The Dentist Magazine.

Sonic hedgehog signalling and craniofacial development

Published: 02/05/2018

Professor Martyn Cobourne will deliver the Northcroft Memorial Lecture at the British Orthodontic Conference in September, when he will talk about his work on the sonic hedgehog gene and its role in craniofacial development.

Understanding the function of this gene is of interest to orthodontists because of the essential role it plays during many aspects of craniofacial development, including normal formation of the face, regulating the number of teeth that form and patterning of the rugae, the small ridges of tissue found in the roof of the mouth.

Professor Cobourne is academic head of Orthodontics at Kings College London Dental Institute and works as an honorary consultant in orthodontics at Guy’s and Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust.  For the last twenty years he has worked as an academic orthodontist at King’s and has published over 120 academic papers. The invitation to deliver the British Orthodontic Society’s Northcroft lecture is one of the highest accolades for an orthodontist. The lecture is named after George Northcroft, who is considered to be the father of academic orthodontics in the United Kingdom.

With the title of ‘The weird and the wonderful: Hedgehog signalling in craniofacial development’, Professor Cobourne’s presentation will reveal why this gene has such an esoteric name and discuss how it patterns the facial region of the embryo during normal development. He will also talk about his career as an academic orthodontist and discuss future challenges for academic members of this dental specialty. 

The Northcroft lecture will be a highlight of the British Orthodontic Conference which this year has the theme Ortho360. It takes place September 27-29 at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London and more information can be found here: