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Eric S. Van Otterloo, Ph.D.

Portrait
Assistant Professor
Research Assistant
Research Associate
Assistant Professor of Periodontics
Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology
Assistant Professor of Iowa Institute for Oral Health

Contact Information

Primary Office
N-447 Dental Science Building
801 Newton Rd
Iowa City, Iowa 52242
319-467-1432

Lab
N-430 Dental Science Building
801 Newton Rd
Iowa City, Iowa 52242
319-467-1432

Office
1-632 Bowen Science Building
51 NEWTON RD
IOWA CITY, IA 52242
319-467-1432

Lab
1-661 Bowen Science Building
51 NEWTON RD
IOWA CITY, IA 52242
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Research Summary

Dr. Van Otterloo’s research focuses on unraveling how genes control events essential to the early stages of human life, known as embryogenesis. Importantly, it is often disruption to these genes that can result in a myriad of birth defects—with an overwhelming majority impacting the development of head and neck structures. This is exemplified by clefting of the lip and/or palate (roof of the mouth), one of the most prevalent birth defects amongst newborns. Dr. Van Otterloo uses animal models, including mice and zebrafish—which share numerous genes and anatomical structures with humans—to further understand how these genes provide the instructions necessary to make a functional face. While helping define the genetic blueprint of facial development, the long-term goals of Dr. Van Otterloo’s research are to use this information to better predict and ultimately alleviate confounding issues associated with human craniofacial birth defects.