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27 October 2017

My Life with Treacher Collins Syndrome and its connection to my research

On the 19th September Dr Francis Smith visited the Dental Institute hosted by Prof Abigail Tucker and gave a talk titled “My Life with Treacher Collins Syndrome and its connection to my research”.

Francis Smith AT2

Francis is currently a postdoc at the University of Denver Colorado. Francis started his research career as a summer student and then an intercalated BSc student in the Division of Craniofacial Development & Stem Cell Biology in the Dental Institute at King’s College London. 

During his time at King’s, Francis was involved in research projects with Prof Martyn Cobourne and Prof Phillippa Francis-West investigating Scube genes and the neural crest.

Francis met with faculty members from the Dental Institute and discussed the challenges of living with a craniofacial disorder with the PhD students and postdocs. The visit was part of Francis’s outreach programme in conjunction with FaceBase.

“My vision for the future is to see a significant increase in public awareness of craniofacial anomalies in order to improve public perceptions of children and adults with craniofacial conditions and foster their acceptance. As a craniofacial scientist with personal life experience with the rare craniofacial condition Treacher Collins syndrome, I have the unique opportunity to be a spokesman from both the scientific and personal side for craniofacial awareness", Dr Smith explains. 

"The example of my life with Treacher Collins syndrome will show an intelligent, creative person behind my craniofacial anomalies. We, in the craniofacial community, have the opportunity to educate the public (including families of affected children) about craniofacial syndromes and how life can be lived normally and happily despite these challenges.”