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Personal profile


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My research explores the growth and function of cranial tissues, particularly the structures involved in feeding. The biomechanical demands imposed by diet are known to affect chewing behavior and joint kinematics and, over time, the growth trajectories of the craniofacial skeleton and its associated soft tissues. By modulating diet, we are able to affect the overall growth of these tissues, bone quality in the jaws, integrity of the jaw joint (TMJ), dental occlusion, and masticatory muscle structure. I am particularly interested in how early life history events (such as weaning and dental eruption/replacement) affect feeding, growth, and adult morphological outcomes.
Current research themes include:
1) Variation in maturation rates among tissues of the masticatory complex and how this affects feeding performance and plasticity. What happens during the transition between infant-like suckling and adult-like chewing, and what are the structural and behavioral constraints that limit efficient feeding during early childhood?
2) The role of type I collagen in the growth of the craniofacial skeleton. How do collagen disorders, such as osteogenesis imperfecta, affect the facial phenotype? What behavioral and/or pharmaceutical interventions are effective in recovering the phenotype and function in these disorders?

Education/Academic qualification

PhD in Anatomy, University of Missouri

BA in Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin


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