The University of Michigan School of Dentistry
The Simmer Hu laboratory studies tooth development, focusing on the human genetics of developmental anomalies of the dentition and using mouse models to understand how proteins encoded by genes function during normal tooth development and how their mutations lead to failures in such process.
The ultimate goal of our research is to apply scientific discoveries toward devising therapeutic measures for human disorders and diseases involving teeth.
The Simmer Hu lab played important parts in the first cloning of cDNA encoding enamelin (Enam), matrix metallowproteinase 20 (Mmp20) and kallikrein 4 (Klk4), and in the initial discoveries that MMP20, ITGB6 and FAM83H defects cause isolated amelogenesis imperfecta and that defects in FAM20A cause Enamel Renal Syndrome. These studies have greatly advanced our understanding of normal tooth development and associated disorders, leading to improvements in their diagnosis, prognosis and intervention.
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Dr. Simmer is Professor in the Department of Biologic and Material Sciences. He received his DDS degree from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 1980, and received his PhD in Biochemistry from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1990. He also did post-doctoral training with Dr. Hal Slavkin, at the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology in the University of Southern California School of Dentistry in Los Angeles, California. Before coming to Michigan, Dr. Simmer was an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Dr. Simmer possesses excellent research and teaching credentials. His research interests are in the area of tooth development, enamel and dentin formation, biochemistry and molecular biology of amelogenins, and hypophosphatasia and amelogenesis imperfecta.
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Dr. Hu completed her Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree from National Taiwan University in 1985. She earned a specialty certificate in pediatric dentistry and a PhD in craniofacial biology (1990) at the University of Southern California, completed a postdoctoral fellowship in craniofacial molecular biology and held the position of clinical assistant professor. In 1993, she joined the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio where she was promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure in 1999.
Dr. Hu joined the U-M School of Dentistry in 2002 as an associate professor with tenure. In 2005 she was named the director of pediatric dentistry and in 2006 was promoted to full professor. She directs the Oral Health Sciences PhD program since November 2010. Dr. Hu’s research concentrates on tooth development and dental genetics; her clinical research interests focus on pulp biology and therapy.
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