Basic Science & Craniofacial Biology

Chair: Nigel Bunnett, PhD
Professor, Basic Science & Craniofacial Biology

Vice-Chair for Research: Jean-Pierre Saint-Jeannet, PhD
Professor, Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology

Vice-Chair for Education: Eric Baker, M.Phil
Clinical Associate Professor, Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology


The Department of Basic Science is one of the largest departments in the College, established by the fusion of six separate departments under one chair. NYU Dentistry is one of a handful of private dental schools with its own basic science faculty. The faculty participates in all aspects of the college life: education, scholarly activity, research, and service. In addition, they teach in all programs of the College: graduate, postgraduate, and allied health. Members of the department are nationally and internationally renowned scientists, educators, and academic leaders.



Research includes the study of:

  1. primate bone and dental microstructural correlates of organismal life history, biological timing, and metabolism;
  2. comparative bone microanatomy of extant primates for interpreting locomotor function and phylogeny in fossil species;
  3. primate behavioral ecology and cognition; and
  4. craniofacial development and function in humans and extinct fossil relatives.

Department of Basic Science & Craniofacial Biology Faculty involved in biological anthropology research include:

Research includes the study of fundamental mechanisms of apoptosis and programmed cell death, prostate cancer metastasis to bone, and studying premalignant to malignant cell transformation using human oral epithelial cells. The latter includes research on mutagenesis in lacZ mice, investigations of tobacco use and oral cancer, and the role of bacteria and inflammation in oral cancer.

Department of Basic Science & Craniofacial Biology Faculty involved in cancer research include:

Research includes the study of:

  1. Structure of proteins involved in mineralization
  2. Light, electron, and x-ray optical and spectroscopic investigations of bone and tooth structure and composition
  3. Endocrine regulation of bone and cartilage
  4. Transcriptional regulation of the cells and genes in bone and cartilage
  5. Craniofacial development and function

Faculty involved in craniofacial & bone biology research include:

Members of the department have close collaborations with the bone and cartilage research group in Biomaterials and also with the NYU School of Medicine.

Center for Skeletal and Craniofacial Biology (CSCB)

The Center was established to enhance and coordinate the efforts of NYU clinicians, scientists and clinician scientists who work in different aspects of craniofacial and musculoskeletal biology with the ultimate goal to develop novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of craniofacial disorders and musculoskeletal diseases. The mission of the Center is to raise the tempo of research into diseases which affect craniofacial development and the skeleton leading to new knowledge, resulting in improving and new treatments for these diseases. Learn more about CSCB >>>

Research includes the study of:

  1. Cell physiology: focuses on the role of intracellular calcium stores (endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria) in signaling and in transport during enamel development.
  2. Tissue engineering: focuses on muscle, cartilage and hard tissue with the long-range goal of developing artificial tissues that could be used to repair damaged or lost craniofacial tissues.

Department of Basic Science & Craniofacial Biology Faculty involved in physiology research include:

Research includes the study of:

  1. Oral microbial ecology in health and disease (dental caries, periodontal diseases, oral cancer, and oral mucositis)
  2. Molecular epidemiology of the oral microbiota and biofilm matrix characterization
  3. HIV-1 molecular biology, immunology, and oral aspects
  4. Chronic destructive periodontal diseases and carcinogenesis, osteonecrosis of the jaw, systemic complications
  5. Point-of-care diagnostics for infectious diseases (HIV, TB, Malaria)

Studies focus on caries and biofilms and the oral aspects of HIV/AIDS. One group of investigators brings expertise ranging from molecular biology of oral pathogens to molecular epidemiology.

Faculty involved in infectious diseases research include:

The HIV/AIDS Research Program (HARP)

HARP investigates the oral manifestation of HIV/AIDS and anti-HIV therapies. This group has NIH funding that brings together the faculty from basic and clinical research at the NYU College of Dentistry, NYU School of Medicine and the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Institute and is generating the only bank of specimens from HIV positive subjects pre- and post HAART treatment. Members of this group also have fundamental research projects on oral-based diagnostics.

meet our faculty

meet our faculty & staff

center for skeletal and craniofacial biology


shared scientific core resources

shared scientific core resources