To better serve families at risk for these conditions, scientists need a comprehensive and systematic understanding of how the faces of healthy children form and what goes wrong to cause common malformations, such as cleft lip and palate.

With this in mind, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) launched FaceBase, a central repository for craniofacial datasets and tools meant to advance craniofacial science by fostering cooperation and collaboration around the globe.

The project's principal investigators are Carl Kesselman, professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering Department of Computer Science and director of the Biomedical Data Center at USC's Information Sciences Institute, and Yang Chai, associate dean of research for the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC and director of the Center of Craniofacial and Molecular Biology.

"This NIDCR supported Craniofacial Development and Dysmorphology Data Management and Integration Hub will continue to develop towards a comprehensive resource for researchers around the globe and highlights the leadership provided by interdisciplinary researchers at USC to bring oral and craniofacial research to the next level of excellence."

The major goal of the FaceBase Consortium is to advance research by creating comprehensive datasets of craniofacial development and dysmorphologies, or birth defects, and to disseminate these datasets to the wider craniofacial research community.

Cleft lip and palate are amongst the most common of all birth defects.

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