Research in my laboratory is primarily focused on biomineralization of extracellular matrices in bones and teeth. We are also investigating the role of extracellular matrix proteins and other mineral-binding proteins in pathologic calcification such as seen in urolithiasis (kidney stones), arthritis, vascular calcification (including atherosclerosis) and skin (dermal) calciphylaxis. We are testing the hypothesis that vertebrate mineralization is an active, biological process that is regulated by control of the phosphate/pyrophosphate balance in extracellular matrices, and by certain extracellular matrix proteins, most notably osteopontin, bone sialoprotein, dentin matrix protein-1, matrix Gla protein and Phex. Regulation of biomineralization by proteins is also being studied in calcium carbonate-containing systems such as the eggshell. To study these issues, a variety of morphological, biochemical, immunochemical, cell biological and molecular techniques are used which include among others: electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, confocal microscopy, immunocytochemistry, in vivo experimentation using normal and transgenic mice, in vitro cell culture and crystal growth systems, and standard biochemical and chemical assays. In other work we are examining extracellular matrix organization and composition at cell-matrix and matrix-matrix interfaces. Related experiments are in progress to design and develop new generation, implantable biomaterials incorporating bioactive organic moieties such as small peptides and/or intact proteins in order to guide and accelerate tissue healing and mineralization at the host-implant interface.
Basis of Medicine - First year Medicine and Dentistry (Histology Coordinator and Lecturer)
Molecular and Cellular Physiology of Bone, Lecturer (PGY552-550A)
Extracellular Matrix Biology, Lecturer (DENT 669A)
Click on the "External link" above to visit the McKee webpage for the Faculty of Dentistry which includes a list of publications and other information.