Dr. Peter Gakunga is an associate professor in the Department of Orthodontics. He is a clinician/scientist with specialized training in orthodontics, as well as doctoral and postdoctoral training in oral biology and craniofacial growth and development.
Dr. Gakunga is a graduate of the Dental School, University of Nairobi, Kenya. He is also a graduate of UT Health San Antonio Orthodontic Residency Program. He obtained his basic science graduate training at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, San Francisco. He was a National Institutes of Health fellow at Baylor College of Dentistry.
Dr. Gakunga's research is focused on deciphering the molecules that control growth in the cranial base synchondroses. This work uses the mouse model, as well as a novel cranial base organ culture system. The current phase of this study is designed to decipher the role played by a potent growth factor, TGF-b1, in mediating the exquisitely controlled changes that are the hallmark of craniofacial synchondrosal growth. This work has potential for furthering our understanding of craniofacial growth and development, including the modulation of orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic forces. It also has the potential of providing an effective screening method for some craniofacial congenital disorders.