficacy of appliance in sleep apnea treatment.


Sang Jin Suh

There are several research foci in the Suh laboratory. First, we are interested in elucidating and understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in the survival of pathogenic bacteria in nature and the contribution of these mechanisms to aid these pathogens in their ability to cause human diseases.

Second, we are interested in developing peptide based biosensors for rapid detection of important bacterial pathogens. Our biosensors can detect pathogens in just minutes rather than hours or days of other approaches. Third, we are interested in genetic and metabolic engineering to develop bacterial cells into microbial factory for optimal production of value-added products.

Kathy Svoboda

Interested in the role of the cytoskeleton in cell shape changes throughout her career. Has developed experimental approaches to examine the spatial relationships between specific cellular components in whole tissues. These cellular models have been used to determine the three-dimensional relationships between organelles, cytoskeletal proteins and specific mRNA.

Feng Tao

Central mechanisms of pain transmission and analgesia. Antinociceptive effect of motor cortex stimulation using optogenetics. Stem cell therapy for spinal cord injury-induced chronic neuropathic pain. Neural circuits related to pain sensation using optogenetic manipulation combined with multi-channel recording in freely behaving mice.

Qian Wang

Craniofacial region (function, adaptation, biomechanics). Bone and muscle biomechanics in the craniofacial region, bone biology. Broadly concerned with the growth, adaptation, and evolution of the craniofacial skeleton and related soft tissues. Functional results of surgical and traumatic insults on the basic structures and function of the craniofacial skeleton.

Xiaofang Wang

Dissect the signaling pathways involving FGF23 and the specific roles of each molecule in the pathways associated with the development of bone and tooth. Investigate the reciprocal interactions mediated by FAM20 molecules between hematopoietic cells and osteoblast cells.


Hongjiao Ouyang

General Dentistry

Marta Revilla-Leon

  • Dental applications of additive manufacturing technologies for processing polymers, metals, and zirconia materials.
  • Facial and intraoral scanning procedures.
  • Esthetic dentistry.




Reginald Taylor

Architecture and control of collagen expression in the periodontal ligament.


Tom Diekwisch

Using mouse models to understand genetic and epigenetic factors involved in craniofacial development and disease. Interested in determining the mechanisms of enamel crystal formation. 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, studying the relationship between the amelogenin molecule and enamel mechanical properties. Epigenetics research focused on the role of histone methylation in odontogenic tissue differentiation and disease. Interested in the effects of changes in the amelogenin protein on the evolution of the amazing physical properties of enamel. Trying to understand how the non-mineralized state of the periodontal ligament evolved in vertebrates.

Xianghong Luan

Her interest are toward extracellular matrix genes, stem cells, and epigenetics. Currently, her research program has three major components: (1) genetic and epigenetic factors in odontogenic and osteogenic stem cell differentiation, (2) the role of miRNAs in bone regeneration, and (3) matrix proteins and the regulation of craniofacial osteogenesis.

Trained as a medical doctor, Dr. Luan has always been excited about research projects that connect oro-facial problems with the overall health of patients. When she made recent discoveries related to the therapeutic potential of small molecules and craniofacial bone regeneration, she saw this as an opportunity to connect her interest in stem cells and human health.

Public Health Sciences


Amal Noureldin

Carious lesions. Fluoride. Cariology issues.

Peggy Timothy

Intra office selfies, taken by patients, will be assessed for pre-defined characteristics

Contact Information

Dr. Shannon Kramer

Texas A&M University
College of Dentistry
3302 Gaston Avenue
Dallas, TX 75246