Genetic causes of cleft lip (CL) and cleft palate (CP)

Contact: Professor Adam Ye 
Duration: 10 weeks


Cleft lip and cleft palate is also known as oral-facial cleft. Actually, it is a group of conditions, cleft lip (CL), cleft palate (CP) or a combination (CLP). When the cleft sits in the upper lip of patients, the condition is call CL; When the cleft sits in the roof of mouth, the condition is called CP; When the cleft sits in both positions, the condition is called CLP. These conditions frequently cause feeding difficulties, speech problems, hearing problems and some other problems.

The risk factors include genetic factors and environmental factors. The environmental influences include maternal smoking, maternal alcohol abuse, diabetes, obesity, age of parents, et al. People with certain variants of some genes are with higher occurrence risk of these conditions. It has been suggested that these conditions might be a results of interplay of genes and environmental influences.

Cleft lip (CL), cleft palate (CP), and cleft lip with cleft palate (CLP) are among the most common birth defects in humans with prevalence between 1 in 500 and 1 in 2,500 live birth, with ethnic and geographic variation. These condition results in about 3300 deaths globally in 2013, comparing 7600 deaths in 1990. These conditions can be treated with surgery with good outcome. However, they bring heavy financial burdens and cause psychosocial issues in kids with these conditions.

Though several genes and many loci have been suggested relevant to CL, CP and CLP, more studies needed to validate loci that have been reported relevant to these conditions.

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3D printing of functional bioceramics for bone regeneration

Contact: Professor Adam Ye and Dr Chun Xu
Duration: 6 weeks


Craniofacial bone defects, caused by infections, injuries or congenial deformity, predispose functional and aesthetic complications. For bone defects repair, engineered bone scaffolds are receiving increasing attention compared to conventional bone grafts, due to their large supply and no disease transmission. Among them, inorganic bioceramics containing calcium, silica and phosphate are of special interest due to their intrinsic osteoconductive property which instructs its surrounding environment to form bone. However, traditional solid bioceramics are less satisfied with their low bioactivities. In addition, the conventional forms of powders or granules of bioceramics are not good for the migration of bone cells and hard to fill the gaps of complicated craniofacial bone defects.   

3D printing technique provide the ability to fabricate 3D porous scaffolds with designed interconnected macroporous network, which offer more advantages than conventional powders or granules. It would be ideal to fabricate optimized biomaterials into a 3D porous scaffold which allows bone cell migration, nutrient delivery, vascularization and new bone ingrowth. In this project, 3D printed bone scaffolds will be fabricated with designed structures and better bone regeneration ability for customized bone defect repair and regeneration.

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