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Martine Dunnwald, PharmD, PhD

Research Associate Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology

Contact Information

Primary Office
1-532 Bowen Science Building (BSB)
51 Newton Road
Iowa City, IA 52242


MS, Biological and Medical Science, Cellular Pharmacology option, School of Medicine
PharmD, Pharmacy, Industry/Research option, L. Pasteur University
PhD, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Laval University
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Molecular Medicine

Center, Program and Institute Affiliations

Craniofacial Research Center

Research Summary

My research interests involve skin, epidermal development and regeneration, and orofacial clefts. The homeostasis of the epidermis is provided by stem cells that persist through the lifetime of the organism and allow the continuous renewal of the tissue. These epidermal cells (keratinocytes) execute a well-ordered program of differentiation that leads to four distinct layers, the outermost provinding a barrier function to the environment. We identified Interferon Regulatory Factor 6 (Irf6) as a key regulator of epidermal proliferation and differentiation. Also, Kondo et al (2002) showed that Irf6 mutations cause two orofacial clefting syndromes. Interestingly, patients with one of these syndrome (Van der Woude) have increased chance of wound complications after cleft surgical repair compared to patients with isolated clefts, suggesting that IRF6 may play a role in wound healing. We are currently investigating the idea that palatal development and cutaneous wound healing accomplish the common anatomic need, to close a hole and form a seam, using common genes and pathways.