Principal Investigator

Martha Somerman, D.D.S., Ph.D.

Dr. Martha Somerman is chief of the Laboratory of Oral Connective Tissue Biology. Dr. Somerman’s research has focused on defining the key regulators controlling development, maintenance and regeneration of dental-oral-craniofacial tissues.

The Laboratory of Oral Connective Tissue Biology studies the molecular biology of dental-oral-craniofacial development, with a focus on the periodontal complex. We aim to understand cells and signals influencing tooth, bone, and periodontal ligament development in order to identify improved regenerative strategies. A variety of approaches are taken, including in vitro cell and organ culture, transgenic animal models for studying gene function, in vivo models for studying periodontal repair and regeneration, and studies involving human subjects focusing on genetic disorders and pathologies affecting the dentoalveolar complex. These studies should provide greater insight on all hard and soft connective tissues, as well as help identify links between systemic conditions and the oral cavity.

Our lab's recent focus areas have been:

  • Role of phosphate and pyrophosphate metabolism in physiology and pathology of the dentoalveolar complex.
  • Role of extracellular matrix proteins and signaling molecules in development of the tooth root and differentiation of associated cell types.
  • Novel approaches for periodontal regeneration.

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Scientific Publications

Thumbigere-Math V, Rebouças P, Giovani PA, Puppin-Rontani RM, Casarin R, Martins L, Wang L, Krzewski K, Introne WJ, Somerman MJ, Nociti Jr. FH, and Kantovitz KR. Periodontitis in Chédiak-Higashi Syndrome: An Altered Immunoinflammatory Response. JDR Clin Trans Res. 2018 Jan;3(1):35-46. doi: 10.1177/2380084417724117. Epub 2017 Aug 3.

Ao M, Chavez MB, Chu EY, Hemstreet KC, Yin Y, Yadav M, Millan JL, Fisher LW, Goldberg H, Somerman M, Foster BL.  Overlapping Functions of Bone Sialoprotein and Pyrophosphate Regulators in Directing Cementogenesis. Bone. 2017 Dec;105:134-147. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2017.08.027. Epub 2017 Sep 1.

V. Thumbigere-Math, A. Alqadi, N.I. Chalmers, M.B. Chavez, E.Y. Chu, M.T. Collins, C.R. Ferreira, K. FitzGerald, R.I. Gafni, W.A. Gahl, K.S. Hsu, M.S. Ramnitz, M.J. Somerman, S.G. Ziegler, and B.L. Foster. Hypercementosis Associated with ENPP1 Mutations and GACI. J Dent Res. 2017 Dec 1:22034517744773. doi: 10.1177/0022034517744773. [Epub ahead of print].

Foster BL, Kuss P, Yadav M, Kolli T, Narisawa S, Lukashova L, Cory E, Sah RL, Somerman MJ, Millán JL.  Conditional Alpl Ablation Phenocopies Dental Defects of Hypophosphatasia.  J Dent Res. 2017 Jan;96(1):81-91. doi: 10.1177/0022034516663633. Epub 2016 Oct 1.

Chu EY, Tamasas B, Fong H, Foster BL, LaCourse MR, Tran AB, Martin JF, Schutte BC, Somerman MJ, Cox TC. Full spectrum of Postnatal Tooth Phenotypes in a Novel Irf6 Cleft Lip Model. J Dent Res. 2016 Oct;95(11):1265-73. doi: 10.1177/0022034516656787. Epub 2016 Jul 1.

Zweifler L, Ao M, Yadav M, Kuss P, Farquharson C, Somerman MJ, Millan JL, Foster B.  Role of PHOSPHO1 in periodontal development and function.  J Dent Res. 2016 Jul;95(7):742-51. doi: 10.1177/0022034516640246. Epub 2016 Mar 25.

Zhao N, Nociti Jr FH, Duan P, Prideaux M, Zhao H, Foster BL, Somerman MJ, Bonewald LF. Isolation and Functional Analysis of an Immortalized Murine Cementocyte Cell Line, IDG-CM6.  J Bone Miner Res. 2016 Feb;31(2):430-442. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2690. Epub 2015 Sep 23.

