Marianna Bei, DMD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Surgery

Department of Surgery

Harvard Medical School

Assistant Biologist

Massachusetts General Hospital

Marianna is a scientist trained as developmental biologist. Using mouse as her main experimental system and a variety of classic embryological techniques, combined with targeted mutagenesis and molecular biology, her research program is devoted to understanding the molecular mechanisms controlling organ formation in vertebrates and in particular the formation and homeostasis of the skin and its appendages, the biology of stem cells and the pathways mediating scar-less skin wound healing. One of the biggest challenges is to use this information in order to develop new therapeutic strategies, based on biological principles, in order to treat skin diseases, or to regenerate epithelial organs. In that context, Marianna’s group for example using contemporary molecular techniques identified a transcription factor network controlling early tooth morphogenesis, a skin appendage that is affected in most ectodermal skin diseases and how posttranslational modifications provide a unique epigenetic signature that controls the ability of these transcription factors, to determine cell fate. Using genomic techniques her group identified genetic networks controlling hair cycle hoping to identify key molecules that might prevent certain types of alopecia. More recently the group working on a wound regeneration project they identified several ion channels regulating wound healing, and in collaboration with clinical scientists they hope to develop novel strategies to enhance wound closure/regeneration. Marianna’s research program is funded by agencies such as NIH, Department of Defense, Harvard Medical School, National Foundation of Ectodermal Diseases, Harvard Skin Disease Research Center and others. She is also involved in teaching students and postdoctoral fellows, in service and committee activities to the scientific community at a local, national and international level. She is a member of two NIH study section review panels, the NSF Bio Directorate Review Panel and the Medical Research Council Review panel at UK.

Representative publications

Zhao M, Gupta V, Raj L, Roussel M and Bei M.2013. A network of transcription factors operates during early tooth morphogenesis. Mol. Cell Biol., PMCID: PMC3753897.

Saadi I, Das P, Zhao M, Raj L, Ruspita I, Xia Y, Papaioannou VE and Bei M. 2013. Tbx2 and Msx1 antagonistically regulate Bmp4 expression during bud to cap stage transition in tooth development. Development, PMCID: PMC3678339.

Golberg A, Bei M, Sheridan R, Yarmush M. 2013. Regeneration and control of human fibroblast cell density by intermittently delivered pulsed electric fields. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, vol. 110 (6): 1759-1768.

Miletich I, Yu W, Zhang R, Caixeta de Andrade S, Kai K, Ohazama A, Mock OB, Buchner G, Selby J, Webster Z, Bei M, Sharpe PT. 2011. Developmental timing and organ-autonomous regulation of morphogenesis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A 108(48):19270-19275. PMCID: PMC3228462

Bei M. 2009. Molecular genetics of tooth development. Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 19(5):504-510. PMCID: PMC2789315

Bei M. 2009. Molecular genetics of ameloblast cell lineage. J. Exp. Zool. B Mol. Dev. Evol. 312B(5):437-444. PMCID: PMC2737325

Gupta V, Bei M. 2006. Modification of Msx1 by SUMO-1. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 345(1);74-77.

Aberg T, Wang X, Kim J, Yamashiro T, Bei M, Ryoo H, Thesleff I. 2004. Runx2 mediates FGF signaling from epithelium to mesenchyme during tooth morphogenesis. Dev. Biol. 270(1):76-93.

Bei M, Stowell S, Maas R. 2004. Msx2 controls ameloblast terminal differentiation. Dev. Dyn. 231(4):758-765.

Gritli-Linde A., Bei M, Maas R, Zhang XM, Linde A, McMahon AP. 2002. Shh signaling within the dental epithelium is necessary for cell proliferation, growth and polarization. Development 129(23):5323-5337.

Bei M, Peters H, Maas R. 2001. The role of Pax and Msx genes. In: Saunders WB. (ed). Cranio-facial Surgery: A multidisciplinary approach to craniofacial anomalies, pp. 101-112.

Jumlongras D, Bei M, Stimson JM, Wang W, DePalma S, Seidman CE, Felbor U, Maas R, Seidman JG, Olsen BR. 2001. A premature Stop Codon in MSX1 causes Witkop Syndrome. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 69(1):67-74.

Dassule H, Lewis P, Bei M, Maas R, McMahon AP. 2000. Sonic hedgehog regulates growth and morpho- genesis of the tooth. Development 127(22):4775-4785.

Bei M, Kratochwil K, Maas R. 2000. BMP4 rescues a non-cell autonomous function of Msx1 in tooth development. Development 127(21):4711-4718.

Satokata I, Ma L, Ohshima H, Bei M, Woo I, Nishizawa K, Maeda T, Takano Y, Uchiyama M, Heaney S, Peters H, Tang Z, Maxson R, Maas R. 2000. Msx2 deficiency in mice causes pleiotropic defects in bone growth and ectodermal organ formation. Nat. Genet. 24(4):391-395.
Bei, M, Maas R. 1998. FGFs and BMP4 induce distinct Msx1-independent and Msx1-dependent signaling pathways in early tooth development. Development 125(21):4326-4333.

Maas RL, Bei M. 1997. The genetic control of early tooth development. Crit. Rev. Oral Biol. Med. 8(1):4-39

Bei M, Chen Y, Woo I, Satokata I, Maas RL. 1996. Control of murine tooth development by the Msx gene. In: Davidovitch Z. (ed.). The Biological Mechanisms of Tooth Eruption, Resorption and Replacement by Implants. Harvard Society for the Advancement of Orthodontics, pp. 431-439.


Marianna Bei, D.M.D., Ph.D.
Shriners Burns Hospital
51 Blossom Street, Rm. 251
Boston, MA 02114

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Grace McDonald-SmithMarianna Bei, DMD, PhD