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.

Image & Media Gallery

Scientific Publications



Periodontitis in Chédiak-Higashi Syndrome: An Altered Immunoinflammatory Response.

Thumbigere Math V, Rebouças P, Giovani PA, Puppin-Rontani RM, Casarin R, Martins L, Wang L, Krzewski K, Introne WJ, Somerman MJ, Nociti FH Jr, Kantovitz KR
JDR clinical and translational research.
2018 Jan;
doi: 10.1177/2380084417724117
PMID: 29276776

Overlapping functions of bone sialoprotein and pyrophosphate regulators in directing cementogenesis.

Ao M, Chavez MB, Chu EY, Hemstreet KC, Yin Y, Yadav MC, Millán JL, Fisher LW, Goldberg HA, Somerman MJ, Foster BL
2017 Dec;
doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2017.08.027
PMID: 28866368

Hypercementosis Associated with ENPP1 Mutations and GACI.

Thumbigere-Math V, Alqadi A, Chalmers NI, Chavez MB, Chu EY, Collins MT, Ferreira CR, FitzGerald K, Gafni RI, Gahl WA, Hsu KS, Ramnitz MS, Somerman MJ, Ziegler SG, Foster BL
Journal of dental research.
2018 Apr;
doi: 10.1177/0022034517744773
PMID: 29244957

Conditional Alpl Ablation Phenocopies Dental Defects of Hypophosphatasia.

Foster BL, Kuss P, Yadav MC, Kolli TN, Narisawa S, Lukashova L, Cory E, Sah RL, Somerman MJ, Millán JL
Journal of dental research.
2017 Jan;
doi: 10.1177/0022034516663633
PMID: 27582029

Full Spectrum of Postnatal Tooth Phenotypes in a Novel Irf6 Cleft Lip Model.

Chu EY, Tamasas B, Fong H, Foster BL, LaCourse MR, Tran AB, Martin JF, Schutte BC, Somerman MJ, Cox TC
Journal of dental research.
2016 Oct;
doi: 10.1177/0022034516656787
PMID: 27369589

Role of PHOSPHO1 in Periodontal Development and Function.

Zweifler LE, Ao M, Yadav M, Kuss P, Narisawa S, Kolli TN, Wimer HF, Farquharson C, Somerman MJ, Millán JL, Foster BL
Journal of dental research.
2016 Jul;
doi: 10.1177/0022034516640246
PMID: 27016531

Isolation and Functional Analysis of an Immortalized Murine Cementocyte Cell Line, IDG-CM6.

Zhao N, Nociti FH Jr, Duan P, Prideaux M, Zhao H, Foster BL, Somerman MJ, Bonewald LF
Journal of bone and mineral research : the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
2016 Feb;
doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2690
PMID: 26274352

The role of bone sialoprotein in the tendon-bone insertion.

Marinovich R, Soenjaya Y, Wallace GQ, Zuskov A, Dunkman A, Foster BL, Ao M, Bartman K, Lam V, Rizkalla A, Beier F, Somerman MJ, Holdsworth DW, Soslowsky LJ, Lagugné-Labarthet F, Goldberg HA
Matrix biology : journal of the International Society for Matrix Biology.
2016 May-Jul;
doi: 10.1016/j.matbio.2016.01.016
PMID: 26826499

A Familial Pattern of Multiple Idiopathic Cervical Root Resorption With a 30-Year Follow-Up.

Neely AL, Thumbigere-Math V, Somerman MJ, Foster BL
Journal of periodontology.
2016 Apr;
doi: 10.1902/jop.2015.150536
PMID: 26561999

PTH and Vitamin D Repress DMP1 in Cementoblasts.

Wang L, Tran AB, Nociti FH Jr, Thumbigere-Math V, Foster BL, Krieger CC, Kantovitz KR, Novince CM, Koh AJ, McCauley LK, Somerman MJ
Journal of dental research.
2015 Oct;
doi: 10.1177/0022034515599726
PMID: 26276370

Mechanical Forces Exacerbate Periodontal Defects in Bsp-null Mice.

Soenjaya Y, Foster BL, Nociti FH Jr, Ao M, Holdsworth DW, Hunter GK, Somerman MJ, Goldberg HA
Journal of dental research.
2015 Sep;
doi: 10.1177/0022034515592581
PMID: 26130257

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Last Updated: May 2020