Marinovich R, Soenjaya Y, Wallace G, Zuskov A, Dunkman A, Foster B, Ao M, Bartman K, Lam V, Rizkalla A, Beier F, Somerman MJ, Holdsworth D, Soslowsky L, Lagugné-Labarthet F, Goldberg H.  The Role of Bone Sialoprotein in the Tendon-Bone Insertion.  Matrix Biol. 2016 May-Jul;52-54:325-338. doi: 10.1016/j.matbio.2016.01.016. Epub 2016 Jan 28.

Neely AL, Thumbigere-Math V, Somerman MJ, Foster BL.  A Familial Pattern of Multiple Idiopathic Cervical Root Resorption with A 30-year Follow-Up.  J Periodontol. 2016 Apr;87(4):426-33. doi: 10.1902/jop.2015.150536. Epub 2015 Nov 12..

Wang L, Tran AB, Nociti Jr FH, Thumbigere-Math V, Foster BL, Krieger CC, Kantovitz KR, Novince CM, Koh AJ, McCauley LK, Somerman MJ. PTH and Vitamin D Repress DMP1 in Cementoblasts. J Dent Res. 2015 Oct;94(10):1408-16. doi: 10.1177/0022034515599726. Epub 2015 Aug 14.

Soenjaya Y, Foster B, Nociti Jr FH, Holdsworth D, Hunter G, Somerman MJ, Goldberg H. Mechanical Forces Exacerbate Periodontal Defects in Bsp-null Mice.  J Dent Res. 2015 Sep;94(9):1276-85. doi: 10.1177/0022034515592581. Epub 2015 Jun 30.

Foster BL, Ao M, Willoughby C, Soenjaya Y, Holm E, Lukashova L, Tran AB, Wimer HF, Zerfas PM, Nociti Jr FH, Kantovitz KR, Quan BD, Sone ED, Goldberg HA, Somerman, MJ.  Mineralization defects in cementum and craniofacial bone from loss of bone sialoprotein. Bone. 2015 Sep;78:150-64. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2015.05.007. Epub 2015 May 9.

Foster BL, Sheen CR, Hatch NE, Liu J, Cory E, Narisawa S, Kiffer-Moreira T, Sah RL, Whyte MP, Somerman MJ, Millán JL.  Periodontal Defects in the A116T Knock-in Murine Model of Odontohypophosphatasia.  J Dent Res. 2015 May;94(5):706-14. doi: 10.1177/0022034515573273. Epub 2015 Feb 25.

Zweifler L, Foster BL, Patel M, Nociti Jr FH, Wimer H, Millan JL, Somerman MJ. Counter-regulatory Phosphatases TNAP and NPP1 Temporally Regulate Tooth Root Cementogenesis.  Int J Oral Sci. 2015 Mar 23;7(1):27-41. doi: 10.1038/ijos.2014.62.

Wang L, Kantovitz K,  Cullinane A, Nociti Jr FH, Foster BL, Roney J, Tran AB, Introne W,  Somerman MJ. Skin fibroblasts from individuals with Chediak-Higashi Syndrome (CHS) exhibit hyposensitive immunogenic response. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2014 Dec 21;9:212. doi: 10.1186/s13023-014-0212-7.

Gasque K, Foster BL, Kuss P, Yadav MC,  Liu J, Kiffer-Moreira T, van Elsas A, Hatch H, Somerman MJ,  Millán JL. Improvement of the skeletal and dental hypophosphatasia phenotype in Alpl-/- mice by administration of soluble (non-targeted) chimeric alkaline phosphatase. Bone. 2015 Mar;72:137-47. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2014.11.017. Epub 2014 Nov 26.

Wang L, Foster BL, Kram V, Nociti Jr FH, Zerfas PM, Tran AB, Young MF, Somerman MJ. Fibromodulin and biglycan modulate periodontium through TGFβ/BMP signaling. J Dent Res. 2014 Aug;93(8):780-7. doi: 10.1177/0022034514541126. Epub 2014 Jun 25.

