Dr. Christina Nicholas
UIC College of Dentistry
801 S. Paulina Street
  • Christina
  • Nicholas
  • PhD
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Orthodontics (UIC)
  • Departmental Affiliate, Department of Anthropology (UIC)
Research Focus:
  • Developmental/Craniofacial Biology

Biographic Summary

Dr. Nicholas is research faculty who joined the Department of Orthodontics, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), in 2016. She received her PhD in Biological Anthropology from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Iowa (2015). Following the completing of her PhD studies, she did a postdoc in the Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research (formerly Dows). In addition to her research responsibilities, Dr. Nicholas also serves as a facilitator for small group learning (SGL) in the dental student curriculum and teaches Craniofacial Growth and Development in the Orthodontics Department.

Visit Dr. Christina Nicholas's Lab for more information: https://sites.google.com/uic.edu/nicholaslab/home

Education & Career

  • Postdoctoral Scholar, Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research, University of Iowa (2015-2016)
  • PhD, University of Iowa (2015)

Scholarly Interests

Craniofacial ontogeny, geometric morphometrics, cleft palate, dental anthropology, 3D modeling

Research Interests

Dr. Nicholas’s research focuses on craniofacial growth and development, and she applies her interdisciplinary training to tackle questions related to growth from both anthropological and clinical perspectives. She uses geometric morphometrics to quantify complex craniofacial phenotypes, and is particularly interested in how units of the cranium covary across growth. Her work seeks to better understand variation in human craniofacial ontogeny, what factors might influence this variation, and how variation may affect treatment.


Dr. Nicholas serves as a facilitator for small group learning (SGL) in the dental student curriculum and teaches Craniofacial Growth and Development in the Orthodontics Department.


Nicholas, CL, Franciscus, RG. 2014. The Ontogeny of Nasal Floor Shape Variation in Extant Humans. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 115: 369-378.

Holton, NE, Nicholas, CL, Marshall, SD, Franciscus, RG, Southard, TE. 2015. The effects of altered maxillary growth on patterns of mandibular rotation in a pig model. Archives of Oral Biology. 60: 933-940.

Nicholas, CL. 2016. Fetal and neo-natal maxillary ontogeny in extant humans and the utility of prenatal maxillary morphology in predicting ancestral affiliation. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 161: 448-455.

Avila-Ortiz, G, Gubler, M, Nicholas, C, Barwacz, C. Chapter 4.7. 2017. Alveolar Ridge Preservation in ‘Clinical Cases in Implant Dentistry’ Eds. N. Karimbux & H.P. Weber. Wiley & Sons.

Marchi, D, Proctor, D, Huston, E, Nicholas, CL, Fischer F. In press. Morphological correlates of the first metacarpal proximal articular surface with manipulative capabilities in apes, humans, and South African early hominins. Comptes Rendus Palevol.

Nicholas, CL, Thalji, G, Richter, A. 2018. Childhood obesity and accelerated timing of dental maturation: A review. Forensic Anthropology. 1: 170-179.

Nicholas, CL, Kedavy, K, Holton, NE, Marshall, T, Richter, A, Southard, T. 2018. Childhood body mass index is associated with early dental development and eruption in a longitudinal sample from the Iowa Growth Study. American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.154: 78-87.