Welcome to Chai laboratory at the Center for Craniofacial Molecular BiologyUniversity of Southern California.


We are interested in the regulatory issues during early craniofacial development. Our research group is most noted for our discovery on the molecular regulation of cranial neural crest cells during craniofacial development and malformations. Over the years, our laboratory has developed multiple genetically engineered mouse models in order to investigate how craniofacial organs such as the tooth, palate, mandible, maxilla, tongue and calvaria are formed and how tissue-tissue interactions control patterning and morphogenesis. More recently, our laboratory has significantly expanded our effort to link animal models with human birth defects and has successfully rescued craniofacial malformations by manipulating signaling pathways during embryogenesis. We have made important discoveries concerning the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) niche in the craniofacial region and how we can utilize MSCs with innovative 3D-printed scaffolds for tissue regeneration.


As always, I welcome your continued input as we work together to improve human health care through the best science practice.




Yang Chai, DDS, PhD
University Professor
George and MaryLou Boone Chair in Craniofacial Molecular Biology
Director, Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology
Associate Dean of Research
Ostrow School of Dentistry
University of Southern California