Researchers Awarded $1.7 Million to Study the Genetics of Human Facial Features

Weinberg and Schaffer in black and white

Seth Weinberg, an associate professor in the Department of Oral Biology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, and John Shaffer, assistant professor in the Department of Human Genetics at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health received a grant award of $1.7 million from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) for their project, “The Genetic Architecture of Human Facial Morphology.” This multi-institutional project also involves investigators at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium) and Stanford University. 

Building on earlier work, the study will attempt to identify genetic variants that influence human facial features. These observations will hopefully provide insight into genetic pathways and how they influence human facial development and growth. The information gathered will also be applied to studying orofacial clefting, the most common craniofacial birth defect in humans.