Research Statement

I study the molecular biology of tooth root development and mineralization, with interests including genes, mechanisms, diseases, and novel regeneration strategies.  My overarching objective as a researcher in the dental-oral-craniofacial field is to understand the molecular mechanisms driving tooth root formation and bring new insights to novel approaches for regenerating tissues and restoring function.  Specific areas of inquiry have included: phosphate/pyrophosphate metabolism, developmental regulators of cementum, cementoblast and cementocyte functions, roles of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins in dental mineralization, and manifestations of skeletal/endocrine diseases in dental tissues.  Studies have focused on several aspects of development and pathology in the dentoalveolar mineralized tissues, including enamel, dentin, cementum, and bone, and have encompassed several mouse models where mineralization status was affected, including models of hypophosphatasia, hypermineralization, X-linked hypophosphatemic rickets (XLH), hyperphosphatemia, and altered extracellular matrix.  Techniques routine to this work include histology, histomorphometry, craniofacial measurements, immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, non-decalcified histology and differential staining, radiography, micro-computed tomography, and scanning and transmission electron microscopy.  More broadly, I am also interested in how knowledge gained from the study of dental-oral-craniofacial connective tissues may be applied more widely to skeletal development, disease, wound healing, and regeneration.

Scientific Publications

Conditional Alpl ablation phenocopies dental defects of hypophosphatasia.

Foster BL, Kuss P, Yadav M, Kolli T, Narisawa S, Lukashova L, Cory E, Sah RL, Somerman MJ, Millán JL.

Role of PHOSPHO1 in periodontal development and function.

Zweifler LE, Ao M, Yadav M, Kuss P, Narisawa S, Kolli T, Wimer HF, Farquharson C, Somerman MJ, Millán JL, Foster BL.

Multiple essential MT1-MMP functions in tooth root formation, dentinogenesis, and tooth eruption.

Xu H, Snider TN, Wimer HF, Yamada SS, Yang T, Holmbeck K, Foster BL.

Mineralization defects in cementum and craniofacial bone from loss of bone sialoprotein.

Foster BL, Ao M, Willoughby C, Soenjaya Y, Holm E, Lukashova L, Tran AB, Wimer HF, Zerfas PM, Nociti, Jr. FH, Kantovitz KR, Quan B, Sone ED, Goldberg HA, Somerman MJ.

Rare bone diseases and their dental, oral, and craniofacial manifestations.

Foster BL, Ramnitz MS, Gafni RI, Burke AB, Boyce AM, Lee JS, Wright JT, Akintoye SO, Somerman MJ, Collins MT.

The rachitic tooth.

Foster BL, Nociti FH, Jr. Somerman M.


I achieved a B.S. (1998) and M.S. (2000) in Biology (Emphasis on Microbiology) from Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant, MI, USA).  In 2011, I earned a Ph.D. in Oral Biology from the University of Washington (Seattle, WA, USA) College of Dentistry.  I  served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease (NIAMS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH; Bethesda, MD, USA) from 2011-2015.


I have served as an Assistant Professor in the Biosciences Division of the Ohio State University College of Dentistry since 2015.

Last Updated: September 2017