Research Faculty

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Cynthis Darling, PhD, Associate Professor

Cynthia Lee Darling has been a researcher in the field of biomedical photonics for the past twelve years and has published over 70 papers in this area. The focus of her research program is to incorporate polarimetric imaging techniques to completely describe the interaction of polarized light with dental hard tissues. Students in her research group have been able to investigate: the optical properties of developmental defects in the near-infrared, employed near-infrared imaging to monitor laser ablation through dental enamel in real-time to directly visualize peripheral thermal and mechanical damage, and explored the image contrast of dental caries at other near-infrared wavelengths besides 1300-nm.

 John Featherstone, PhD, Dean and Professor, School of Dentistry

 His research over the past 34 years has covered several aspects of cariology (study of tooth decay) including fluoride mechanisms of action, caries risk  assessment, de- and remineralization of the teeth, apatite chemistry, salivary dysfunction, caries (tooth decay) prevention, and laser effects on dental hard tissues with emphasis on caries prevention and early caries removal. He is currently active in implementing caries management by risk assessment in several dental schools across the nation.


 Daniel Fried, PhD, Professor

Daniel Fried’s group is involved in biophotonics research related to Dentistry.  Projects include:  caries detection with near-IR light, optical coherence tomography, image guided laser ablation of dental caries and spectral guided laser ablation of dental composites.




Stuart Gansky, MS, DrPH, Professor

  My research concentrates on oral health research, health disparities research, applied statistical analyses and related method­ological issues. Balancing these components is essential to successful and practical oral epidemiology research. Methodological examination helps ground health research and build convincing argu­ments, while collaborative health research generates opportunities for innovative statistical practice and provides challenges for developing ways to solve real world problems.


  Stefan Habelitz, PhD, Associate Professor

 Recombinant Amelogenin Matrices for Apatite Nanofibers






  Sunita Ho, MS, PhD, Associate Professor

 My laboratory is within the Division of Biomaterials and Bioengineering and has a strong focus on mechanics, materials, and investigating adaptation  of   tissues/interfaces through spatiotemporal mapping of “mechano-responsiveness”. This is done by identifying mechanical strain induced biochemical signals at  soft-hard tissue interfaces using several model systems including the bone-ligament-tooth fibrous joint. Spatiotemopral mapping of biochemical expressions, physicochemical properties of load bearing tissues, and biomechanics of organs is performed at UCSF, and as a guest scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Lab, and Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, CA.

 Tri Huynh, DDS, PhD, Associate Professor

  • Immune Cell Apoptosis Induces

  Grayson Marshall, JR, DDS, PhD, MPH, Division Chair and Distinguished Professor Emeritus

 Our research group studies structure-mechanical property relationships of calcified tissues (bone, cementum, dentin, enamel). The main functions of these biological materials are mechanical, but much work is needed to understand how their unique and versatile properties are derived based on combinations of protein and mineral. We seek insight into biomineralization processes associated with these tissues during development, alterations resulting from disease, or repair and regeneration from clinical treatments. We also focus on natural interfaces between various calcified tissues and artificial interfaces between the tissues and artificial materials, e.g., dental restorations, implants, bioactive substrates. We use a wide variety of approaches including atomic force microscopy (AFM; and AFM-based nano-indentation) as well as other high resolution imaging methods and participate in wide ranging collaborations in the Bay Area. This work helps define alteration in properties and structure with hydration state, mineral level, and variations induced by disease and physiological processes. This information is needed to develop a composite structural model of calcified tissues and can assist in the development of bioinspired materials and tissue engineering.

 Sally Marshall, PhD, Vice Provost Emerita & Distinguished Professor Emerita

  Lilliam Pinzon, DDS, MS, MPH, Assistant Professor

 Dr. Pinzón’s work in clinical translational research focuses on pediatrics, public health, and dental materials in order to improve oral health for underserved populations. She is currently the recipient of a National Institute of Health/National Institute of Dental Cranio-facial Research (NIH/NIDCR) K23 grant that allows her to work with community clinics that treat underserved pediatric populations (i.e., Latino, African American, and Asian). Dr. Pinzón is also an Assistant Professor in the Preventive & Restorative Dental Science (PRDS) Department at UCSF’s School of Dentistry (SOD). She currently devotes 75% of her time to research, while supervising trainees and staff in her clinical translational group and engaging in teaching activities at SOD the other 25% of her time.

Octavia Plesh, DDS, MS, Professor

  • TMJMD Pain and Comorbid Conditions in the NHIS: Gender, Race and Age effect

Peter Rechmann, DMD, PhD, Professor

  • California Dental Assoc Fd (CDA) - Caries Management by Risk Assessment Practice-Based Research Network

Kuniko Saeki, DDS, PhD, Associate Professor

  • Sun Medical - Characterization of self-adhesive resin composite

  Ram Vaderhobli, BDS, MS, Associate Professor

    Laser Research



  Ling Zhan, DDS, PhD, Assistant Professor

    CTSI (SOS) - Caries Management by Risk Assessment in Children

    Effect and Mechanism of Xylitol on Cariogenic Bacteria in Children