Bidlack Lab

Mineralized tissue research: Tooth Enamel and Dentin

Teeth are remarkable in that they are formed to last for a lifetime to withstand extreme variations of temperature, acidity and mechanical stress. Advanced engineering approaches attempt to mimic the natural makeup of teeth, with a very hard shell on a softer core that is anchored in the jaw. In addition, during their formation time, teeth record a person’s health history and environmental exposures. This makes teeth a unique, individualized biomarker that offers a gateway to precision medicine.

The exceptional tooth enamel property of extreme hardness without being brittle is achieved by having mineral crystals arranged in an intricate pattern with small amounts of protein retained. When this balance of protein and mineral distribution is disrupted during tooth development, enamel becomes weak and susceptible to microbial decay, acid dissolution, or mechanical failure such as chipping off. In the Bidlack lab we focus on understanding how genetic background and interaction with the oral environment determines and changes the composition and properties of enamel. Since there is no cellular mechanism of repairing enamel after tooth eruption, our lab and researchers at the Forsyth Institute seek to develop and apply alternative mechanisms of repair.

<— Back to Felicitas Bidlack's Scientist Profile


Felicitas B. Bidlack, PhD
Associate Member of the Staff
Instructor, Department of Developmental Biology, Harvard School of Dental Medicine
 
 
 
Felicitas Bidlack is interested in tooth formation, evolution, and the processes that drive mineral formation, and de-and re-mineralization of teeth. Her primary goal is to integrate her broad background into an interdisciplinary research approach that enhances our understanding of tooth formation and contributes to new strategies for dental repair.

Megan Pugach, PhD
Assistant Member of the Staff
Instructor, Department of Developmental Biology, Harvard School of Dental Medicine
 
● Website
● Email
 
 
My background is in dentin caries remineralization and enamel development. I have specific training and expertise in characterizing both normal and pathological tooth properties, due to disease, as in caries, and inherited dental defects, as in Amelogenesis Imperfecta. My research has involved characterizing the remineralization potential of dentin caries and investigating the roles of enamel proteins in enamel formation by characterizing enamel from mouse models with mutations in these genes.

Baptiste Depalle, PhD
Staff Associate
Research Fellow, Harvard School of Dental Medicine
 
 
● Website
● Email
 
 
Baptiste earned his Doctorate in Biomechanics form Universite de Lyon, France, in 2011 studying the impact of tissue heterogeneity on trabecular bone fragility. He completed postdoctoral training at both Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Imperial College London on bone nanostructure and modifications induced by bone diseases such as osteoporosis and osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease).
Baptiste's research combines molecular modelling methods with high-resolution electron microscopy techniques to identify the nanoscale mechanisms responsible for altering higher-scale mechanical properties in biological tissues. His primary research interest is to better understand the mechanisms behind the remarkable mechanical properties of biological tissues. Baptiste's current research at the Forsyth Institute focus on the link between hierarchical structure and mechanical properties in tooth enamel.  

Ana Gil de Bona, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Research Fellow, Harvard School of Dental Medicine
 
● Website
● Email
 
 
Ana is a Postdoctoral fellow with background in proteomics, molecular biology, host-cell interaction and yeast genetics. She is passionate about research and to increase the knowledge about diseases processes in order to find new biomarkers and better therapies.
In Bidlack lab, Ana is interested in understanding how the organic components in tooth enamel change after tooth eruption into mouth, and whether oral environment affect enamel properties using proteomic approximation. The analysis of pig whole saliva and dental proteome and peptidome could improve the scientific knowledge about the mechanisms of enamel maturation and provide new treatment options.

Daniel R. Green, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Research Associate, Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
 
● Website
● Email
 
 
Daniel is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Bidlack Laboratory at the Forsyth Institute in Cambridge. He investigates mechanisms of tooth growth, and tools by which teeth can be turned into diagnostic indicators of environment, climate, and childhood exposure to pollutants in contemporary and ancient populations.  
At the Forsyth Daniel has developed these methods to investigate the genetic and proteomic patterns of tooth formation with other Forsyth scientists. He is furthermore investigating how the environmental and climatic reconstruction techniques that he developed in his doctoral work can be employed to recover information about exposures to heavy metals and plastic pollutants in children.

Yu-Chun Lin, DDS, MSD
Dental Postdoctoral Resident
Harvard School of Dental Medicine
 
● Email
 
 
Yu-Chun is a dentist and prosthodontics resident pursuing a Doctoral degree of medical science in Harvard School of Dental Medicine. She is conducting research on dental development and health in the Bidlack Lab.
 
 

Gabrielle Mascarin
Lab Manager and Research Technician
 
● Email
 
 
 Gabi is a recent graduate of Skidmore College, where she majored Biology and minored in Anthropology. Prior to her work at the Forsyth, Gabi conducted research in the Domozych lab at Skidmore where she developed an interest in microscopy and imaging. In addition to dental research, Gabi is also passionate about public health, molecular biology, and sustainability. She is also currently the lab manager of the Bidlack lab where she supervises lab safety and training. 

Nicolas Obtel
Graduate Scholar
 
● Website
 
 
Nicolas investigates the changes in porcine enamel mineralization shortly before and at defined time points after tooth eruption. After starting his DMD coursework at Paris Descartes University, Nicolas wanted to do basic research in biology to better understand the causes of dental diseases. For this reason he entered the MD-PhD program of the Ecole normale superieure (ENS Ulm) in the department of Biology. He was a visiting research intern at Paris Descartes University and Columbia University, before coming to the Bidlack Lab at the Forsyth Institute.
Nicolas is the founder of the French MD-PhD association “GaliEns” and at the same time is a member of the Board of Directors at the ENS Alumni association and a member of the scientific council at the ENS in Ulm.

Maren Teichmann, DMD
Postdoctoral Fellow, DDS
 
 
 
Maren is a German trained dentist, and completed her thesis “Clinical results of lithium-disilicate crowns after up to 9 years of service” in 2012. In 2007, Maren graduated from the dental school of the RWTH Aachen University, Germany. After gaining experience in two general dental practices until 2009, she worked as a prosthodontist and clinical scientist at the Department of Prosthodontics and Biomaterials, Center of Implantology of the RWTH Aachen University.
 
In the Bidlack lab Maren is integrating her background of prosthetic restorations with experimental work to leverage our understanding of tooth formation processes for an improvement of clinical treatment strategies.
 

Tina Yaskell
Senior Laboratory Technician
 
 
 
Tina is currently working in the Mineralized Tissue Department with Drs. Felicitas Bidlack, Megan Pugach-Gordon, Daniel Green and Baptiste Depalle.  We are working to identify and understand the role, structure and organization of proteins and minerals in developing tooth enamel matrix.
 
Tina joined the Forsyth Institue in 1985 in the Biochemistry Department under the guidance of Dr. Shelby Kashket to study bacterial growth curves under different media conditions. Dr. Kashket soon after accepted the role of head of Inorganic Chemistry which later transitioned into the Nutrituion Department and took Tina along as his lab technician studying demineralization/remineralization of enamel under variuos food challenges using an intraoral device.    
 

 
Lab Alumni
Yan Xia
Dan Faibish
Aziz Biyari
Nasser Mohieddin
Jae Jang
Umang Bansal
Angeli Bi