Foster BL, Ramnitz MS, Gafni RI, Burke AB, Boyce AM, Lee JS, Wright JT, Akintoye SO, Somerman MJ, Collins MT. Rare bone diseases and their dental, oral, and craniofacial manifestations. J Dent Res. 2014 Jul;93(7 Suppl):7S-19S. doi: 10.1177/0022034514529150. Epub 2014 Apr 3.

Foster BL, Nociti Jr FH, Somerman MJ. The rachitic tooth. Endocr Rev. 2014 Feb;35(1):1-34. doi: 10.1210/er.2013-1009. Epub 2013 Dec 4.

Nociti Jr FH, Foster BL,Tran AB,  Dunn D, Presland RB, Wang L, Bhattacharyya N, Collins MT, Somerman MJ. Vitamin D represses dentin matrix protein-1 (DMP-1) in cementoblasts and osteocytes.  J Dent Res. 2014 Feb;93(2):148-54. doi: 10.1177/0022034513516344. Epub 2013 Dec 11.

Salmon CR, Tomazela DM, Ruiz KG, Foster BL, Leme AF, Sallum EA, Somerman MJ, Nociti Jr FH. Proteomic analysis of human dental cementum and alveolar bone.  J Proteomics. 2013 Oct 8;91:544-55. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2013.08.016. Epub 2013 Sep 2.

Martins L, Rodrigues TL, Ribeiro MM, Saito MT, Giorgetti AP, Casati MZ, Sallum EA, Foster BL, Somerman MJ, Nociti Jr FH. Novel ALPL genetic alteration associated with an odontohypophosphatasia phenotype.  Bone. 2013 Oct;56(2):390-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2013.06.010. Epub 2013 Jun 19.

Mckee M, Yadav M, Foster B, Somerman MJ, Farquharson C, Millan, JL. Compounded PHOSPHO1/ALPL deficiencies reduce dentin mineralization. J Dent Res. 2013 Aug;92(8):721-7. doi: 10.1177/0022034513490958. Epub 2013 May 21.

Foster, BL, Soenjaya Y, Nociti Jr FH, Holm E, Zerfas PM, Wimer HF, Holdsworth DW, Aubin, JE   Hunter GK, Goldberg HA, Somerman MJ. Deficiency in acellular cementum and periodontal attachment in Bsp null mice.  J Dent Res. 2013 Feb;92(2):166-72. doi: 10.1177/0022034512469026. Epub 2012 Nov 26.

Garcia AI, Kuska R, Somerman MJ. Expanding the Foundation for Personalized Medicine. J Dent Res. 2013 Jul;92(7 Suppl):3S-10S. doi: 10.1177/0022034513487209. Epub 2013 May 20.

Foster BL, Nagatomo KJ, Tso HW, Tran AB, Nociti Jr FH, Narisawa S, McKee MD, Millán JL, Somerman MJ.  Tooth root dentin mineralization defects in a mouse model of hypophosphatasia.  J Bone Miner Res. 2013 Feb;28(2):271-82. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.1767.

Yadav M, deOliveria RC, Foster BL, Fong H, Cory E, Lemire I, Narisawa S, Sah R, Somerman MJ, Crine P, Whyte MP, Millan JL.  Enzyme Replacement Prevents Enamel Defects in Hypophosphatasia Mice. J Bone Miner Res. 2012 Aug;27(8):1722-34. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.1619.

Gungormus M, Oren E, Tamerler C, Fong H, Horst J, Hnilova M, Somerman MJ, Samudrala R, Snead M, Sarikaya M.  Cementomimetics – Constructing a Cementum-Like Biomineralized Microlayer via Amelogenin-Derived Peptides. Int J Oral Sci. 2012 Jun;4(2):69-77. doi: 10.1038/ijos.2012.40. Epub 2012 Jun 29.

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Last Updated: February 2018