As director of the Brodie Laboratory for Craniofacial Genetics, Thomas Diekwisch focuses on stem cells, epigenetics, and chromatin remodeling as they relate to dental work and jaw development. Additionally, Dr. Diekwisch serves as a professor and department head at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Dentistry, where he introduces students and faculty to the latest technology. The technology and research Dr. Diekwisch conducts at the Brodie Laboratory includes enamel formation and evolution, and orthodontics and tooth movement.
Produced during the second stage of tooth formation, enamel is independent of dentin, a calcified tissue that must be present to support the more fragile enamel layer. Called amelogenesis, the formation of enamel can be affected in several ways, either through genetics or by environmental factors. One of these, the intake of excessive fluoride, can give the enamel opaque white striations or a porous, discolored surface, depending on the severity. Currently, studies are underway at the Brodie Laboratory to study the factors of the elongation and nucleation of the enamel crystals, which influences how strong and porous the resulting enamel will be.