The long-term goal of this component of Dr. Helms's research program is to elucidate the molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating normal and abnormal craniofacial development. Her group uses a variety of animal models (mice, chicks, quails, ducks, pigeons) and approaches (genetic approaches, experimental manipulation of embryos) to understand how the face is patterned.
Prior to Stanford, Dr. Helms spent 8 years at the University of California at San Francisco, where she was the Director of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. Helms received her dental degree from the University of Minnesota, and her residency certificate and Ph.D from the University of Connecticut Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Helms reviews manuscripts for leading journals such as Nature, Science, and Development and reviews grants for the NIH, NASA, March of Dimes, and a number of other non-profit organizations. She is President of the American Society of Craniofacial Genetics.
Dr. Helms is also an active teacher in both craniofacial and stem cell biology. She teaches undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education classes at Stanford. She mentors undergraduate and graduate students, dental and medical students, residents, and fellows and has been an advisor for Masters and Ph.D candidates.