The Ono laboratory uses genetically engineered mice to study the fundamental biology of stem and progenitor cells of the bone cell lineage in growth, development and homeostasis.

The three major focuses of the laboratory are: the growth cartilage, craniofacial bones and bone marrow stromal cells.


Noriaki Ono, DDS, PhD

Assistant Professor


2003 – DDS, Tokyo Medical and Dental University
2007 – PhD, Tokyo Medical and Dental University
2009 – Clinical fellow (Orthodontics), Tokyo Medical and Dental University
2012 – Research fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital

Academic Appointments

2012-2014 – Instructor, Massachusetts General Hospital
2014-present – Assistant Professor, University of Michigan School of Dentistry

I am originally from Tokyo, Japan, and my family has a strong background in dentists and orthodontists. When I was in high school I wanted to become a journalist, but as is often the case for someone who grew up in a dental milieu, I ended up entering a dental school (in Japan, the decision comes at the age of 18).

Six years in Tokyo Medical and Dental University gave me a whole new world. I liked basic science courses, rather than plaster or acrylic work. I enjoyed interactions with prominent scientists there (most of whom also had dental degrees, amazingly). I was inspired by their careers. After dental school, I decided to stay and pursue the combined orthodontic certificate and PhD program in the same school (which is not an uncommon choice for fresh graduates from Japanese dental schools).

I never lost my enthusiasm for science, and fortunately, my professor of orthodontics supported my endeavor (in Japanese dental schools, ‘professor’ means more than just an academic rank) without strapping me too much onto the program. He gave me the freedom to invest myself into science. I literally spent days and nights in my research mentor’s lab (and mouse rooms). I met with people from much more diverse backgrounds than I could simply as an orthodontic resident.

Four years in the lab transformed my career and life. Soon, I was looking for an opportunity to do a postdoc in a good lab. I luckily received a research fellowship grant from Japan, and made it to Massachusetts General Hospital. Five years there were just amazing. My mentor, Hank, gave me the freedom to think and do, and was always there for help. I could get a number of outstanding opportunities thanks to his support. After a long endeavor, I finally earned this job as a principal investigator in this prominent research university. And I feel that this chance didn’t come just as a coincidence – this opportunity was gradually ‘built up’ after years of getting to know more and more people.

I could have never been here without tremendous support from my mentors. Everyone is connected, and everything happening to my career has an implication. I’ve been basically a city dweller for most of my life – but I really enjoy countryside life style here in Ann Arbor. I’m learning a lot from being a first-time lab director, homeowner and parent.


The most recent publications are reported below.

View the complete listing of publications.


Koji Mizuhashi, DDS, PhD

Research Fellow


1990 – PhC, Tohoku Pharmaceutical University
1992 – MPharm, Tohoku Pharmaceutical University
2007 – DDS, Osaka University
2013 – PhD, Kyoto University

I am a DDS & Ph.D., and educated in Osaka and Kyoto Universit in, Japan. I am interested in the mechanism of skeletal development, particularly interested in mesenchymal stem cell, chondrocyte and osteoblast differentiation. I am glad to be part of the Ono lab.

Naoko Sakagami, DDS, PhD

Research Fellow


2008 – DDS, Niigata University
2012 – PhD, Niigata University
2015 – Clinical fellow (Oral Surgery), Niigata University
2015 – Research fellow, University of Michigan School of Dentistry

I am from Niigata, a coastal city in northern Japan. I graduated from Niigata University School of Dentistry in 2008 and earned my DDS degree. My specialty is Oral surgery, and I received my PhD degree from Niigata University in 2012.

I worked as a clinical fellow of oral surgery for two years at Niigata General Hospital and Niigata University hospital. I started my research on bone biology in the Ono lab at the University of Michigan in April 2015.

My favorite hobby is running marathons. I love jogging in the morning on weekends. I plan to run the Detroit international half marathon this year and Ann Arbor marathon next year!!

Sarah Syklawer, DMD

Graduate Student - MS Candidate


2010 – BS, University of South Alabama
2014 – DMD, University of Alabama - Birmingham
2015 – Graduate Student - MS Candidate, University of Michigan School of Dentistry

I earned my BS in Psychology in 2010 at the University of South Alabama, where I studied the effects of magno-parvocellular integration training on children with reading disabilities. I then received my DMD degree from University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2014. There, my research focused on the wear of ceramics and enamel in an artificial chewing simulator. I am currently an orthodontic resident working towards and MS degree (2017). Outside of academics, I enjoy any outdoor activity, running, traveling, drawing and painting.

Yuki Matsushita, DDS, PhD

Research Fellow


2007 - DDS, Tokyo Medical and Dental University
2013 - PhD, Tokyo Medical and Dental University
2013 - Assistant Professor in Clinical Oral Oncology, Nagasaki University
2015 - Research Fellow, University of Michigan School of Dentistry

I am Yuki from Japan. I earned my DDS and PhD degrees from the Tokyo Medical and Dental University in Japan. My clinical specialty is oral surgery. For me, basic science is as important as clinical work for my career. I am interested in bone biology such as bone formation and regeneration, and cancer metastasis (invasion of cancer cells) to bone. I want to pursue new and exciting findings in Ono lab.

I will enjoy my new life with my family in Ann Arbor for the next few years.


Ono Lab
1011 N University Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
DENT 5204
Phone: (734) 647-8450