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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. 

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.

Sufang Liu


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.

Hua Zhang

My research interests include the Roles of bone morphogenetic protein 1 (BMP1)/tolloid-like I (TLL1) proteinases in dentinogenesis and the roles of FAM20C (Family with sequence similarity 20, member C) and SIBLING (small integrin binding ligands N-linked glycoprotein) family proteins in brain homeostasis.


Hongjiao Ouyang

“I am fascinated by the protein-folding machinery and its role in the pathogenesis of skeletal and oral inflammatory diseases,” she says. “The organic extracellular matrix proteins in bone and teeth, such as type I collagen, must be adequately assembled inside a cell’s endoplasmic reticulum in order to execute their biological functions. The ER stress signaling network is a central regulator for protein folding and trafficking.” Ouyang presents at NIDCR 70th anniversary symposium

General Dentistry

None available at this time. 


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.

Reginald Taylor

Architecture and control of collagen expression in the periodontal ligament.

Yan Jing

Dr. Yan Jing is a clinician scientist who was trained in both basic and clinical sciences directly linked to mandibular biology and orthodontics. Dr. Jing performs researches in craniofacial biology and orthodontics. Her major contribution to the field is to demonstrate that direct transdifferentiation of chondrocytes into bone cells is a critical event during condyle development, rather than the old concept of hypertrophic chondrocyte apoptosis followed by bone marrow cell invasion. The publication entitled “Chondrocytes Directly Transform into Bone Cells in Mandible Condyle Growth” was selected as the cover of the year in JDR 2015 and William J. Gies Award for Biological Research in JDR 2017 (JDR, Journal of Dental Research, the best one in dentistry). In another study about condyle formation and remodeling, Dr. Jing’s group identified that tendon cells, beyond their role in joint movement, function as key precursors for TMJ disc formation, condyle growth, and joint remodeling.


Dan Burch III

Biomaterials, dental sedation, health policy, and pain management in the pediatric population.

Carolyn A. Kerins



None available at this time. 

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 School of Dentistry
3302 Gaston Avenue
Dallas, TX 75246