Year 1

In this first year of the New Faculty award, my colleagues and I have initiated work on all 3 Aims. We have made significant progress on Aim 1, which focuses on the study of mouse dental stem cells in the animal. The mouse incisor provides an excellent model for studying the processes that underlie the ability of epithelial stem cells to contribute to tissue renewal, because its continuous growth requires generation of all the necessary cell types from adult stem cells. Currently, relatively little is known about how this continuous growth is achieved, and one of the main focuses of this CIRM grant is to understand this process. We are preparing a manuscript based on the results from sub-Aim 1D, and we also expect that a second manuscript will be prepared during the coming year on sub-Aim 1C. For the experiments in Aim 2, we have devoted considerable time to developing the adult dental stem cell culture system, and we intend to submit a manuscript describing the system and conditions during the coming year. We have begun to work on experiments in Aim 3, using human fetal ameloblasts and embryonic stem cells, and have some exciting preliminary data for this Aim.