Rena D'Souza

Professor of Dentistry and Adjunct Professor of Neurobiology & Anatomy
and of Pathology and of Surgery and of Bioengineering


D.D.S. University of Bombay

M.S. University of Texas, Health Sciences Center at Houston

Ph.D. University of Texas, Health Sciences Center at Houston



Rena D'Souza's Lab Page

Rena D'Souza's PubMed Literature Search

Molecular Biology Program

Developmental Biology, Craniofacial Development and Genetics, Matrix Biology, Biomaterials, Tissue Engineering, Stem Cells


Major Research Interests

Developmental Biology and Genetics 

  • Craniofacial development and genetics with emphasis on the role of transcription factors in regulating epithelial-mesenchymal interactions during tooth and palate morphogenesis.
  • Identification of novel genes and/or mutations responsible for human syndromic and non-syndromic tooth agenesis and elucidation of how aberrations in gene function contribute to the failure of tooth development.
  • Development and testing of novel small-molecule replacement therapies for the reversal/cure of craniofacial defects that arise from single-gene disorders.

Matrix Biology

  • Characterization of extracellular matrix proteins of dentin, bone and cartilage during embryogenesis and postnatal life. Phenotypic analysis of mouse mutant strains that harbor mutations in these structural matrix genes.

Biomaterials, Tissue Engineering, Stem Cells

  • Biomimetic and nanostructured tissue engineering approaches for dental tissue-specific regeneration. Handling and characterization of dental stem cells in novel scaffolds (multi domain peptide hydrogels) and complex microenvironments.

Clinical Research

  • Design of Phase 1 and 2 Trials for testing safety and efficacy of biologically-derived scaffolds for tissue regeneration and agonist therapies for the correction of craniofacial defects
  • Precision approaches for the correction of single gene disorders of the craniofacial complex using small molecule approaches (large animal and human studies)


  1. D’Souza RN*, Ǻberg T, Gaikwad J, Cavender A, Owen M, Karsenty G and Thesleff I. Cbfa1 is required for epithelial-mesenchymal interactions regulating tooth development in mice. Development 126(13): 2911-2920, 1999. PMID: 10357935
  2. Stockton DW, Das P, Goldenberg M, D’Souza RN* and Patel PI*. Mutation of PAX9 is associated with oligodontia. Nature Genetics 24(1):18-19, 2000 (*Equal Corresponding Authors).  PMID: 10615120
  3. Galler KM, Cavender A, Yuwono V, Dong H, Shi S, Schmalz G, Hartgerink JD, and D'Souza RN.Self-assembling peptide amphiphile nanofibers as a scaffold for dental stem cells.  Tissue Eng Part A. 14(12):2051-2058, 2008.  PMID: 18636949 (Among the Top 10 most Cited).
  4. Jia S, Zhou J, Fanelli C, Wee Y, Bonds J, Schneider P, Mues G and D’Souza RN. Small-molecule Wnt agonists correct cleft palates in Pax9 mutant mice in-utero. Development . 144:3819-3828, 2017. PMID: 28893947

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Last Updated: 6/11/19