Rodrigo Lacruz

Assistant Professor Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology Department NYU College of Dentistry


Ph.D. 2007, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa M.Sc. 2002, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa



Tel: (212)998-9433

Overview of Research

My main research interest is to understand the processes associated with the development of mineralized tissues, teeth and bone. My research combines molecular-cell biology and histological procedures to identify growth processes. I am particularly interested in enamel development of early hominins. More recently I have focused my work on evolutionary/developmental changes of the hominin face by identifying changes in growth remodeling (bone deposition vs bone resorption) patterns in various hominin species. I have also set up a molecular biology/physiology laboratory at the NYU Dental College to investigate calcium transport by enamel cells (ameloblasts) during development. This project is largely funded by a 5-year grant from the National Institutes of Health.


2013: Lacruz RS, Bermudez de Castro JM, Martinon-Torres M, O’Higgins P, Carbonells E, Arsuaga JM, Bromage TG. “Facial morphogenesis of the earliest Europeans”. PloS ONE. Jun 6;8(6):e65199.


2013: Lacruz RS, Smith CE, Kurtz I, Hubbard MJ, Paine ML. “New paradigms on the transport function of maturation stage ameloblasts”. Critical Reviews of Oral Biology and Medicine. Journal of Dental Research, vol 92: 122-129.


2012: Lacruz RS, Ramirez-Rozzi FV, Wood BA, Bromage TG. “Cusp and crown areas in early Australopithecus”. American Journal of Physical Anthropology: Brief Comm., vol 148: 632-640.


2012: Hu P, Lacruz RS, Paine ML. “Ameloblast-derived NCKX4 is upregulated during enamel maturation”. Cells Tissues and Organs, vol 196: 501- 509.


2012 :Lacruz RS, Hacia JG, Bromage TG, Boyde A, Paine ML, Snead ML. “The circadian clock modulates enamel development”. Journal of Biological Rhythms 27: 237-245.


2012: Bromage TG, Hogg RT, Lacruz RS, Hou C. “Primate enamel evinces long period biological timing and regulation of life history”.  Journal of Theoretical Biology 35: 131-144.


2012 :Lacruz RS, Nakayama Y, Holcroft J, Nguyen V, White SN, ML Paine, Ganss B. “Overexpression of amelotin in vivo: Dose-dependent effects on enamel structure and mechanical properties". PLoS ONE 7(4):e35200.


2012:  Lacruz RS, Smith CE, Moffatt P, Chang, EH, Bromage TG, Bringas P, Nanci A,

Baniwal SK, Zabner J, Welsh MJ, Kurtz, I, Paine ML. "Requierements for ion and solute transport, and pH regulation during enamel maturation ». Journal of Cellular Physiology 227: 1776-1785.


2012: Lacruz  RS, Smith CE, Hubbard MJ, Bringas P Jr, Chen, Y, Kurtz I, Snead ML, Paine ML. "Identification of novel candidate genes involved in mineralization of dental enamel by genome-wide transcript profiling”. Journal of Cellular Physiology 227: 2264-2275.


2011 : Kuhn BF, Werdelin L, Harstone-Rose A, Lacruz RS, Berger LR. « Carnivoran remains from the Malapa hominin site, South Africa ». PLoS ONE 6 : e26940.


2011 : Huang Z, Kim J, Lacruz RS, Bringas Jr P, Glogauer M, Bromage TG, Kaartinen VM, Snead ML. « Epithelial-specific knockout Rac1 gene leads to enamel defects ». European Journal of Oral Sciences. Proceedings of the Enamel VIII conference. 119, Suppl 1: 168-176.


2011: Snead CM, Smith SM, Sadeghein N, Lacruz RS, Hu P, Paine ML. Identification of a pH-responsive DNA region upstream of the transcription start site of human NBCe1-B. European Journal of Oral Sciences. Proceedings of the Enamel VIII conference. 119, Suppl 1:136-141.


2011: Lacruz RS, Smith CE, Smith S, Bringas P, Ping H, Moradian-Oldak J, Paine ML. "Caldecrin: a novel serine protease associated with enamel development". Journal of Dental Research 90 : 1228-1233.


2011 :Lacruz RS, Smith CE, Chen Y, Hubbard MJ, Paine ML. "Early and Late Maturation Stage Amelogenesis: Differences in Gene Expression”. European Journal of Oral Sciences. Proceedings of the Enamel VIII conference. 119, Suppl 1:148-157.


2011: Chang EH, Lacruz RS, Bromage TG, Bringas P Jr, Welsh MJ, Zabner J, Paine ML. "Enamel Pathology Resulting From Loss Of Function In The Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator in a Porcine Animal Model". Cells Tissues and Organs. DOI: 10.1159/000324248


2011:Lacruz RS,Lakshminarayanan R, Bromley K, Hacia J, Snead ML, Moradian-Oldak J, Paine ML. “Structural Analysis of a Repetitive Protein Sequence Motif in Strepsirrhine Primate Amelogenin". PLoS ONE 6(3): e18028.


2010:LacruzRS, Nanci A,White SN, Wen X, Wang HJ, Zalzal SF, Luong VQ, Schuetter V, Conti PS, Paine ML.“The sodium bicarbonate contransporter (NBCe1) is essential for the normal development of mouse dentition". Journal of Biological Chemistry 285:24432-24438.


2010: Lacruz RS, Nanci A, Hilvo M, Wang HJ, Kurtz I, Paine ML. “A survey of carbonic anhydrases mRNA expression in enamel cells”. Biochemical Biophysical Research Communications 393: 883- 887.


