Development of novel open-source software for 3D quantitative analysis and statistical modeling of bone apposition/resorption and positional displacements with growth and/or orthopedic /surgical/pharmacological treatments. Such open-source methodologies have applications for craniofacial soft and hard tissues, joints, and dental assessments.
Caries management in children, including risk assessment, dental sealants, oral biofilms as it relates to caries development and/or prevention (and included in this area, therapies that may affect the biofilm, such as xylitol), secondary caries, caries remineralization, and early caries detection. Her work has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Delta Dental Foundation, and private industry.
Dr. Gerstner’s research interests include: understanding the proximate (neurophysiological) and ultimate (evolutionary) sources of variation in chewing rate among mammalian species. Methods involve both field- and laboratory-based studies designed to understand how the relative dependence/independence of chewing rate and skull mass has consequences for normal dentoskeletal growth and development and for adaptive capacities of wild mammalian populations. Findings to date suggest that chewing rate may be partially genetically determined, is independent of dentoskeletal size and shape under conditions of relaxed selection pressure, may play a role in dentoskeletal growth and development, and may be a surrogate variable that correlates with the rates of other neural and behavioral processes within and between species. The second research interest deals with studies of chronic trigeminal pain. He is currently working with other investigators on campus using neuroimaging (1H-MRS, fMRI, fcMRI) and psychometric methods to study the neural basis of chronic temporomandibular disorder (TMD) pain. To date, results suggest that chronic TMD symptoms may be modulated by or related to changes in central pain processing. This project is NIH funded.
The Gonzalez laboratory is interested in understanding dental caries and their clinical management. Particular interest in remineralization, fluorides, diagnosis and oral health products in general (e.g., dentifrices, rinses, toothbrushes, etc.) The Gonzalex laborator is part of the Cariology Research Laboratory.
My current research activities fall under two primary categories. The first of these is the development development of biologic mediators for control of orthodontic tooth movement and prevention of relapse after orthodontic tooth movement (orthodontic relapse is the tendency for teeth to move back to their original positions upon removal of orthodontic appliances and is an undesirable outcome after correction of a malocclusion through orthodontic treatment). Of greater relevance to the Oral Health Sciences program are my research activities in the areas of bone biology and craniofacial skeletal development. The overall objective of my research is to establish essential molecular mechanisms underlying abnormal craniofacial skeletal development and craniosynostosis.
Molecular reasons behind craniofacial and cardiac birth malformations, such as, cleft palate, cleft lip and cardiac valve and septal anomalies; growth factor signaling in normal development in order to understand reasons that often lead to a failure in these particular developmental processes.
My research focuses on the design and synthesis of non-toxic antimicrobial polymers by mimicking the properties and functions of natural antimicrobial peptides. This class of polymers is easy to make and inexpensive as compared to peptides and antibiotic drugs, allowing the production of antimicrobial materials on industrial scales.
Yu Leo Lei
The Lei laboratory is interested in the molecular mechanisms regulating cancer cell-immune cell interaction. Cancer cells employ a complex set of machinery to modulate their immunogenicity, which underlies their response to of immunotherapy. In order to better understand these mechanisms, our group employs both high throughput screening methods and CRISPR-Cas9-based lentiviral system to interrogate novel pathways, which bear translational potential in classifying tumors into high immunogenic and low immunogenic groups.
Bone and periodontal tissue regeneration: (1) stem cells (embryonic and mesenchymal stem cells) and their interactions with biomaterials; (2) spatially and temporally controlled delivery of growth/differentiation factors using nanotechnologies to mediate cell proliferation and differentiation.
Functions of BMP signaling during bone development/remodeling and craniofacial development, using genetically altered mouse lines to conditionally decrease or increase levels of BMP signaling; models are of interest in understanding the pathogenesis of bone mass related diseases, including osteoporosis and sclerosis.