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Dr. Chengji Zhou Joins ADA Forsyth, Enhancing Craniofacial Research at the Institute

Cambridge, Mass., May 21, 2024 – ADA Forsyth is pleased to announce the addition of Chengji Zhou, PhD, to its distinguished faculty, effective April 1, 2024.  Dr. Zhou, a developmental biologist, joined AFI after nearly 19 years in the School of Medicine at the University of California, Davis, where he was a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, and a senior investigator at the Institute for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine (co-founded by UC Davis and Shriners Hospitals for Children).

With a career dedicated to innovative research, Dr. Zhou has made significant contributions to understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms and maternal interventions of tissue closure birth defects, including neural tube defects and orofacial clefts.

“Dr. Zhou’s expertise in craniofacial biology and regenerative medicine will significantly enhance AFI’s capabilities in both research and training,” said Ben Wu, PhD, DDS, Chief Science Officer, and Chief Operating Officer at AFI. “We are actively seeking to expand craniofacial research at AFI because of its clear impact on growth and development, cancer, and regeneration. We are excited to welcome Dr. Zhou and his lab to the team.”

Dr. Zhou’s lab is currently investigating Wnt signaling and related epigenetic regulators to address their roles in tissue closure birth defects. Additionally, his lab is examining cranial neural crest cells, a unique stem cell population, because of their ability to differentiate into almost anything, including cartilage, bone, cranial neurons, glia, and connective tissues of the orofacial structures.

“These cells may hold the key for tissue regeneration and therapeutic applications,” said Dr. Zhou. “I am thrilled to begin this next chapter of my research at AFI.”

Dr. Zhou earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and his master’s and doctoral degrees in biophysics from Waseda University (Tokyo, Japan), which he attended from 1994 to 2001. He was a recipient of a Japanese Government Scholarship for his PhD study. Dr. Zhou completed postdoctoral training in developmental neurobiology at the University of California, San Francisco in 2005.


About the ADA Forsyth Institute

The ADA Forsyth Institute was founded in 1910 as the Forsyth Dental Infirmary for Children (later, the Forsyth Institute), to provide dental care to the disadvantaged children of Boston. While continuing to serve children in need, yet recognizing the ultimate goal is to prevent dental disease, the Institute in 1915 began to focus on scientific research and is today the world’s leader in oral health research. In October of 2023, the Institute joined with the American Dental Association to form the ADA Forsyth Institute, a 501(c)(3) entity dedicated to improving people’s oral and overall health and powering the profession of dentistry through cutting-edge basic research, creative translational science, innovative clinical technologies, and global public health outreach. Consistent with the Institute’s founding mission, the ADA ForsythKids mobile dental program continues to serve children in need.

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