 2010: Lacruz RS, Ramirez-Rozzi FV.“Molar crown development in Australopithecus afarensis”. Journal of Human Evolution 58: 210-206.


2010:Lacruz RS, Nanci A, Wright JT, Kurtz I, Paine ML. “Regulation of pH during amelogenesis”. Calcified Tissue International  86: 91-103.


2009: RJ Rauth, KS Potter, AY-W Ngan, D Saad, R Mehr, V Luong, V Schuetter, V Miklus, Chang P-P, ML Paine, RS Lacruz, MLSnead, SN White. Tooth Enamel: Genes to Function.

Journal of California Dental Association 37 (12): 863-868.


2009:Lacruz RS. “New Panthera leo (Mammalia, Felidae) remains from the Gladysvale Cave, South Africa”.  Annals of the Transvaal Museum 46: 121-124.


2009:Bromage TG, Lacruz RS, Hogg R, Goldman HM, McFarlin SC, Warshaw J, Dirks W, Perez Ochoa A, Smolyar I, Enlow DH, Boyde A.“Lamellar bone is an incremental tissue reconciling enamel rhythms, body size, and organismal life history”. Calcified Tissue International  84: 338- 404.  


2008:Lacruz RS, Dean MC, Ramirez-Rozzi FV, Bromage TG.“Megadontia, patterns of enamel secretion, and striae periodicity in Plio-Pleistocene fossil hominins”. Journal of Anatomy 213: 148- 158.


2008: Gommery D, Senegas F, Thackeray JF, Potze S, Kgasi L, Claude J and Lacruz RS. Plio-Pleistocene fossils from Femur Dump, Bolt’s Farm, Cradle of Humankind World heritage Site. Annals of the Transvaal Museum 45: 67-76.


2007:Lacruz RS. “Enamel microstructure of the hominid KB 5223 from Kromdraai”.

American Journal of Physical Anthropology 132:175- 182.


2006: Lacruz RS, Ramirez Rozzi FV, Bromage TG.Variation in Enamel Development of South African Fossil Hominids”. Journal of Human Evolution  51: 580- 590.


2006:LacruzRS, Bromage TG.Appositional enamel growth in molars of South African fossil hominids”. Journal of Anatomy  209: 13- 20.


2006:Lacruz RS, Turner Alan, Berger LR.“New remains of Dinofelis(Mammalia: Felidae) from South African cave sites and taxonomic revision of the genus in southern Africa”. Annals of the Transvaal Museum, Pretoria. Vol 43:89- 106.


2006:Hall G, Pickering R, Lacruz RS, Berger L R, Hancox J and Schmid P.“An Acheulean hand axe from the Gladysvale Cave Site in the Witwatersrand region of South Africa”. South African Journal of Science 102: 103- 105


2005: Lacruz RS; Ramirez Rozzi F, Bromage TG.“Linear enamel hypoplasia, weaning, and age at death in the Taung child”. South African Journal of Science 101: 567- 569


2005:LacruzRS, Maude G.“Bone accumulations at brown hyena (Parahyaena brunnea) den sites in the Makgadikgadi Pans, northern Botswana: Taphonomic, behavioural and palaeoecological implications”. Journal of Taphonomy, vol 3 (1): 43- 54.


2003: Berger LR, Lacruz RS.“Preliminary Report on the First Excavations at the New Fossil Site of Motsetse, Gauteng, South Africa”. South African Journal of Science  99: 279- 281.


2003: Lacruz RS, Ungar P, Hancox J, Brink J, Berger LR. “Gladysvale: Fossils, Strata and GIS analysis”. South African Journal of Science  99: 286- 288.


2002:Berger LR, Lacruz RS, de Ruiter DJ.“Revised age estimates of Australopithecus bearing deposits at Sterkfontein, South Africa”. American Journal of Physical Anthropology  119: 192-197.


2002: Lacruz RS, Brink J, Hancox J, Skinner A R, Herries A, Schmid P, Berger LR.“Palaeontology and Geological Context of a Middle Pleistocene Faunal Assemblage from the Gladysvale Cave, South Africa”. Palaeontologia Africana  38: 99-114.



Book chapters:

2010: Shapiro JL, Lacruz RS, Brookes SJ, Lyngstadaas P, Snead ML, Paine ML “The potential role of adaptor protein complex-3 (AP-3) in amelogenesis. In (M. Goldberg, Ed) Amelogenins: Multifaceted proteins for dental and bone formation repair. pp: 56- 63.


2010: Snead ML, Huang Z, Newcomb CJ, Paine ML, White SN, Xu Y, Zhou Y, Lacruz RS, Stupp SI. "Signaling effect of leucine-rich amelogenin peptide (LRAP) on bone regeneration. In (M. Goldberg, Ed) Amelogenins: Multifaceted proteins for dental and bone formation repair. pp: 191- 207.


2007:Ramirez Rozzi FV, Lacruz RS.“Histological study of an upper incisor and molar of a Bonobo (Pan paniscus) individual” In (S. Bailey & JJ. Hublin, Eds)  Dental Palaeoanthropology, Springer, Berlin. Pp: 161-174.


2007:Bromage TG,Lacruz RS, Perez-Ochoa A, Boyde A.“Portable confocal scanning optical microscopy of Australopithecus africanus enamel microstructure” In (S. Bailey & JJ. Hublin, Eds)  Dental Palaeoanthropology, Springer, Berlin. Pp: 193- 209.