Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences

The mission of the Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences is to support the missions of the UMKC School of Dentistry, UMKC, and the UM System. Through our graduate education and research programs we support all of the specific goals of the School of Dentistry mission statement.

The Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences maintains a multi-disciplinary approach to research and graduate education. We employ a dedicated staff and maintain state-of-the-art equipment to support our world-renowned faculty’s high level of research grant funding. In addition to research, our faculty are committed to supporting and developing graduate and post-graduate students in their educational and research efforts.

Faculty

The heart of our department is our faculty and their staff. Click the names to find out more about individual faculty members and their research.

Professor and Chair of the Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences
Director, UMKC Center of Excellence in the Study of Dental and Musculoskeletal Tissues (CEMT)

Mark L. Johnson

Professor and Associate Dean Research/Graduate Programs
Mary P. Walker

Professors
Sarah L. Dallas
Jeffrey Gorski
Carole P. McArthur
Yong Wang
Melanie Simmer-Beck

Associate Professor
Laura Iwasaki
Jeff Nickel
Yasuyoshi Ueki

Research Assistant Professor
LeAnn Tiede-Lewis
Jacob McGuire

Professors Emeritus
Lynda Bonewall
J David Eick
Alan Glaros
Michael J. Reed
Paulette Spencer

Adjunct Faculty
Emily G. Farrow
Rama Garimella
Robert Krumlauf
Tarak Srivastava
Kenneth M. Yamada
Jingsong Zhou

Affiliated Seminar Series
UMKC Center of Excellence in the Study of Dental and Musculoskeletal Tissues (CEMT)

Graduate Programs

The Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences offers MS and Interdisciplinary PhD graduate programs. Select one of the links below to learn more about which program might be the right career enhancement or educational opportunity for you.

To enhance your educational experience, you might consider the Master of Science in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences.

If you are a dentist considering an academic career or a scientist looking for an opportunity to link basic science with clinical research, you might consider our Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program.

Research and Graduate Studies

Research Programs within the Department of Oral Biology

The Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences has three main focus areas for research: Biomaterials/Bioengineering of Biological Tissues and Replacements; Mineralized Tissue Biology; and Translational and Clinical Research. Faculty across these areas regularly collaborate in innovative ways to make the best use of the talents of individuals in the department.

In the biomaterials area, faculty are investigating means of improving composite restorations through the development of new materials as well as improving the bond between the tooth and the filling material. In the mineralized tissue area, faculty are studying bone and muscle, determining how they act together, and how bone function affects its structure. Such studies are relevant for understanding and treating osteoporosis and fracture healing. In the translational and clinical research area, faculty are evaluating the impact of radiation therapy on the oral cavity, temporomandibular disorders, and studying diseases such as TB and HIV/AIDS.

Mineralized Tissue Biology

Dr. Bonewald is Director of the Bone Biology Research Program. This program is composed of bone biologists with specific and unique skills that together compose a comprehensive team for the study of mineralized tissues. Mark Johnson is the discoverer of the high bone mass gene, Lrp5. Dr. Jeff Gorski and Dr. Sarah Dallas are experts in bone matrix, its components and functions. Dr. Yasuyoshi Ueki is a molecular biologist examining the condition of Cherubism. The technology available for the study of mineralized tissues include genomics, proteomics, transgenic mice, dynamic imaging, bone analysis for properties such as density, hardness, strength, and histomorphometry for analysis of both bone and bone cells. 3D microscopy, applications of mechanical strain, both in vitro and in vivo, are established among other technologies. The goal of the program is to approach important issues in bone and tooth development, physiology, and disease from basic experiments to clinical research. In vitro approaches are first necessary to properly design transgenic approaches which are essential before clinical trials. All three components, basic, translational and clinical research, are essential for translating findings into prevention of disease and treatment in the clinic. For details concerning the personal research studies of each faculty member, visit their websites or contact them by email.

Bone Biology Research Team:
Lynda F. Bonewald, Curators’ Professor and Lefkowitz Professor, is the Director of the Bone Biology Program and oversees the Histomorphometry and Image Analysis Cores. Research Focus: on the effects of mechanical strain on osteocyte biology. 5-Lipoxygenase, Transforming Growth Factor beta. (bonewaldl@umkc.edu)

Mark Johnson, Chair, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences, Professor. Research Focus: the role of the high bone mass gene Lrp5 in bone formation and regulation by mechanical strain. (johnsonmark@umkc.edu)

Sarah Dallas, Professor, is the Director of the Dynamic Imaging Laboratory. Research Focus: the role of the latent transforming beta binding protein in bone extracellular matrix and in tumor metastasis to bone. (dallass@umkc.edu)

Jeff Gorski, Professor, is the Director of the Laser Capture Microdissection Microscopy Facility. Research Focus: extracellular matrix protein, specifically, BAG-75 and bone formation in the marrow ablation model. (gorskij@umkc.edu)

Yasuyoshi Ueki, Assistant Professor, is engaged in research in the areas of molecular and cellular pathogenesis of the human craniofacial disorder, Cherubism. (uekiy@umkc.edu)

For training opportunities in the Bone Biology Program contact Dr. Bonewald or see Educational Opportunities on the homepage. For information on the Oral and Craniofacial Sciences Seminar Series click here.

The Bone Biology Program collaborates and integrates research goals with the Biomaterials and Engineering Components of the Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences. These investigators include Dr. David Eick, the Chair of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences, and Dr. Yong Wang who are experts in Biomaterials and their analyses. For more information concerning research in these areas click Biomaterials/Bioengineering Program.

Translational and Clinical Research

Clinical research is one of three main research areas within the UMKC School of Dentistry.  Our definition of “clinical research” is the same as that used by the National Institutes of Health: (1) Patient-oriented research. Research conducted with human subjects (or on material of human origin such as tissues, specimens and cognitive phenomena) for which an investigator (or colleague) directly interacts with human subjects. Patient-oriented research includes: (a) mechanisms of human disease, (b) therapeutic interventions, (c) clinical trials, and (d) development of new technologies; (2) Epidemiologic and behavioral studies; and (3) Outcomes research and health services research. As suggested by these definitions, “clinical research” is a broad concept that incorporates a wide range of activities involving human participants directly and indirectly.

At the present time, on-going clinical research efforts include those involved with temporomandibular disorders, salivary disorders, HIV and TB diagnosis, and restorative materials.  A Clinical Research Center at the School of Dentistry provides facilities to carry out contracted research supported by commercial firms as well as clinical research directed by individual faculty.

For more information on the clinical research activities of individual faculty members, please click on the following links:

Carole McArthur, M.D., Ph.D.

Affiliations

Children’s Mercy Hospital
International Student Affairs Office
Midwest Research Institute
School of Dentistry Advanced Education Programs
Truman Medical Center
UMKC Life Sciences
UMKC School of Graduate Studies
University of Kansas Medical Center