The NIDCR, recognizing this research need, began organizing FaceBase two years ago. The initiative builds on two broad organizing principles. The first is to encourage the formation of multidisciplinary research teams and then a higher level of integration into a consortium with the idea being that not every research problem will be or even can be solved with a single approach. Most will require a range of tools and expertise, allowing a more powerful research synergy to peel away the many layers of biological complexity and reach the essence of the question. The 11 grants announced today will support the FaceBase Consortium, a collection of collaborative research teams at various sites around the country.
The second is for each team to target its efforts at one specific aspect, or theme, of craniofacial development. This will allow the initiative to cast a more comprehensive research net that avoids duplication of effort. The research teams will coordinate their efforts through a designated FaceBase hub that manages data integration, data sharing and organizational needs.
"The FaceBase initiative will start out with a tight focus on the development of the mid-face region," said Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., the director of NIDCR. "But if this more coordinated, systems approach works well, it's very possible that the initiative can be expanded to focus on tooth development, salivary gland formation, and really any tissue of the craniofacial complex."
Another essential aspect of the initiative is the FaceBase database. It builds on the lessons learned of other biology-focused databases. But FaceBase must mold its content to the specific interests and needs of craniofacial researchers. That includes learning how best to house data on biochemical, molecular, genetic and imaging studies. It also includes learning how best to display thous
|Contact: Bob Kuska|
NIH/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research