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Walid Fakhouri, MSc, PhD

Dr. Walid Fakhouri, MSc, PhD
  • Title: Assistant Professor
  • Office: BBS 4212
  • Phone: 713-486-2519
  • Email:
  • Administrative Area(s): Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences
  • Education:

    Postdoc, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics | Michigan State University
    PhD, Phytopathology and Molecular Biology | University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany
    MSc, Phytopathology/Bacteriology | University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan

Dr. Walid Fakhouri is an active investigator with NIH and state funding. In addition to his appointment at the School of Dentistry, he is on the faculty of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) and the Department of Pediatrics at  McGovern Medical School. He is a recipient of many national and international awards, including being chosen as a DAAD scholar by the German Academic Services that funded his doctoral program in Germany.

Dr. Fakhouri’s research interests focus on identifying epigenetic and genetic factors that cause and contribute to increase the risk of craniofacial disorders, including cleft lip and palate, craniosynostosis and micrognathia. His lab uses mouse models and organ cultures to delineate the molecular mechanism of a novel genetic interaction between two transcription factors, IRF6 and TWIST1, that plays a critical role in regulating the epithelial-mesenchymal interaction during oral, facial and skull development. Using biochemical and genetic approaches, his lab investigates how mutations in TWIST1 phospho-sites disrupt formation of craniofacial tissues derived from mesenchymal cells. Integration of experimental data and bioinformatics for developing computational models are also used in Fakhouri’s lab to identify etiologic non-coding DNA variants associated with cancer diseases, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. The overall goal of his lab research is to translate bench findings for clinical use to improve risk assessment and pave the way for personalized medicine.

Selected Publications: 

  1. Katherine Kin, Xi Chen, Manuel Gonzalez-Garay, Walid D Fakhouri. The effect of non-coding DNA variations on P53 and cMYC competitive inhibition at cis-overlapping motifs. Human Molecular Genetics, 2016, PubMed PMID: 26908612, DOI: 1093/hmg/ddw030. (IF 6.85). F1000Prime Recommendations*
    *= F1000 Faculty Dr. Evans to indicate the significance of this article in its field. Evans K and Ryan N: F1000Prime Recommendation of Evaluation [Kin K et al., Hum Mol Genet 2016, 25(8): 1517-27], 15 Apr 2016; DOI: 10.3410/f.726172772.793516714.
  2. Katherine Kin and Walid D. Fakhouri. Genes on or off! How regulatory DNA variations disrupt the balance of P53 and cMYC binding. Atlas of Science, May 16, 2016.
  3. Price K, Haddad Y, Fakhouri WD. Analysis of the relationship between micrognathia and cleft palate: a systematic review. 2015. Cleft Palate-Craniofacial J. 2015 Feb 6. PubMed PMID: 25658963.
  4. Nishtha Joshi N, Ahmad Hamdan, Walid D Fakhouri. Skeletal malocclusion; a developmental disorder with a life-long morbidity. J Clin Med Res. 2014 Dec;6(6):399-408. PubMed PMID: 25247012.
  5. Fakhouri WD, Rahimov F, Attanasio C, Kouwenhoven EN, Ferreira De Lima RL, Felix TM, Nitschke L, Huver D, Barrons J, Kousa YA, Leslie E, Pennacchio LA, Van Bokhoven H, Visel A, Zhou H, Murray JC, Schutte BC. An etiologic regulatory mutation in IRF6 with loss- and gain-of-function effects. Hum Mol Genet. 2014 May 15;23(10):2711-20. PubMed PMID: 24442519.