The recipient of a DMD and two PhDs, Dr. Thomas Diekwisch applies his experience in dentistry at the University of Illinois (UIC) at Chicago’s Brodie Laboratory. Also the professor and head of the Department of Oral Biology at UIC, Dr. Thomas Diekwisch has performed groundbreaking research into epigenetics and chromatin.
Found in the cell’s nucleus, chromatin consists of DNA and proteins that turn into chromosomes during cell division. In 1999, the Brodie Laboratory cloned and sequenced the SRCAP chromatin complex member cp27 (now known as craniofacial development protein 1), which showed its importance in embryonic development, cell division, and transcription. Further research provided greater insight into this factor such as key regulators and transcription factors.
The Brodie Lab is continuing to understand the importance and development of chromatin, particularly in dental medicine. Its impact on early development has led to discoveries into how epigenetic components affect the differentiation of dental tissues. Looking at modifications of histones (or proteins in cell nuclei that convert DNA into nucleosomes), Brodie’s scientists identified a transition from active to repressive histones during periodontal differentiation. Another ongoing project involves researching how cp27 affects chromatin segregation and craniofacial syndromes.