Kuroda Lab

The University of Michigan School of Dentistry



Our laboratory focuses on a new molecular design of antimicrobial polymers as synthetic mimics of host-defense antimicrobial peptides. The research projects provide insight into the molecular mechanism of antimicrobial polymers, aiding rational design of new antimicrobial agents and applications including antimicrobial coatings on catheters and implants, hospital gowns and gloves, and dental composite fillings. Our research is highly interdisciplinary,involving polymer chemistry, biophysics, microbiology, and biomaterial science.



Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been a significant concern to medical practice, diminishing the number of available treatment options by antibiotics. There is a compelling need to establish new antimicrobials that are active against antibiotic-resistant bacteria without contributing to emergent resistance development. Our laboratory focuses on a new molecular design of antimicrobial synthetic polymers with alternative mode of antibacterial action for multiple applications including pharmaceutical agents, antimicrobial coatings on catheters and implants, and dental composite fillings.


To create new antimicrobial materials effective to drug resistant bacteria, our laboratory has developed the molecular mimicry of naturally occurring antimicrobial peptides using synthetic methacrylate polymers. These polymers are designed to mimic the cationic functionality and amphiphilic nature of antimicrobial peptides to act as membrane-active antimicrobial agents. These antimicrobial polymers represent the hallmarks of antimicrobial peptide such as antimicrobial activity against a broad spectrum of bacteria including antibiotic-resistant strains, low propensity for resistance development in bacteria, and no adverse toxicity against host cells.


Metastases are a major cause of death in prostate cancer patients. Metastases are largely the result of the reactivation of disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) which escaped the primary tumor early in disease progression, yet have remained dormant for years. Significantly, DTCs are largely resistant to conventional chemotherapies, which target actively proliferating cells. Accordingly, a new strategy must be developed to target and treat dormant cancer cells. To that end, we design and engineer novel peptide-mimetic polymers targeting cancer cell membranes with an ultimate goal of developing anticancer therapeutics effective in killing dormant cancer cells. We will exploit non-peptide polymer scaffolds to mimic small amphiphilic anticancer peptides (ACPs). ACPs bind to anionic lipids exposed on cancer cell surfaces by electrostatic interaction, imparting cancer-selective toxicity. The bound ACPs disrupt the cell membrane to cause cell death, which is not dependent on cell proliferation. This new strategy can be used in conjunction with conventional therapies, or when conventional therapies fail.


Bacteria proficiently adhere to synthetic surfaces of medical devices or implants, and establish matrix-encased bacterial communities, known as biofilms. This biofilm formation is a concern because the biofilm matrix protects resident bacteria from host-defense mechanisms and antibiotic challenges, resulting in chronic and recurrent bacterial infections. To prevent the biofilm formation, our laboratory has developed versatile polymeric materials for bactericidal or anti-fouling coatings by utilizing a mussel protein mimetic adhesive group or a star-shaped polymer nano-architecture.


In the dental bonding procedure, isolation of the area to be bonded from oral fluids is essential for high bonding quality. However, preventing oral fluid contamination completely under clinical conditions is frequently difficult because of the natural wetness of the oral environment. We have developed a synthetic polymer functionalized with catechol groups as dental adhesives for wet dentin surfaces, potentially eliminating the complications associated with saliva contamination. This synthetic polymer mimics mussel adhesive proteins that enable mussels to anchor to a variety of wet surfaces. We demonstrated that the new polymer combined with an Fe3+ additive improved bond strength of a commercial dental adhesive to artificial saliva contaminated dentin surface.


View the complete listing of publications by Dr. Kuroda


kenichi kuroda

Kenichi Kuroda, PhD
Principal Investigator

Associate Professor of Dentistry; Biologic and Materials Sciences & Prosthodontics, Chemistry, and Macromolecular Science and Engineering Program

Post-doctoral Training in University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (2003-2006)
Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2003)
M.S. in Biological Chemistry from Kyoto University, Japan (1997)
B.S. in Polymer Chemistry from Kyoto University, Japan (1995)


rajani bhat

Rajani Bhat, PhD
Post-Doctoral Researcher

Ph.D in Polymer Chemistry from Rutgers University (2017)
M.S in Organic Chemistry from Ramnarain Ruia College (2010)
B.S in Chemistry from University of Mumbai (2008)


rajani bhat

Valentina Godovikova
Research Lab Specialist Inter


jose stella

Rachel Kitagawa
Biology, Health, and Society, Undergraduate Student


Visiting Scholars:

Aruem Han

Aruem Han
Combined MS/PhD in Dental Biomaterials and Bioengineering from Yonsei University BSPH in Dental Technology from Hyejeon University (2020)


jose stella

Jeongmi Moon
Dental biomaterials and bioengineering Ph.D scholar student
B.S. in Dental Hygiene from Yonsei University, Republic of Korea(2015) Ph.D in Yonsei University, Republic of Korea(2021 - Current)


jose stella

Kyoungjin Seo


jose stella

Young-Bin SEO
Combined MS/PhD in Dental Biomaterials and Bioengineering from Yonsei University College of Dentistry, South Korea
B.S.P.H. in Dental Hygiene from Kyungdong University, South Korea (2019)



Kuroda Lab
University of Michigan School of Dentistry
Room 2223
1011 North University
Ann Arbor 48109, MI

Office Phone: 734-936-1440
Lab Phone: 734-936-4643 Fax: 734-647-2805