Ann Decker Lab

The University of Michigan School of Dentistry



Periodontal Regeneration in Medically Compromised Patients

As a translational research laboratory we seek to achieve predictable, personalized periodontal regeneration and wound healing despite local (i.e. occlusion, microbiological environment) and systemic confounding factors (i.e. diabetes, inflammatory burden). This will allow personalized regenerative treatment options for patients in the future, establishing care best suited for each individual.

Disseminated tumor cell biology

Bone marrow/HSC niche regulation is one of the quintessential players in maintaining immunological and osteological homeostasis. HSC niche regulation is dependent on GAS6 secretion from osteoblasts to induce stem cell dormancy. Cancer cells can invade the HSC niche and receive the same GAS6 signal from osteoblasts. When GAS6 signaling is inhibited by adrenergic nerve products (i.e. norepinephrine), the cancer cells re-enter a proliferative cell cycle. As such, we are keen to characterize bone marrow biological mechanisms and discern how the adrenergic/GAS6 signaling axis affects other bone marrow biological components such as HSCs, immune cells, and skeletal remodeling cycles.

Host response in the oral cavity

In order to fully deliver predictable, personalized dental care we must also understand what the host response factors are. Thus, one of our principal research goals is to better understand how the innate immune system can be trained and influenced by local/systemic mechanisms in the periodontium (i.e. alveolar bone, periodontal ligament, cementum, mucosa) in both health and disease.


Ann Decker

Ann M. Decker, DMD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Dentistry, Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry
Principal investigator | 734-763-2105

Dr. Ann Decker is a clinician-scientist and assistant professor in the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine. Dr. Decker is actively engaged in both basic science and clinical/translational research, as well as the clinical practice of periodontics. Dr. Decker received her DMD degree at the University of Florida. She went on to complete a residency in periodontology and a PhD in oral health sciences at the University of Michigan. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology.

Dr. Decker's laboratory focuses on the intercellular signaling mechanisms that regulate inflammation in bone. Specifically, we are keen to understand how periodontal disease trains innate immunity and subsequent effects on bone regeneration and skeletal cancer metastasis that reside in the bone marrow niche spaces. The laboratory utilizes in vivo and in vitro models of bone regeneration, periodontal disease, and cancer metastasis and characterization techniques including but not limited to RNAseq, flow cytometry, histology, immunofluorescence, and transcription factor arrays. Our research program has received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Association of Periodontology Foundation. Dr. Decker has also received a myriad of awards for her work and contributions to the field, including the Leadership, Engagement, and Development (LEAD) program award, Academy for Advancing Leadership Certificate, American Association of Periodontics Foundation Educator Scholarship, Henry M. Thornton/SCADA fellowship, and The American Association of Oral Biologists Oral Biology Award.




Kaitlyn Moore
DDS Student

Magda Orlowska

Magda Orlowska
MS Student

Kelsey Smart

Kelsey Martin
Research Lab Specialist

Muhammad Saleh

Muhammad Saleh
Clinical Assistant Professor

Mostafa  Shehabeldin

Mostafa Shehabeldin
MS Student

Jim Sugai

Jim Sugai
Research Laboratory Specialist Senior

Nicholas Mazzara

Nicholas Mazzara
DDS student

Akshay Basireddy

Akshay Basireddy
UROP student

Asfandyar Sheikh
Research assistant


Alison Roh

Bal Ram

Will Padbury

Bryson James
Student Volunteer

Swapnali Shinde Kamble


Ann Decker Lab
University of Michigan School of Dentistry
1011 N University Ave, Room 3310G
Ann Arbor 48109-1078, MI

Phone: 734-763-2105