Research Research Groups Contact Information

Institute of Dentistry
BOX 41 (Mannerheimintie 172)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki
Tel. +358 294 1911
Fax. +358 2941 27202

Institute of Dentistry
Scientific Research laboratory
P.O.Box 63 (Haartmaninkatu 8)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki
Tel. +358 294 1911


Craniofacial Development and Malformations Research Group

Scientific activity

Our research is aimed at understanding the molecular basis of morphological change during craniofacial development. We use two model systems: the developing palate and the developing calvarial bone and sutures. Understanding the developmental processes underpinning these systems also gives us a greater insight into the molecular pathogenesis of diseases that result when normal development is disrupted, notably cleft palate and craniosynostosis (premature fusion of the calvarial sutures). These are the two most common craniofacial anomalies. Affected individuals and their families suffer profound effects that require extensive multidisciplinary treatment over many years.

Our studies also have wider implications for developmental biology and biomedical science as we investigate the processes of growth factor signaling, tissue-tissue interactions, morphological change, mesenchymal condensation formation (cell proliferation, death and adhesion).

The research group is based at Biomedicum, the biomedical research institution at the University of Helsinki. We are linked to the developmental biology programme at the University of Helsinki, which is split between Biomedicum (Meilahti campus) and Institute of Biotechnology (Viikki campus).



Group Leader Rice, David
  Professor of Orthodontics & Principal investigator, Faculty of Medicine,
University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital
Group Wael Mohammed S Awadh BDS
  Md Rakibul Hasan MSc
  Ma Hongqian PhD
  Tuija Mustonen PhD
  Lauri Mäkinen Dental student
  Linda Päivinen Dental student
  Lotta Veistinen DDS, PhD
  Thomas Åberg DDS, PhD
Former Gorup members ElaineConnor PhD
  Eva Lana-Elola PhD
  Ritva Rice PhD
  Yukiho Kobayashi (Tanimoto), DDS, PhD
  Maarit Takatalo PhD
  Kirsi Alakurtti PhD
  Hiroo Kuroki DDS, PhD



Academy of Finland, Sigrid Juselius Foundation, University of Helsinki Research Fund, Helsinki University Hospital Research Fund (Yliopistotasoisen Terveyden Tutkimus).

Selected publications

Wells KL, Gaete M, Matalova E, Deutsch D, Rice D, Tucker AS. Dynamic relationship of the epithelium and mesenchyme during salivary gland initiation: the role of Fgf10. Biol Open. 2013 Aug 9;2(10):981-9. New Journal

Veistinen L, Takatalo M, Kesper DA, Vortkamp A, Rice DP Deletion of Gli3 in mice causes abnormal frontal bone morphology and premature synostosis of the interfrontal suture. Front Physiol. 2012;3:121. Impact factor 3.5

Tanimoto Y, Veistinen L, Alakurtti K, Takatalo M, Rice DP. Prevention of premature fusion of calvaria suture in Gli3-deficient mice by removing one allele of Runx2. J Biol Chem. In Press. Impact factor 5.5

Ferone G, Thomason HA, Antonini D, De Rosa L, Hu B, Gemei M, Zhou H, Ambrosio R, Rice DP, Acampora D, van Bokhoven H, Del Vecchio L, Koster MI, Tadini G, Spencer-Dene B, Dixon M, Dixon J, Missero C. Mutant p63 causes defective expansion of ectodermal progenitor cells and impaired FGF signalling in AEC syndrome. EMBO Mol Med. 2012 Mar;4(3):192-205. Impact factor 8.8

Kurosaka H, Islam MN, Kuremoto K, Hayano S, Nakamura M, Kawanabe N, Yanagita T, Rice DP, Harada H, Taniuchi I, Yamashiro T. Core binding factor beta functions in the maintenance of stem cells and orchestrates continuous proliferation and differentiation in mouse incisors. Stem Cells. 2011 Nov;29(11):1792-803. Impact factor 8.6

Lana-Elola E, Tylzanowski P, Takatalo M, Alakurtti K, Veistinen L, Mitsiadis TA, Graf D, Rice R, Luyten FP, Rice DP. Noggin null allele mice exhibit a microform of holoprosencephaly. Hum Mol Genet. 2011 Oct 15;20(20):4005-15. Impact factor 8.1

Rice DP, Connor EC, Veltmaat JM, Lana-Elola E, Veistinen L, Tanimoto Y, Bellusci S, Rice R 2010 Gli3Xt-J/Xt-J mice exhibit lambdoid suture craniosynostosis which results from altered osteoprogenitor proliferation and differentiation. Human Molecular Genetics, 19(17):3457-3467, Impact factor: 7.3

Rice DP. Craniofacial sutures. Development, disease and treatment, Front Oral Biol. 2008 (pdf).

Veistinen L, Aberg T, Rice DP. 2009 Convergent signalling through Fgfr2 regulates divergent craniofacial morphogenesis. J Exp Zoolog B Mol Dev Evol. 2009 Feb 9.

Mitsiadis TA, Tucker AS, De Bari C, Cobourne MT, Rice DP. 2008 A regulatory relationship between Tbx1 and FGF signaling during tooth morphogenesis and ameloblast lineage determination. Dev Biol. 320(1):39-48.

Lana-Elola, E, Rice, R, Grigoriadis, A, Rice DP 2007 Cell fate specification during calvarial bone and suture development. Developmental Biology, In Press. Impact factor: 5.4

Veltmaat JM, Relaix F, Le LT, Kratochwil K, Sala FG, van Veelen W, Rice R, Spencer-Dene B, Mailleux AA, Rice DP, Thiery JP and Bellusci S 2006 Gli3-mediated somitic Fgf10 gradients are required for the induction and patterning of the mammary epithelium along the embryonic axes. Development, 12, 2325-2335. Impact factor: 7.6

Rice DP 2005 Craniofacial anomalies: from development to molecular pathogenesis. Curr Mol Med. 5(7):699-722. Impact factor: 5.0

Rice, R., Spencer-Dene, B., Connor, EC., Gritli-Linde, A., McMahon, AP., Dickson, C., Thesleff, I. and Rice, DPC. 2004 Disruption of Fgf10/Fgfr2b coordinated epithelial-mesenchymal interactions causes cleft palate. Journal of Clinical Investigation 113(12):1692-700. . Impact factor: 14.4

Ishii, M., Merrill, AE., Chang, C., Gitelman, I., Rice, DPC., Sucov, HM. and Maxson, Jr. RE. 2003 Cooperative interaction between Msx2 and Twist in the development of neural crest-derived skeletogenic mesenchyme of the murine skull vault. Development 130, 6131-6142. Impact 7.7

Rice, R, Rice, DPC., Olsen BR. and Thesleff, I. 2003 Foxc1 is required for BMP induced Msx2 and Alx4 expression and for osteoprogenitor cell proliferation during skull bone development. Developmental Biology 262, 75-87. Impact factor: 5.4

Rice, DPC., Åberg, T., Chan, Y-S., Tang, Z., Kettunen, P., Pakarinen, L., Maxson, R.E. Jr. and Thesleff, I. 2000 Integration of FGF and TWIST in calvarial bone and suture development. Development 127, 1845-55. . Impact factor: 9.4

Kim, H-J.*, Rice, DPC.*, Kettunen, PJ. and Thesleff, I. 1998 FGF-, BMP- and Shh-mediated signalling pathways in the regulation of cranial suture morphogenesis and calvarial bone development. Development 125, 1241-51. . Impact factor: 9.7 * Equal contribution.