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Pamela Yelick, PhD

Tufts University

Pamela Yelick

Biphasic Scaffolds for Alveolar Bone and Tooth Regeneration

Research in Dr. Yelick’s Laboratory works to define effective methods to regenerate bone and tooth structures for craniofacial repair and reconstruction.  Her models include Tissue Engineering approaches that employ novel biocompatible scaffolds seeded with dental progenitor cells, which are uniquely designed to form craniofacial bone and tooth tissues.  Her successful collaborative efforts in this field have resulted in numerous published reports documenting significant progress towards achieving these goals.


Previous studies have shown that tyrosine based E1001-1K scaffolds can promote mineralized tissue formation.  Here we will test whether E1001-1K scaffolds can support the formation of alveolar bone, the specialized type of jaw bone that supports dentition.  Our approach involves seeding E1001-1K scaffolds with cultured dental stem cells (DSCs) derived from extracted human wisdom teeth, followed by developmental in vitro and in vivo characterizations of alveolar bone, dentin, pulp, periodontal ligament, and enamel tissue formation. Our approach is unique in that we use neural crest cell (NCC) derived dental pulp stem cells that naturally form alveolar jaw bone and tooth tissues. In contrast, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), commonly used for craniofacial reconstructions, are derived from the embryonic mesoderm, and do not naturally form alveolar bone, whose specialized architecture can withstand the strong mechanical forces of mastication. The ability to successfully engineer functional, durable alveolar jaw bone would be a significant improvement over current craniofacial repair techniques using bone grafts from non-NCC derived bone (fibula, rib, etc.), which eventually resorb over time.  To date we have performed in vitro characterizations of DSC-seeded E1001-1K scaffolds.  To continue these promising studies, here we propose studies to validate the formation of alveolar jaw bone and tooth tissues in situ, in a rat mandible critical sized defect model. The successful completion of the proposed studies will allow us to move forward to a large animal mandibular defect model, prior to pre-clinical human trials.

Zhang W, Zhang Z, Chen S, Macri L, Kohn J, Yelick PC. Mandibular Jaw Bone Regeneration Using Human Dental Cell-Seeded Tyrosine-Derived Polycarbonate Scaffolds. Tissue Eng Part A. 2016 Jul;22(13-14):985-93. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2016.0166. PMID: 27369635; PMCID: PMC4985268. Full Text 

Cai X, Ten Hoopen S, Zhang W, Yi C, Yang W, Yang F, Jansen JA, Walboomers XF, Yelick PC. Influence of highly porous electrospun PLGA/PCL/nHA fibrous scaffolds on the differentiation of tooth bud cells in vitro. J Biomed Mater Res A. 2017 Sep;105(9):2597-2607. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.36120. Epub 2017 Jun 15. PMID: 28544201; PMCID: PMC5695215. Full Text 


1. AFIRM2 Principle Investigators’ Meeting, January 30-31, 2017, Bethesda MD. Pamela C. Yelick, “Bioengineered Alveolar Bone and Tooth Constructs”

2. TERMIS-AM Meeting, December 11-14, 2016 San Diego, CA”Biomimetic Composite Tooth-Alveolar Bone Constructs”, Zhang, W., Smith, E., Monteiro, N., Khademhosseini, A., Lee, S-J., Yelick, P.C.

3. 2016 New Jersey Symposium on Biomaterials Science, October 24-25, 2016 Iselin, NJ. Pamela C. Yelick, “Regenerating Alveolar Bone and Teeth”

4. 2015 New Jersey Symposium on Biomaterials Science, November 9, 2015, New Brunswick, NJ. Pamela C. Yelick, “Tissue Interactions/tissue Interfaces in Dentistry”

5. TERMIS-WC 2015, September 8-11, 2015 Boston MA. “Alveolar Jaw Bone Formation by Human Dental Pulp Cells and E1001(1k)/b-TCP Scaffolds”. Zhang, W., Zhang, Z., Chen, S., Marci, L., Kohn, J., Yelick, P.C


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