Peter Gakunga, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director
Orthodontics Internship Program
Dr. Peter Gakunga is an associate professor in the Department of Orthodontics. He is a clinician/scientist with specialized training in orthodontics, as well as doctoral and postdoctoral training in oral biology and craniofacial growth and development.
Dr. Gakunga is a graduate of the Dental School, University of Nairobi, Kenya. He is also a graduate of UT Health San Antonio Orthodontic Residency Program. He obtained his basic science graduate training at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, San Francisco. He was a National Institutes of Health fellow at Baylor College of Dentistry.
Dr. Gakunga's research is focused on deciphering the molecules that control growth in the cranial base synchondroses. This work uses the mouse model, as well as a novel cranial base organ culture system. The current phase of this study is designed to decipher the role played by a potent growth factor, TGF-b1, in mediating the exquisitely controlled changes that are the hallmark of craniofacial synchondrosal growth. This work has potential for furthering our understanding of craniofacial growth and development, including the modulation of orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic forces. It also has the potential of providing an effective screening method for some craniofacial congenital disorders.
- 2003 - Residency - Orthodontics - University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
- 2000 - Postdoctoral Fellowship - Biomedical Sciences - Baylor College of Dentistry
- 1997 - PhD - Oral Biology - University of California, San Francisco
- 1990 - MS - Oral Biology - University of California, Los Angeles
- 1985 - BDS - Dentistry - University of Nairobi
- 8/2017 - Associate Professor and Graduate Faculty-Graduate Program in Translational Science - University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
- 8/2015 - Graduate Faculty-Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences - University of Texas Health Science Center at San AntonioSan Antonio
- 8/2014 - Associate Professor with Tenure and Director, Internship Program in Orthodontics - University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Developmental Dentistry, San Antonio
Instruction & Training
- 8/2018 - Present, Membership on Supervising Committee, Dental School, UTHSCSA
- 9/2017 - Present, Craniofacial Complex, The University of Texas Health Science Center
- 8/2017 - Present, Ph.D. Dissertations Directed, Dental School, UTHSCSA
- 8/2017 - Present, The Children?s Hospital of San Antonio Craniofacial Center
- 8/2017 - Present, Pediatric Dentistry II, The University of Texas Health Science Center
- 8/2017 - Present, Foundation of tooth Development, Oral Health and Dental Disease, The University of Texas Health Science Center
- 8/2016 - Present, MSDS 5020 Biomedical Core Course
- 8/2016 - Present, INTD 6098 Research 4
- 8/2016 - Present, INTD 6058 Research 3
- 8/2016 - Present, INTD 6357 Research 2
- 8/2016 - Present, INTD 5357 Research 1
- 8/2016 - Present, MSDS 5021 Biomedical Core Course-Orofacial Pain Module
- 2/2016 - Present, ORTH 5028 ABO Literature Review
- 1/2016 - Present, Intern Supervision
- 8/2015 - Present, Dental School, UTHSCSA
- 8/2014 - Present, ORTH 5020 Clinical Orthodontics
- 8/2014 - Present, ORTH 5090 Graduate Research Methodologies
- 8/2014 - Present, ORTH 5013 Orthodontic Treatment Planning
- 9/2012 - Present, ORT 203 Craniofacial Anomalies Team
- 9/2011 - Present, SELC 7122
- 7/2011 - Present, ORT 352 Current Literature Review
- 7/2010 - Present, Post-Doctoral Student Supervision, UTHSCSA
- 9/2009 - Present, Membership on Supervising Committee, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences UTHSCSA/UTSA
- 10/2005 - Present, High School/Junior High School Student Supervision, Northside Independent School District
- 8/2005 - Present, INTD 5021 Craniofacial Growth and Development-Biomedical Core Course
- 8/2004 - Present, Orthodontics I, The University of Texas Health Science Center
- 5/2003 - Present, Introduction to Orthodontics for Dental Hygiene Students
- 9/2002 - Present, Preclin Orthodontic Techniques, The University of Texas Health Science Center
- 8/2002 - Present, Orthodontics, The University of Texas Health Science Center
- 1/2002 - Present, Orthodontics Lecture, The University of Texas Health Science Center
- 8/2001 - Present, ORTH 5030 Case Analysis Seminars
Research & Grants
National Institute of Justice
Investigation of subadult dental age-at-death estimation using transition analysis and machine learning methods
1/2019 - 12/2020
The purpose of this research is to address the gap in best practice when estimating age in subadult skeletal remains by providing a more accurate age estimation method that captures movement along the age trajectory through the use of more contemporary samples placed within a framework based on transition analysis. With the application of advanced statistics to adult aging methods, researchers have found transition analysis (TA) to be more reliable in estimating age. This method provides point estimates and error ranges, and each estimate is unique for each individual as it depends on the particular combination of features that are present.
