Teaching responsibilities include:
Craniofacial Growth Track including Prenatal Craniofacial Development, Advanced Human Craniofacial Development and Craniofacial Anomalies, Cell and Molecular Biology of Oral and Craniofacial Tissues, Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology and General Histology, Microscopic Techniques, Techniques in Cell and Molecular Biology.
I have been interested in the role of cytoskeleton in cell shape changes and behavior throughout my career. As a graduate student I studied neuroepithelial cell shape changes during optic vesicle (the tissue that forms the retina) formation. As a post doctoral fellow, I studied the role of the cytoskeleton in corneal epithelial responses to extracellular matrix proteins (laminin, collagen and fibronectin). This project moved into the topic of cell-matrix interactions and signal transduction, which I pursued for 20 years with NIH funding. The research was carried out on two primary tissues: embryonic corneal epithelia and embryonic cartilage. The data for the studies were obtained through the combination of detailed morphology, protein biochemistry and molecular biology approaches. My laboratory developed new techniques to visualize signaling events and cellular responses using confocal microscopy.
Since 2000, the laboratory topics have changed to signal transduction and transcription factors involved in palate development, oral wound healing, and other craniofacial development or cell-matrix interactions in oral tissues. I am particularly interested in finding ways to counteract nicotine and other substances that decrease oral wound healing.