Orthodontics and Three-Dimensional Imaging Group

The research undertaken in this Group is to explain facial variation (biological make-up, anatomy, facial surface morphology and function) to inform a fully functioning biomechanical head model which is of value to improve healthcare interventions, improve wellbeing and quantify facial variation for face-wear, facial identification/forensics and computer interface industries.


  • to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the provision of orthodontic care
  • to understand the development of the craniofacial complex and use this knowledge to influence routine clinical practice and daily activities.

Research impacts

  • Occlusal indices PAR Index (1992) recognized as an important event (Reported in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics “100 years of Orthodontic History” May 2015). Influenced orthodontic provision in over 52 countries and mandatory use in many. Led to improvements in orthodontic provision in terms of overall costs, efficiencies, effectiveness and treatment outcomes.
  • Identified and replicated the role of the PAX3 gene in normal facial variation.
  • Identified pleiotropic effects of HMGA2, AJUBA and ADK genes on tooth & facial development.
  • Determined association of lip traits to known cleft genes.
  • Developed a novel facial patient specific dynamic biomechanical model for facial surgery. A valuable spin-off in tracking muscle fibre orientation using MRI has led to improved algorithms for tracking crossing neural fibres in the brain
  • Developed a useable 3D dynamic outcome measure for facial surgery to discriminate between normal and abnormal lip movement.

Current projects

  • The effect of maternal alcohol consumption and smoking on a child’s facial morphology in the ALSPAC cohort – collaborators Universities of Oxford & Bristol.
  • Confirming distinctive facial features and their association with known candidate genes – collaborators Universities KU Leven & Bristol
  • Exploring the heritability of facial features in fathers and offspring using spatially-dense geometric morphometrics – collaborators Universities KU Leuven and Bristol
  • Determining the effect of known cleft SNPs on lip morphology in Finnish adults – collaborators Universities Oulu and Bristol
  • Oral-Facial Cleft Families: Phenotype and Genetics – Universities Pittsburgh and Bristol
  • Genetic and environmental contributions to facial morphological variation: a 3D population-based twin study – collaborators VISIGEN.
  • Developing facial classifiers with Computer Science, Cardiff.
  • The efficiency of the orthodontic service in Wales – evaluated 2 yearly.

Academic staff


Professor Stephen Richmond

Professor of Orthodontics

+44 (0)29 2074 2451
Caryl Wilson

Caryl Wilson-Nagrani

Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Orthodontics

+44 29207 46810

Dr Alexei Zhurov

Research Officer

+44 2920682161
Rebeca Playle

Dr Rebecca Playle

Senior Lecturer in Medical Statistics

+44 29207 44821
Damian Farnell

Dr Damian Farnell

Senior Lecturer in Medical Statistics

+44 (0)29225 10618