Katherine Neiswanger MA PhD

Research Associate Professor, Department of Oral Biology

Dr. Neiswanger has been at the University of Pittsburgh since 1987, first at The Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and then, beginning in 1998, in Oral Biology Department of the School of Dental Medicine.  She obtained her Master’s and Ph.D. in Anthropology from UCLA, where she collected DNA samples from numerous primate species, in order to study the molecular evolution of the insulin gene in apes and humans. After a post-doc in molecular biology at Mayo Clinic, she joined the faculty at Pitt, with the aim of identifying genes for psychiatric illnesses, including early onset depression and alcoholism. In the Dental School, she became part of  Dr. Marazita’s research team at the Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics, turning her expertise in the genetics of complex disease to oral health problems such as nonsyndromic oral clefting and caries.  During her time in the Department of Oral Biology, she obtained a clinical certificate as a PhD Medical Geneticist, and spent three years providing genetic counseling in the Clefting Clinic at Children’s Hospital. She also taught genetics to the first year medical and dental students. Currently she serves as the Program Manager for the COHRA2 research project, which is collecting longitudinal oral health data on women and their babies from age 0 – 6, so that the factors contributing to high rates of cavities can be determined. 


  • Oberlin College, BA, 1974
  • University of California, Los Angeles, PhD 1985
  • Mayo Clinic, Post-Doc Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 1985-1987
  • University of Pittsburgh, Clinical Fellowship 2000-2002
  • A.B.M.G., PhD 2002 - 2012

Selected Publications


Research Projects