Craniofacial Study

Joseph K. Williams, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.A.P
Chief of Plastic Surgery,
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite
Director of Clinical Research,
The Children’s Center for Craniofacial Disorders
Clinical Assistant Professor, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery,
Emory University School of Medicine

Barbara Boyan, Ph.D.
Price Gilbert Jr., Chair in the Department of Biomedical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology

Craniofacial Research

Craniofacial disorders affect every aspect of a child’s life from health to social and emotional development. The Children’s Center for Craniofacial Disorders is involved in extensive, outcomes-based research and treatment to define appropriate interventions and maximize each child’s quality of life.

The goal of Drs. Williams and Boyan’s research is to enhance treatment for children with craniofacial anomalies. Their research studies the effects of current treatment approaches to a variety of craniofacial disorders, including cleft lip and palate deformities, skeletal deformities of the face an skull and jaw deformities.

The Children’s/Georgia Tech research collaboration is in its second year. Studies will last several years to effectively measure results and create more research opportunities.

Current studies include:

  • Use of new bone protein in place of traditional bone grafts. This could make treatments available to patients sooner.
  • Treatment methods from immature cells to form cartilage and bone to be used in reconstructive surgery.
  • Creation of animal models for several craniofacial disorders to allow further study not previously available.
  • Work with various companies to create and test new products and ideas for better results from reconstructive surgery.

Dr. Williams believes the studies would not be possible without expertise from Dr. Boyan and Georgia Tech. As basic science research evolves, the relationship with Georgia Tech creates more opportunities.

This research also includes collaboration with Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Williams serves as clinical assistant professor and oversees an Emory resident in ongoing research projects.

The unique relationship between Children’s, Georgia Tech and Emory will only foster further research opportunities that hopefully translate into earlier diagnosis and treatment for children with craniofacial disorders.