We study healing to better understand diseases

The Wietecha Lab is part of the Department of Oral Biology at the UIC College of Dentistry.

In our lab we are fascinated by the complexity of wound healing, an evolutionarily optimized program for efficient repair of damaged tissue involving dozens of cell types and thousands of molecules interacting across time and space. Healing programs become dysregulated in many diseases, and cancer has been described as an overhealing wound

Only in recent years has it become possible to more fully appreciate the symphony of healing and its dysregulation in diseases by emerging multi-omic tools such as single cell and spatial transcriptomics. Our research combines these multi-omics technologies and powerful tissue imaging methods in animal and cell models of healing and carcinogenesis with classic molecular biology tools, providing the perfect training for dental students, graduate students and post-docs interested in systems and molecular biology.  

The overarching goal of our research is to begin to figure out why oral tumors are so much more aggressive than their much-more-common counterparts in the skin. Our hypothesis is that the superior healing potential of oral mucosa plays a critical role.