Biography: I currently serve as the Professor and Head in the Department of Oral Biological and Medical Sciences. My educational background includes a DDS, Diploma in Clinical Dentistry (Periodontics) and PhD from the University of Turku in Finland. I was further trained at the National Institute of Health as a postdoctoral fellow supervised by Dr. Kenneth Yamada who introduced me to the field of cell adhesion, integrins and wound healing. I have published over 180 scientific peer-reviewed research reports.
Interests: My research interests revolve around 1) scarless wound healing and 2) the functions of epithelial integrins, particularly avß6 integrin. My joint laboratory with Dr. Lari Häkkinen has shown how oral wounds heal without scars which is regulated by the fibroblast phenotype. We are currently testing in pre-clinical studies using Red Duroc pig model whether transplantation of autologous gingival fibroblasts into dermal wounds would prevent hypertrophic scarring. Regarding avß6, an integrin involved in TGF-ß1 activation in many fibrotic conditions, our interest is in the regulation of its expression and how its function relates to inflammation.
Expertise: Our laboratory has expertise in all the basic cell biology techniques including primary cell isolation, culture, transfections, Rt-qPCR, gene profiling, mass spectrometry and imaging techniques. In addition, our laboratory is one of very few that have extensively tested and used the pre-clinical Red Duroc pig dermal wound healing model that mimics well human dermal wound healing. We also master wound models in mice and cell cultures. Furthermore, we have expertise in isolating and testing gingival neural crest-derived progenitor cells that have capacity to differentiate to multiple lineages, including bone, cartilage, synovium and neural differentiation.
Available equipment and techniques: The following equipment and techniques are available in our laboratory or core facilities at the University of British Columbia: RT-qPCR, primary cell culture, gene profiling, mass spectrometry, cellular imaging, cell culture wounding, animal wounding models in mice and Red Duroc pigs.