2022 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Human Biology
Mentor: Jill Helms (Surgery - Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery)

“Shaping the Face: The Reconstruction of Congenital Anomalies and the Influence of Age on Surgical Outcome”

Melody’s project aims to discover the relationship between age at which surgical reconstruction of cleft palate is performed, and the impact on subsequent facial growth. A mouse model of surgical scarring of the hard palate will be used. An oral surgeon will perform surgeries, and she will assist. Facial growth will be assessed using micro CT imaging at various time points after surgery. Once facial growth arrest is demonstrated, tissues will be harvested and analyzed using histology and immunohistochemistry to understand how growth is arrested. Exploration of the relationship between patient age and subsequent facial growth will aid in determining optimal age for treatment.