Julia Y. Chang, DDS, PhD
Our lab studies odontogenic epithelial stem cells (OESC), the ancestor of ameloblasts, which produce the hardest layer—enamel in the body. We used mouse incisor as our experimental model since mouse incisors have unlimited growth potential throughout the life. The goal of the recent project is to investigating the role of Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling in maintenance, self-renewal, and differentiation of OESC and to fine-tune our newly established in vitro culture systems for expansion and characterization of OESC. The long-term goals are to explore applications of OESC in regenerative medicine, and to understand the roles of OESC in odontogenesis and the pathogenesis of odontogenic tumors.