Thomas Diekwisch, a graduate of Philipps University of Marburg, currently serves as a professor and department head at the UIC College of Dentistry in Chicago, Illinois. In this role, Dr. Diekwisch performs research in various areas of dentistry, including determining the molecular mechanisms that govern enamel formation.
Early on, Tom Diekwisch discovered the functional significance of enamel matrix organization for enamel development and demonstrated the independence of enamel deposits from adjacent dentin. In a series of evolutionary biology studies, they cloned and characterized a number of novel amelogenin genes, including those of frogs, salamanders, and iguanas in reptiles and amphibians. Based on these studies, they established polyproline repeat elongation as a mechanism for amelogenin aggregate compaction and enamel crystal elongation.
Recently, they reported the first complete 3D structure of the major tooth enamel protein, amelogenin. Currently, Diekwisch and his team are studying the relationship between the amelogenin molecule and enamel mechanical properties.
Dr. Thomas Diekwisch
Thomas Diekwisch has served as a professor and department head at UIC College of Dentistry in Chicago, Illinois, since 2001. At the school’s Brodie Laboratory, Dr. Diekwisch is engaged in several studies relating to areas of craniofacial research, including TMJ function and tooth movement.
There are a number of afflictions that can cause pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), a part of the skull which joins the lower jaw with the temporal bone. These afflictions are collectively known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and can be caused by excessive grinding or clenching of the teeth, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, heightened levels of stress, or an injury, particularly to the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint.
The ailments associated with TMD are typically very painful, as each disorder is characterized by sensitivity and tenderness in the jaw. This pain becomes especially intense when the mouth is opened wide, and can eventually spread to the neck, back, and shoulders. Some patients may find themselves unable to open their mouths very wide, and others will be unable to open their mouths at all. A primary care physician may identify a TMD, though dentists are better suited to diagnose and treat the affliction.
A clinical instructor and department head at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, Dr. Thomas Diekwisch has received academic appointments in the disciplines of bioengineering, anatomy, cell biology, orthodontics, and periodontics. He also serves as an honorary professor at Jilin University in Changchun, China. An accomplished researcher, Diekwisch has made great strides in the field of periodontal ligament regeneration.
Through targeted and controlled tissue engineering, Dr. Diekwisch and his team of tissue engineers and molecular biologists have succeeded in achieving complete periodontal ligament regeneration using progenitive stem cells and ECM-based scaffold materials. Restoring periodontal health is key for the sound attachment of teeth and for a healthy smile.
Using state-of-the-art stem cell technologies, periodontal ligament regeneration holds tremendous promise for reconstructive dentists in their continuing effort to treat and rebuild damaged periodontia. The ultimate goal of emerging periodontal therapies is to completely reconstruct and repair any supporting periodontal tissue that was lost as a result of infection or disease.
Thomas Diekwisch and Li Yulin
“Vice president Li Yulin appreciated Prof. Diekwisch’s great contribution and effort to JLU, and expected his strengthening cooperation with JLU in research and nurturing high-caliber talents. Prof. Thomas Diekwisch expressed his gratitude for conferment of honorary professorship at JLU and determined to make more contributions to JLU development.”
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