Penn Dental Medicine

Departments & Faculty

Sherrill Adams, MS, PhD

Department of Biochemistry
Director of Faculty Advancement and Diversity


  • Staff Fellow, National Cancer Institute, NIH, 1976-1979
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, NIH, 1975-1976
  • PhD, Genetics, George Washington University, 1975
  • MS, Genetics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1972
  • BS, Biology, George Washington University, 1968


  • Chair, University of Pennsylvania Faculty Senate, 2008-2009
  • Penn Women in Leadership Series Honoree, 2008
  • Robert E. Davies Award for Effecting Social Change, Penn Professional Women’s Network, 2007
  • Vernon J. Brightman Student Research Society Award for support of student research, 2007
  • Member, March of Dimes Research Advisory Committee C, 2007-2013
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 1995-2000, 2007-2012
  • Council Member, American Society for Matrix Biology, 2005-2009
  • HERS/Bryn Mawr Institute for Higher Education Administration, 2003
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Cellular Physiology, 2003-2009
  • Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, 2002
  • Chair, VA Merit Review Subcommittee for General Medical Science, 2002-2003; Member, 2000-2003
  • Chair, SDM Committee for Appointments and Promotions, 2001-2003, Member, 1999-2003, 2006-present
  • Chair, SDM Board of Ethical Relations, 2000-2005
  • Chair, SDM Admissions Policy Committee, 2000-2005, Member, 2005-2007
  • Chair, SDM Faculty Senate, 1997-1999
  • Associate Editor, Matrix Biology, 1996-1998, Editorial Board Member, 1993-1996
  • Cartilage and Osteoarthritis Advisory Group, NIAMS, National Institutes of Health, 1996
  • Member, Pathobiochemistry Study Section, National Institutes of Health, 1992-1996
  • Member of Governing Council, International Society for Matrix Biology, 1993-1999
  • Chair, Gordon Research Conference on Structural Macromolecules: Collagen, 1993

Research Interests

The goal of Dr. Adams’ research is to define the mechanisms by which hormones, growth factors and extracellular matrix proteins regulate skeletal development. Skeletal growth is profoundly affected by thyroid hormones, vitamin A and bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs). There are millions of people in this country with undiagnosed thyroid disease and millions more worldwide with vitamin A deficiency, both resulting in impaired skeletal growth. Furthermore, vitamin A derivatives and BMPs are in widespread clinical use; the impact of their use on skeletal growth is not understood. Dissection of their mechanisms of action will provide insights into the roles these growth factors and hormones play in normal skeletal growth and the mechanisms by which their deficiencies result in short stature. Additional experiments use mice deficient in type III collagen to examine its role in tissue repair, regeneration and maintenance. The expression of this protein increases early in the healing processes of many different tissues, including bone, tendon and skin, suggesting that it is a key mediator of tissue regeneration and providing a potential target for therapeutic intervention for impaired processes of healing. These studies focus on the role of type III collagen in modulation of progenitor cell activity and growth factor availability.

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Sherrill Adams, MS, PhD
The Robert Schattner Center
University of Pennsylvania
School of Dental Medicine
240 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6030