Amanda Dickinson, MDAmanda Dickinson, MD

Associate Professor



Research group

Dickinson lab 

Research area

My research focuses in understanding craniofacial development and the genetic and environmental causes of birth defects affecting the face. In humans, the orofacial region serves as our gateway to the environment, permitting ingestion, taste, communication, and facial recognition. Therefore, birth defects affecting the mouth and face such as orofacial clefts can be devastating. Despite this, the mechanisms that cause many of these types of malformations still remain poorly understood, in part due to their multifactorial nature and the complex morphogenesis of the region.

My goals are to uncover the specific developmental mechanisms that underlie human orofacial defects using the frog Xenopus laevis as an innovative animal model. My lab was the first to create an orofacial cleft in Xenopus and I am among a few researchers that are now effectively using this model to quickly and more easily study mechanisms of orofacial development and disease. My lab takes a whole organism approach to study the intersection between genetic, epigenetic and teratogens in orofacial birth defects using techniques including RNAseq, Crispr/Cas9 and chemical exposure studies.

See full bibliography


  • Larisa Litovchick

CHRI theme

Personal and translational medicine