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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.

Felicitas Bidlack, PhD

Associate Member of Staff

Instructor, Department of Developmental Biology, Harvard School of Dental Medicine

With a background in biology and anthropology, 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 […]

Hakan Karaaslan, DDS

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Hakan completed his endodontic training at Hacettepe University, Turkey where he had also graduated from dental school. His thesis work focused on mineral content and structure of dentin exposed to bleaching agents. Pursuing his interest in understanding the development of dental hard tissues, he worked at Dr. Tim Bromage’s Lab at New York University on […]

Nelson Monteiro, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr. Nelson Monteiro, PhD is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and NIH T90 awardee working on enamel regeneration. Nelson has more than 10 years of experience in human stem cell culture, genetic/molecular biology and imaging techniques. He has experience in animal surgery, dental infection, drug-delivery systems for gene and cancer therapy, data analysis, and programming. His […]

Yasmin Alayyoubi DMD, MSD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Prior to joining the Bidlack Lab, Yasmin completed her residency and Master’s degree in Pediatric Dentistry at Boston University and is Board-Certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Medical Science degree at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. Her current research at the Bidlack Lab focuses on the […]

Yu-Chun Lin, DDS, MSD

Dental Postdoctoral Resident

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. 

Gemma Cotton, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Gemma completed her PhD in chemistry studying nanoparticles and advanced materials at the University of Otago, NZ. She continued as a postdoc specializing in osteogenic scaffolds and the cellular/molecular mechanisms of tissue growth. She is passionate about understanding the fundamental development and behavior of cells to produce new and better translatable materials for clinical needs.  

Tina Yaskell

Senior Laboratory Technician

Tina is currently working in the Mineralized Tissue Department with Drs. Felicitas Bidlack, Megan Pugach-Gordon 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 Institute in 1985 in the Biochemistry Department under the guidance of Dr. Shelby Kashket […]

Rhys Newcomb

Research Associate

Before coming to Forsyth, Rhys studied molecular biology and genetics at the University of California San Diego, where he investigated the stress response pathway in plants. He now assists the Bidlack lab in researching enamel formation and health.

Lab Alumni
Daniel Green
Dan Faibish
Maren Teichmann
Baptiste Depalle
Ana Gil de Bona
DMSC Students:
Jae Jang
Graduate Scholar Interns:
Aziz Biyari
Nicolas Obtel
Omar Elrayah
Nasser Mohieddin
Undergraduate Interns:
Mariel Sackman
Research Technicians:
Yan Xia
Gabrielle Mascarin