Our research interests focus on enamel and dentin development and our ultimate goals are to understand the regulation of tooth development and to generate biomimetic dental structures for basic science and clinical applications. Specifically, mouse models with Enam and KLK4 gene knockout and b-galactosidase gene knockin resulting in enamel defects have been established and characterized. Transgenic mouse models over-expressing either Enam or Ambn have also been established and demonstrated to be able to recover the enamel defect in the specific null mouse background. To elucidate the native enamel and dentin protein structure and function, we use developing porcine molars. This group of studies has allowed us to isolate and purify various enamel and dentin proteins, express their recombinant forms and generate antibodies to aid characterization and functional study of enamel and dentin components. In addition, we are actively recruiting families with inherited dental defects involving tooth size, number and structure for mutational analyses. Investigating the genetic control of tooth formation has advanced our understanding of the specific function of genes and gene products critical for the development of dentition.