Since 2001, the Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics (CCDG), directed by Dr. Mary Marazita, has been an active research program within the Department of Oral Biology in the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. Currently, it is responsible for a major portion of all research funding through the school. The research focus of the CCDG is to combine molecular genetic and statistical approaches to identify genes contributing to complex human phenotypes, primarily those increasing risk for craniofacial and dental disorders. Major projects include: 1) investigating genetic contributions to orofacial clefting—with an emphasis on related sub-clinical phenotypes—in families from multiple national and international sites; 2) studying the genetic, microbial, and behavioral risk factors for early childhood caries and other oral health pathologies in Appalachia; and 3) identifying the genetic determinants of normal human facial variation. The CCDG also develops computational methods to improve gene identification efforts, and provides secondary statistical genetic data analysis to collaborators around the world.
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