Ritva Rice

Ph.D., Post-doctoral Researcher

Ritva.Rice -at- helsinki.fi Publications

I joined the research group of Professor Scott Gilbert in September 2010. I am studying the growth and development of the bone plates of a turtle shell. The bones that form plastron (the belly side) form similarly to calvarial bones with sutures and even a fontanel, and the dermal bones on the carapace (the back) form in a novel way to other vertebrates.

My previous work has shown that balancing the level of proliferation and differentiation of progenitor cell populations is essential for normal growth and morphogenesis of craniofacial bones and palate. The morphogenesis of craniofacial bones and palate is achieved by a complex network of multiple growth factor signalling pathways and specific set of transcription factors to produce a working unit such as calvaria, cranial base or palate.

My master’s degree is from the dept of biochemistry at University of Oulu, Finland. The research work for it was done in the research group of Prof. Bjorn R. Olsen in the dept of cell biology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA. It was in his lab that I got interested in studying the molecular regulation of hard tissues. A project to study the molecular regulation of rudimentary calvarial bones on congenital hydrocephalus mutant mice was started in the lab of Prof. Olsen, and it was this work that led me to the lab of Prof. Irma Thesleff in Helsinki as a graduate student. In her lab, my work expanded to include also palatal development. I received my PhD degree from University of Helsinki in 2004. I continued craniofacial and palate studies as a post-doctoral scientist in the research group of Dr. David Rice at King’s College in London.