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Elia Beniash PhD

Professor; Chair, Oral and Craniofacial Sciences

Dr. Elia Beniash is a professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine Department of Oral Biology with a joint appointment in Pitt’s Department of Bioengineering. He is a faculty member of the Center for Craniofacial Regeneration (CCR), McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Dr. Beniash serves as a chair of the Oral Biology Graduate Curriculum Committee, is a member of the Research and Faculty Development Committees at the School of Dental Medicine, and serves on the University Senate Budget Committee.

Dr. Beniash holds an MSc in zoology and biology from the St. Petersburg State University in Russia. His PhD in structural biology and chemistry is from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.

Prior to arriving at Pitt in 2007, Dr. Beniash was a staff member at the Forsyth Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, and an instructor at the Harvard University School of Dental Medicine.

Dr. Beniash is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Association of Dental Research (AADR), the International Association of Dental Research (IADR), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Beniash currently serves as President of the IADR/AADR Mineralized Tissues Group.

Scientific interests of Dr. Beniash include biomineralization, the structure/function relationships in supramolecular assemblies, bio-inspired materials, and tissue engineering. Specifically, Dr. Beniash’s research focuses on understanding basic mechanisms of mineralization in biological systems and applying these strategies to the design of new, nanostructured composite materials.

Dr. Beniash’s research program is supported by NIH and NSF.

In addition to being an Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Structural Biology, he is also a reviewer for many scientific journals, including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Materials, Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, Journal of American Chemical Association, Acta Biomaterialia, and Journal of Dental Research.

Education & Training
Saint Petersberg State University, Russia, MSc, 1992
Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, PhD, 1998
Research Interests

Dr. Beniash’s primary research interest is in the area of biomineralization. He is trying to understand basic mechanisms of mineralized tissue formation and more specifically how the protein assemblies control mineral formation and organization at the nanoscale. He applies this knowledge to the design of bioinspired hierarchical nanocomposites for biomedical and other technological applications.

Dr. Beniash's research focuses on:

  • Formation of interfaces between mineralized tissues (dentino-enamel interface)
  • Role of biological macromolecules in the formation of mineralized tissue
  • Role of supramolecular protein assemblies in forming 
  • Role of acidic macromolecules in collagen mineralization
  • Role of the transient amorphous minerals in biomineralization processes


Deborah Haralam