Potential Filling Material May Regenerate Dentin

Dentistry Today


Anne George, PhD, of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry has been instrumental in cloning dentin matrix protein genes (DMP1) from the mineralized dentin matrix of animal models. Now, she is working toward filling cavities with DMP1, which would allow dentin to regenerate.

“Her work on biomineralization and the role of ECM (extracellular matrix) proteins such as DMP1 on nucleation of minerals to form bone and dentin solves many aspects of how complex structures such as teeth and bones are formed in nature and provides vital clues to enable control of these processes for human intervention to enhance repair and regeneration,” said Sriram Ravindran, PhD, assistant professor of oral biology. 

“Dentin formation, in particular, holds a lot of information about the regulation of biomineralization,” said Elizabeth Guirado, one of George’s students. “Understanding this regulation more thoroughly will allow us to target degenerative diseases of the bone and craniofacial complex more efficiently.”

“Each day we try to unravel the mechanisms involved in understanding this process and we realize that a big chunk of the iceberg lies beneath the surface. It is this unknown that keeps us going,” said George, who is the college’s Allan G. Brodie Endowed Professor, a UIC University Scholar, director of the Brodie Tooth Development Genetics and Regenerative Medicine Research Laboratory, and professor of oral biology.

In fact, the University Scholars Program awarded George $15,000 for three years in recognition of her superior research and teaching as well as her great promise for future achievements.

“The fact that I was nominated for this award by my peers and selected from a group of extremely talented nominees makes me feel really humbled,” said George. “The $15,000 will be highly beneficial for the research operation within the lab. Research is a costly affair, and this will benefit students in the lab carrying out experiments that require additional resources.”

“She is always available,” said Guirado. “She is always enthusiastic about our projects and loves it when we show our own enthusiasm. She allows us to be independent, yet is ready to contribute her knowledge and experience at any time.”

“Success to me is gauged when the students and trainees who leave the portals of my lab succeed in clinical, academic, and scientific arenas,” George said. “I have been highly fortunate to have great students and trainees who are enthusiastic and receptive to scientific questions and try to discover and understand the process of biomineralization.”

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