Prof Alastair J Sloan
Telephone:+44 (0)29 2074 6779
Our lab is interested in the biology of mineralised connective tissues, specifically focussing on the regenerative potential of these tissues. We are particularly interested in the signalling processes that initiate and control the repair of the dentine pulp complex in teeth and the effects of the application of members of the TGF-b family and isolated bioactive matrices from dentine and bone on pulpal cell behaviour. We have developed fully characterised 3D organtypic culture systems for dental tissues and bone, providing innovative models for studying the biological behaviour of these tissues over extended periods of time. Our work is also focussed on the functional behaviour of the dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) and how these cells may be manipulated to facilitate dentine and bone regeneration. In particular we are interested in understanding the differentiation potential of these cells in compromised environments, how their behaviour is altered during cell ageing and direct comparative studies with bone marrow stromal cells.
Previous work investigating the expression of the TGF-β receptors and isoforms in dental cells during health and disease provided evidence for the first time that TGF-β receptors were present on odontoblast (dentine forming) cells and that their expression was differentially expressed during disease. Work also demonstrated that TGF-β isoforms showed differential affinity for proteoglycans, influencing their deposition and maintenance of biological activity in dentine. We have also demonstrated that these and other growth factors expressed by odontoblasts during tissue formation and that are sequestered within dentine can be released from the tissue by cavity conditioning agents.
Current research interests are in understanding the dentinogenic and osteoinductive properties of dentine and bone matrices and biological function of DPSCs to facilitate novel tissue engineering methodologies and natural regenerative processes. Specifically:
- Growth factor mediated mineralised tissue regeneration
- Delivery of bioactive matrices for dental tissue regeneration
- The role of dental pulp stem cells in dental tissue regeneration in 2D and 3D culture systems
- Ex vivo modelling of bone regeneration
- Modelling of pulpal infection and delivery of antimictobials for pulpal disease
- Loading of 3D bone cultures and osteoclast responses.
- Novel biomatrices & material directed tissue repair & engineering
- Preventing dental pain, abscess and tooth loss in older adults: development of antimicrobial restorative materials to manage dental disease in older adults (The Dunhill Medical Trust)
- Development of new methodologies for the 3D in vitro study of bone disease. (Dr Hadwen Trust)
- Probing the Mechanical Control of Stem Cell Fate Through The Development of Novel Non-Invasive Imaging Techniques. (EPSRC)
- Harnessing Dental Pulp Stem Cells to Enhance Tissue Regeneration. (MRC)