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Joseph Antoun awarded Emerging Researcher First Grant by the Health Research Council

Tuesday 14 May 2013 3:43pm

Congratulations to Joseph Antoun of the SJWRI for being awarded a highly prestigious Health Research Council Emerging Researcher First Grant worth $149,462 over three years for his project 'The genetics of dentofacial growth anomalies' with Prof Mauro Farella and Prof Murray Thomson of the SJWRI, and A/Prof Tony Merriman of Biochemistry.

Joe AntounJoseph is a Doctorate of Clinical Dentistry (DClinDent) candidate in the Department of Oral Sciences. The objective of Joseph's research is to investigate the relationship between selected candidate genes and specific forms of the face (e.g. underdeveloped lower jaws) that often leads to functional and aesthetic problems requiring orthodontic/surgical treatment.

The research will recruit individuals with clinically important facial anomalies (i.e. typical orthodontic patients), as well as control participants. DNA samples will be used to analyse and compare genetic differences in candidate genes between the two groups.

The possible effects of an interaction between genetic and environmental factors, such as oral habits (e.g. thumb-sucking), will also be investigated. This project will establish a genetic database that can be followed up longitudinally and may substantially improve our understanding of the biological basis of facial growth.

Joseph's funding success was also reported in the Otago Daily Times.