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 About Oral BiologyFaculty Info     December 22, 2014  

Yang, Shuying (Sheri) M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Oral Biology

B36a Foster Hall
Buffalo, NY 14214
(716)829-6338 - Faculty Home Page

Faculty Research Profile

Our research focuses on identifying the role and mechanism of novel or known genes in bone-related signal pathways and understanding how these genes regulate craniofacial and bone development and bone remodeling by using gene knockout technology. We are also working on gene therapy and stem cell mediated periodontal and craniofacial bone regeneration.

Identifying the mechanism of craniofacial and bone development and metabolism.

1. The role of mechanism of RGS protein in bone development and metabolism
Most adult skeletal diseases are due to excess osteoclastic activity, leading to an imbalance in bone remodeling which favors resorption. Such diseases would include osteoporosis, periodontal disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple myeloma and metastatic cancers. Therefore, understanding the molecular mechanisms of osteoclast and osteoblast differentiation and activation is critical for successful treatment of these diseases. By using a genome-wide screening, RNAi and gene knockout technology, we have identified RGS proteins which are closely related to calcium signaling regulation, and bone development and remodeling. Currently we have generated RGS12 conditional knockout mice, and have analyzed the role and mechanism of this gene in osteoclast differentiation and bone remodeling by conditionally deleting this gene in osteoclast specific knockout model and inducible knockout model.

2. The role and mechanism of IFT/Cilia in skeleton and craniofacial development and bone remodeling. Primary cilia/IFT proteins are important factors for the etiology of skeletal and craniofacial disorders, The mutation of different IFT/cilia proteins causes the loss or severe reduction of cilia known as the ciliopathies, and often has skeletal and craniofacial defect phenotypes. However, the function and mechanism of cilia/IFT proteins in cilia formation, skeletal and craniofacial development and bone homeostasis is largely unknown. Thus, we are interested in revealing the function and regulatory mechanism of IFT/cilia proteins in skeletal and craniofacial development, bone homeostasis, and bone healing. Currently, we have investigated the role and mechanism of two IFT proteins-IFT20 and IFT80 in osteoblast and chondrocyte differentiation and activation by performing RNAi silence and gene overexpression in vitro. We have generated IFT80 conditional knockout mice and are analyzing the role and mechanism of IFT proteins in bone development and remodeling.

Genetic engineered stem cells mediated bone tissue engineering

Bone fractures and destruction result in more than 1.3 million surgical procedures each year in the United States alone. In 2004, musculoskeletal conditions cost the U. S. $849 billion, 7.7% of the national gross domestic product. Current surgical techniques use autogenous, allogeneic and prosthetic materials, and the most commonly used and the gold standard for bone regeneration is autologous grafting. However, autografts are often challenging in cases where extensive grafting is needed, but large volumes of autogenous bone are not available. Prosthetic materials avoid these issues, but their effectiveness is limited by unpredictable graft resorption, infection, structural failure and unsatisfactory aesthetic outcomes. In addition, tissue regeneration may only occur in the outer perimeter of graft structures due to the lack of stable vascularization. Hence, the ability to generate new bone graft substitutes for accelerating neovascularization and bone regeneration is a major clinical need. However, to date, vascularized mechanically competent osteoconductive/inductive constructs have not been documented. A major barrier to breakthroughs in this field is the lack of sufficient integration of biomaterial design and engineered cells, such as stem cells, to promote angiogenesis and bone regeneration. Therefore, we are focusing on develop novel genetically modified stem cell mediated angiogenesis and bone regeneration. We have developed an injectable and molding nano calcium sulfate delivery system and multi-stem cells co-culture system for facilitating vascularized bone regeneration in vivo bone defect models.