Craniofacial Growth and Form

Pattern formation and shape analysis in head and neck malformations


Craniofacial Growth and Form investigates head and neck morphogenesis using engineering and image analysis tools. Our aim is to improve the diagnosis and treatment of craniofacial malformations.

Craniofacial Growth and Form is located within Necker Enfants - Malades University Hospital, the first children hospital in the world and still one of the most active. Necker hosts the Filière Maladies Rares TeteCou, which groups all the centers treating head and neck malformations in the country. We work closely with the Centres de Référence Maladies Rares MAFACE and CRANIOST, both located within our hospital. At the European level, we collaborate with the European Reference Network ERN CRANIO.


Craniofacial Growth and Form also works closely with INSERM 'Bases moléculaires et physiopathologiques des ostéochondrodysplasies', located within Imagine Institute, where the team of Laurence Legeai-Mallet has a well-recognized experience in animal models of craniofacial conditions.


Craniofacial Growth and Form actively takes part in teaching at the Medical School of University of Paris in the fields of morphogenesis, comparative anatomy, image analysis and 3D design.

Craniofacial Growth and Form is funded by Fondation des 'Gueules Cassées', Fondation 'Sauver la Vie', Mairie de Paris (Emergence(s)), Université de Paris (joint grant with King's College London) and WisePops (Benjamin Cahen).

Support us : Laboratoire "Forme et croissance du crâne" - Hôpital Necker - Enfants Malades - Fondation Université de Paris (fondation-uparis.org)


Research Projects


AI-based syndrome recognition on 2D face photographs

We use the huge clinical photography database of Necker - Enfants Malades Hospital to build AI-based solutions to better diagnose craniofacial malformations. This project is led by PhD student maxillofacial surgeon Quentin Hennocq, co-supervised by Dr Khonsari and Imagine Institute head data manager Nicolas Garcelon, in close collaboration with the AIDY initiative (Department of Medical Genetics). Quentin is funded by the CRI (Centre de Recherches Interdisciplinaire).


Craniofacial growth in single-suture craniosynostosis

Understanding growth in single-suture craniosynostoses is key in designing evidence-based and customized treatment plans. This project is led by PhD student engineer Maya Geoffroy, co-supervised by Dr Khonsari and Pr. Sébastien Laporte, head of the Institute of Human Biomechanics at Arts et Métiers ParisTech. Maya works on both morphological and biomechanical growth models of trigonocephaly and anterior plagiocephaly. Maya is funded by the Parisian tech start-up BONE 3D.


Morphogenesis of the external ear

Pattern formation in the external ear cartilage is one the enigmas of developmental biology. In order to solve this scientific riddle, Master student maxillofacial surgeon Marine Cheval uses high-resolution synchrotron microtomography images of mouse ears at different pre-natal ages in order to build a 3D-printable growth model. She combines mouse data with human data processed in the Chedotal lab. (Institut de la Vision) using innovating embryo transparentization techniques. Marine is funded by a joint grant from Université de Paris & King's College London. She works in close collaboration with Pr. Abigail Tucker at King's.


Cranio-cervical junction in FGFR mutations

Patients with syndromic craniosynostoses due to FGFR mutations can present with severe anomalies of the cranio-cervical junction. The growth of this region is poorly known, and its biomechanics in children is a mystery. Post-doctal research comparative anatomist Maxime Taverne focuses on this anatomical area and build a growth model of the junction between the spine and the skull, in order to better understand what goes wrong in FGFR mutations. Maxime is funded by the Mairie de Paris (dispositif Emergence(s))


AI-based segmentation of skull bones on MRI

Children with single suture craniosynostoses do not have CT-scans anymore before surgery. They benefit from an MRI with a specific sequence (Black Bone) dedicated to mineralized tissues. In order to obtain 3D reconstructions for her growth models, PhD student Maya Geoffroy is currently developing AI-based segmentation methods to tackle this technical issue.


Fracture healing in FGFR mutations

In order to explore bone regeneration in FGFR mutations, PhD student maxillofacial surgeon Anne Morice uses mouse models of syndromic craniosynostoses and geometric morphometric methods for 3D shape assessment. Anne is co-supervised by Dr Khonsari and Laurence Legeai-Mallet, PI at Imagine Institute, who is also the funding body of this project.


Multi-tissue 3D printing

The lab has a unique 3D printing facility connected to the extraordinary clinical imaging database of Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris. Our platform is composed of two Form 3 (Formlabs) printers and one J750 Digital Anatomy (Stratasys). Our current project are the development of a cleft lip surgery model and of a series of educational models for the most common craniofacial surgery procedures. We work in close collaboration with the Parisian tech start-up BONE 3D. Our 3D printing facility has been funded by the Fondation des 'Gueules Cassées'.


High-resolution human craniofacial phenotyping

We used surface 3D scanning to capture high-resolution images of patients with craniofacial anomalies, in order to better characterize little known syndromes and assess treatment results. Current projects include image acquisition in the fetal pathology unit, craniofacial phenotyping in STAT3 mutations and result assessment after medical treatment in PIK3CA-related overgrowth syndromes. We work with an EVA (Artec) surface scanner funded by the Association pour la Recherche en Neurochirurgie Pédiatrique (ARNP).


High-resolution craniofacial phenotyping of animal models

Using mouse and zebrafish models to design new drugs for craniofacial conditions opens groundbreaking perspective. In order to assess the efficiency of candidate molecules, morphological studies complement functional tests: we are developing dedicated methods to assess specific questions in craniofacial phenotyping using geometric morphometrics and drifting towards landmark-free approaches.


Contact Us

Bâtiment Lavoisier, 1er étage
Hôpital Necker - Enfants Malades
149 rue de Sèvres 75015, Paris

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