Cross section of a mouse incisor with a mutation in the Orai1 gene showing abnormal cracking
Room 916 Dental Center, 421 First Avenue
Rodrigo Lacruz obtained his PhD in 2007 at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He then took a post-doctoral position at the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, University of Southern California School of Dentistry. He obtained a prestigious K99/R00 NIH Award in 2012 and was appointed as an Assistant Professor at the New York University College of Dentistry in 2013 in the Dept. of Molecular Pathobiology. In 2018 he was promoted to Associate Professor and in 2022 he was promoted to full Professor. He is also the co-Director of the Metabolism and Inflammation Research Group.
The Lacruz Laboratory investigates diseases associated with dysregulation of specialized calcium (Ca2+) channels known as the store operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE). This highly selective Ca2+ channels mediate Ca2+influx in multiple cells including immune and exocrine gland cells, and many others. The Lacruz Lab discovered that SOCE is the main Ca2+influx channel in enamel cells. The research focus includes investigating the role of SOCE in Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease affecting salivary glands, and in pain associated with oral cancer. More recently, the lab is investigating salivary gland dysfunction in Down syndrome.