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Oral and Craniofacial Sciences in Rochester – A New Beginning: About Epigenetics, Tissue Engineering and Enamel Biophysics presented by Tom Diekwisch, DMD PhD (sc) PhD (phil)


The emergence of tissue engineering and the discovery of the therapeutic applicability of stem cells at the turn of the millennium held enormous promise for the future of medicine. Today, more than two decades later, tissue engineering has matured into a discipline that embraces the complexity of the human body.  Research programs in materials design have resulted in third-generation biomaterials suitable to provide frameworks, allow for resorbability in a timed fashion, and deliver bioactive molecules to promote the growth of new tissues.

Epigenetics has become a powerful tool to promote tissue growth by controlling promoter accessibility for the transcription and subsequent secretion of growth-promoting proteins and enzymes. Epigenetics and small molecules controlling epigenetic enzymes are also a means to limit tissue growth and remedy pathogenesis and tumor growth. At a time when a nation grapples to find alternatives to opioids, combined materials/small molecule strategies to combat chronic pain emerge as a reasonable alternative to traditional analgesics. 

This lecture explores the promise of research teams working together to address the challenges of the future of medicine, the growth of new organs, the design and delivery of bioactive molecules, the treatment of pain, and the integration of omics/precision medicine for individualized therapies. Such teams will be broadly focused across all areas of medicine and especially on the craniofacial region with its many deleterious challenges including temporomandibular joint disorders, loss of dentition, and loss of craniofacial bone. 

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