Brown, A. Chedjieu, I. Mensinkai, P.K. Gakunga, P.T. Hatch, J. Amaechi, B.T. Durability of products for prevention of demineralization around orthodontic brackets; 2011 Jan. (Journal of Dental Research; vol. 90, no. B).
Najibfard, I. Chedjieu, I. Gakunga, P.T Amaechi B.T. Do products preventing demineralization around brackets affect adhesive bond strength?; 2011 Jan. (Journal of Dental Research; vol. 90, no. B).
Kartaltepe, C, Rugh JD, Hatch JP, Gakunga PT, Dolce, C, Van Sickels, J. Long-Term Dental Health After Bilateral Sagittal Split Osteotomy; 2010 Mar. (American Assn. Dental Research Annual Meeting #1440).
Patel, A.R, Mugisa, I.S, Gakunga PT, Hatch JP, Amaechi BT. Light-cured filled sealant prevented enamel demineralization around orthodontic brackets; 2008 Jan. (Journal of Dental Research; vol. 87, no. A).
Nguyen, B.T. Gakunga, P.T. BMP regulates endochondral growth in the cranial base synchondroses; 2008 Jan. (Journal of Dental Research; vol. 87, no. A).
Gakunga PT, Horn D, Rugh JD, Riley DJ, Chen Y, Abboud SL. Nek 1 deficiency in mice impairs cranial base synchondrosis growth; 2007 Jan. (Journal of Dental Research; vol. 86, no. A).
M. Nomura, E. Motegi, J. Hatch, P.T. Gakunga, J.D. Rugh, H. Yamaguchi. Esthetic Profile Study of Caucasian, Japanese and African Patients; 2006 Jan. (Journal of Dental Research; vol. 85, no. A).
Park, J.H. Gakunga, P.T. Amaechi, B.T. Influence of Self-ligating Orthodontic Brackets on Plaque Accumulation in vitro; 2006 Jan. (Journal of Dental Research; vol. 85, no. A).
Nomura, M. Motegi, E Hatch, J.P. Gakunga, P.T. Koizumi, Y. Fuma, A. Sakurai, Y. Nganga, P.M. Rugh, J.D. Yamaguchi, H. Esthetic preferences of Caucasian, Hispanic, Japanese and African judges; 2006 Jan. (Journal of Dental Research; vol. 85, no. A).
Gakunga P, Talwar, R, Carlson, D, Wong, B, Harper, R. Estrogen causes increased TGF-Beta and enhanced mineralization of condylar cartilage; 1999 Jan. (Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery; vol. 57, no. 8).
Gakunga P, Opperman, L. Hyaluronan in cranial base synchondrosal growth; 1999 Jan. (Journal of Dental Research; vol. 77, no. B).
Adeyinka F Dayo, Bennett T Amaechi, Marcel Noujeim, Thomas Deahl, Peter Gakunga, Rujuta Katkar. Comparison of photothermal radiometry and modulated luminescence, intraoral radiography, and cone beam computed tomography for detection of natural caries under restorations Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology 2019 Sep;.
Bennett Tochukwu Amaechi, Meredith C. Key, Sabarathnam Balu, Linda Ogechukwu Okoye, and Peter Thiuri Gakunga. Evaluation of the caries-preventive effect of toothpaste containing surface prereacted glass-ionomer filler, Journal of Investigative and Clinical Dentistry 2017 Nov;8(4).
Gaurang Chaudhary, Gianina Mattevi, Gakunga PT. Comparison of shear bond strength of four types of orthodontic brackets with different base technologies APOS Trends in Orthodontics 2017 Nov;1(6).
Bennett Tochukwu Amaechi Meredith C. Key Sabarathnam Balu Linda Ogechukwu Okoye Peter Thiuri Gakunga. Evaluation of the caries‐preventive effect of toothpaste containing surface prereacted glass‐ionomer filler Journal of Investigative and clinical Dentistry 2016 Dec;08(04).
Park JH, Gakunga PT, Vishwanat L, Amaechi BT. Influence of Ligation Methods on Plaque Accumulation and White Spots Formation around Orthodontic Brackets Journal of Dentistry, Oral Disorders 2014 Feb;2(1).
Panda SP, Guntur AR, Polusani SR, Fajardo RJ, Gakunga PT, Roman LJ, Masters BS. Conditional deletion of cytochrome P450 Reductase in osteoprogenitor cells affects long bone and skull development in mice recapitulating Antley-Bixler Syndrome: Role of a redox enzyme in development PLoS ONE 2013 Sep;8(9):1-14.
Nummikoski PV, Dove SB, Gakunga PT, Hatch JP, Noujeim M. JPEG2000 compression on landmark identification of lateral cephalometric digital radiographs American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics 2009 May;138(4).
Nomura M, Motegi E, Hatch JP, Gakunga PT, Ng'ang'a PM, Rugh JD, Yamaguchi H. Esthetic preferences of European American, Hispanic American, Japanese, and African judges for soft-tissue profiles American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics 2009 Apr;135(4 Sup):87-95.
