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Faculty headshot of Tracy E. Popowics, PhD

Tracy E. Popowics PhD

UW Oral Health Sciences
Associate Professor

Email: popowics@uw.edu | Phone: 206.221.5350

Our team focusses on regeneration of the periodontal ligament (PDL) that maintains tooth position and provides support during chewing. Our approach is to engineer three-dimensional (3D) periodontal constructs that mimic the native tissue structure and function. Our 3D PDL constructs include cells that are suspended in collagen matrix and recreate the living PDL tissue. Periodontal tissue loss not only includes loss of the ligament, but also the alveolar bone and cementum that anchor the periodontal ligament and hold the tooth in place. This tissue loss may occur to different degrees during an individual’s lifespan due to changes in oral care, periodontal disease, systemic disease or other health problems. This is particularly true for the aged population in which diminished oral care can contribute to persistent and recurring periodontal inflammation and tissue breakdown. Regenerating these three layers is essential to restore the structural and functional integrity of PDL and to prevent tooth loss.