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 Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology. In 2018 he was promoted to Associate Professor.
The Lacruz Laboratory investigates diseases associated with dysregulation of specialized calcium (Ca2+) channels known as the store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) also known as the Ca2+ release activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels. 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 CRAC channels are the main Ca2+influx channel in enamel cells. Their research investigates intracellular signaling events associated with SOCE including mitochondrial function. While the original research focus was based on enamel studies, we have now expanded the scope of work to include an investigation into the role of SOCE in Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease affecting salivary glands.