CRANIOFACIAL TISSUE ENGINEERING, BONE BIOLOGY, CRANIOFACIAL BIOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT
Our team arranges progenitor cells on innovative scaffolds and uses growth factors–bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs)–to influence the type of cell that develops. We have discovered that BMP 9 has the strongest ability to stimulate bone formation among the BMPs. Investigation is ongoing, but this finding may have promising clinical applications for bone and musculoskeletal disorders. Another facet of research focuses on cranial suture biology and development. We have unraveled a critical role of the osteoclast and in particular the RANK-RANKL-OPG axis in the homeostasis of cranial sutures and their importance as cellular/molecular switches in suture morphology. We are currently investigating the proteomic footprints between patent and closed sutures. Such knowledge may lead to targeted therapies in diseases such as craniosynostosis.