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Mineralized Tissue Physiology Program

Contact: Dr. Jason Wan, (301) 594-9898,

Through its Mineralized Tissue Physiology Program, the NIDCR supports basic and translational science research on craniofacial skeletal biology and pathobiology, and pharmacogenetics. The goal of the program is to promote interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to advance the understanding of normal and abnormal processes underlying oral, dental and craniofacial diseases and disorders. In addition, the program encourages research that is responsive to the NIH Common Fund Initiatives.

Craniofacial Skeletal Biology and Pathobiology

NIDCR encourages research in craniofacial skeletal biology including the physiology of tooth, bone, and cartilage and associated disorders and diseases. This part of the program emphasizes signaling networks and pathways that regulate normal cellular functions and activities, and disruptions in these pathways that result in pathogenesis. We welcome genomic, proteomic and systems approaches to investigate these scientific topics. Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Biochemistry, biophysics and physiochemistry of the regulation of biomineralization in enamel, dentin, cementum, and bone
  • Onset and progression of demineralization and remineralization
  • Microcrack propagation and repair 
  • Matrix biology of collagens, non-collagenous proteins, and proteoglycans
  • Dentin-Enamel Junction interface
  • Activities and functions of ameloblasts, odontoblasts, periodontal ligament cells, cementoblasts, gingival fibroblasts and pulp cells
  • Osteoblast activities and bone matrix deposition
  • Osteoclast activities, bone matrix remodeling, and resorption
  • Osteocyte activities, bone homeostasis, microenvironment sensing, and role in paracrine signaling
  • Bone active agents
  • Osseointegration
  • Role of unique cell types localized to alveolar and craniofacial bones
  • Signal transduction related to cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions
  • Orthodontic tooth movement and root resorption 
  • Distraction osteogenesis
  • Chondrocyte activities and cartilage homeostasis
  • Fibrocartilage biology and interaction with other tissues in the temporomandibular joint 
  • Molecular basis of dental fluorosis
  • Molecular mechanisms of action of fluoride on cells and tissues
  •  Animal models for craniofacial skeletal diseases and disorders
  • Biomarkers for the detection, diagnosis, and prognosis of craniofacial skeletal diseases and disorders


NIDCR encourages research to elucidate the genetic basis of heterogeneous responses to drugs used in the treatment of craniofacial and oral diseases and disorders, and the genetic basis of adverse oral reactions to other drug treatments. Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Genomic and proteomic studies of cellular and metabolic pathways of drugs to identify molecular variations that determine heterogeneous responses
  • Genetic polymorphisms of drug transport proteins, receptors, binding proteins, and metabolizing enzymes that alter pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drugs
  • Impact of environmental factors as modifiers of genetic variations
  • Animal models and in vitro assays for the study of variable drug responses
  • Genotypic and phenotypic biomarkers for variable drug responses
  • Biomarkers for the prediction of drug responses, selection of treatment regimens, and prevention of side effects and toxicity
  • Pharmacogenetics of fluoride
  • Pharmacogenetics of bisphosphonates and other anti-resorptives
  • Pharmacogenetics of bone active agents

Funding Opportunity Announcements

NIDCR Small Grant Program for New Investigators (R03), PAR-10-275

This NIDCR Small Grant Program for New Investigators supports basic and clinical research of scientists who are in the early stages of establishing an independent research career in oral, dental, and craniofacial research.  This R03 grant mechanism supports pilot or feasability studies and developmental research projects with the intention of obtaining sufficient preliminary data for a subsequent Investigator-initiated Research Project Grant (R01) application.

Pathophysiology and Clinical Studies of Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (R01), PAR-11-082
Pathophysiology and Clinical Studies of Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (R21), PAR-11-083

The objectives of these funding opportunity announcements are to stimulate research to address gaps in our understanding of how bisphosphonates may interfere with oral mucosal healing and bone repair at the genetic, molecular, cellular, and tissue levels in osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ); as well as the need for studies to identify risk factors for this condition, establish the natural history of the disease, and generate preliminary evidence for its treatment. Results from these studies could present new opportunities for designing prevention and intervention strategies for ONJ and for investigating ONJ associated with other new anti-resorptive drugs. The combined encouragement of pathophysiological and clinical studies underscores the need for translational research on this topic.

NIH-wide Funding Opportunities and Notices (including The NIH Common Fund, opportunities for New Investigators, and Parent Announcements for investigator-initiated applications, e.g., R01, R21, R15, K99/R00) can be found at the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts,

NIDCR information on grants and funding can be located at /GrantsAndFunding.

Additional Information

For further information about the NIDCR Mineralized Tissue Physiology Program, please contact:

Jason Wan​, PhD
Director, Mineralized Tissue Physiology Program
Integrative Biology and Infectious Diseases Branch
Division of Extramural Research
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
6701 Democracy Blvd., Room 627
Bethesda, MD 20892-4878
(Courier please use: MD 20817) 

Telephone: (301) 594-9898
Fax: (301) 480-8319            

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This page last updated: March 03, 2016