Jackson A, Lemke RR, Hatch JP, Salome N, Gakunga PT, Cochran DL. A comparison of stability between delayed versus immediately loaded orthodontic palatal implants Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry 2008 Mar;20(3):174-184.
Opperman LA, Adab K, Gakunga PT. Transforming growth factor-beta 2 and TGF-beta 3 regulate fetal rat cranial suture morphogenesis by regulating rates of cell proliferation and apoptosis Developmental Dynamics 2000 Oct;219(2):237-247.
Gakunga PT, Frost G., Shuster S., Cunha G, Stern R. Hyaluronan is a prerequisite for ductal branching morphogenesis Development 1997 Jan;124:3987-3997.
Dixon AD, Gakunga PT. Morphometric changes in growth of the rat pelvis after papain administration Anatomical Record 1993 Feb;235(2):312-318.
Gakunga PT, Dixon, A.D. Morphometric changes in growth of the rat pelvis after papain administration Anatomical Record 1993 Jan;235:312-318.
Murad Alrashdi, Gakunga PT. Nonnutritive Sucking Habit Has an Unfavorable Effect on Dental And Facial Development UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT3311 2018 Mar;.
Delaram Mostafavi, Gakunga PT. Lingual Appliances Are Associated with an Increase in Oral Discomfort and Eating Difficulties UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT3239 2017 Apr;.
Lynn Xie, Gakunga PT. Patient Compliance and Satisfaction Is Greater with Vacuum Formed Retainers (VFR) Than With Hawley Retainers for 2 Years Following Completion of Orthodontic Therapy UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT3243 2017 Apr;.
Andrew Daniel, Gakunga PT. ncreased Interincisal Angle in Orthodontic Extraction Cases Treated With Lingual Appliances UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT3233 2017 Apr;.
Suzzane Horani, Gakunga PT. Poorly Controlled Diabetes Mellitus Compromises Bone Response to Orthodontic Forces in Comparison to Well-controlled Diabetic and Monodiabetic Patients UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT3091 2017 Mar;.
ahmoud Irannezhad, Gakunga PT. Patients With Posterior Cross-Bite Have Significantly Reduced Maximum Bite Force, Contact Area, Food Intake Ability, And Mixing Ability Incidence UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT3178 2017 Mar;.
Kathryn Wynne, Gakunga PT. Application of Chlorhexidine Varnish Decreases Incidence of Caries During Orthodontic Treatment UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT3172 2017 Mar;.
Samantha Sackos, Gakunga PT. Prophylactic Extraction of Deciduous Maxillary Canines May Be an Effective Interceptive Treatment Option for Successful Eruption of Palatally Displaced Maxillary Permanent Canines UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT3191 2017 Mar;.
Reuel McIntyre, Gakunga PT. Clear Aligners are Effective in Controlling Some Orthodontic Tooth Movement UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT3078 2016 Mar;.
Keri Keller, Gakunga PT. Orthodontic Treatment of Class II Malocclusion During Early Childhood Does Not Produce Better Clinical Outcomes, Compared to Treatment During Adolescence UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT3021 2016 Mar;.
Gakunga PT. Using Fluoride Containing Adhesives for Bonding Orthodontic Appliances Reduces Loss of Minerals in the Enamel Adjacent to the Appliances UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT3011 2016 Mar;.
Wendi Parks, Gakunga PT. Accelerated Osteogenic Orthodontics Treatment Does Not Result In Significantly Different Density Of The Periodontium Compared To Conventional Orthodontics UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT3008 2016 Mar;.
Reuel McIntyre, Gakunga PT. No Significant Differences in Long-Term Periodontal Health Status of Adults Who Have Undergone Orthodontic Treatment During Adolescence Versus Those Who Have Not UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT2898 2016 Mar;.
Khaled AlSharif, Gakunga PT. Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) Increases The Rate of Orthodontic Tooth Movement in Rats UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT2931 2016 Mar;.
Suzette D. Laing, Gakunga PT. Adenoidectomy and/or Tonsillectomy has a Beneficial Role on Occlusion of Permanent Dentition in Preadolescent Children with Hypertrophic Adenoids and/or Tonsils UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT2895 2015 Apr;.
Kristin Saunders, Gakunga PT. Maxillary Bone Anchored Maxillary Protraction Achieves Greater Maxillary Advancement Compared to Facemask/RME Therapy UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT2791 2014 Nov;.
Mylinh Duong, Gakunga PT. No Significant Difference in Relapse of Anterior Crowding in Class I and Class II Malocclusions Treated with or without Premolar Extractions and Retained with Hawley Retainers UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT2706 2014 Apr;.
Charles A. Reyes, Gakunga PT. Extraction of Mandibular Third Molars Does Not Minimize Lower Arch Crowding UTHSCSA CATs Library UTCAT2652 2014 Mar;.