Laura Jacox, DMD, PhD, MS

Assistant Professor


  • MS, Orthodontics, UNC Adams School of Dentistry, 2019
  • DMD, Harvard University School of Dental Medicine, Harvard Graduate School of the Arts and Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology, 2016
  • PhD, Harvard University School of Dental Medicine, Harvard Graduate School of the Arts and Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology, 2015
  • BS, Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2008
  • BS, Earth, Atmosphere and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2008

Research Interests

Orthodontics, speech distortions in jaw surgery patients, shifts in oral microbiome, technology adoption, dental anxiety and animal assisted therapy, autophagy, childhood obesity, growth and development, COVID-19

Research Summary

My interest and research background in craniofacial development guided me towards orthodontics as a dental specialty. In orthodontics, I merge my love of clinical practice with substantial research, with each pursuit informing and inspiring the other. The primary focus of my research program has been on longitudinal clinical studies of speech distortions in jaw surgery patients. The other focus of my lab is on social science research in dentistry, including qualitative methods (interviews, focus groups) and quantitative approaches (survey development) investigating trends in orthodontics. As part of the COVID-19 research response, we are studying antiseptic mouthrinses for their ability to limit salivary viral infectivity. Finally, we are exploring applications of animal-assisted therapy for management of dental anxiety in pediatric dental populations.

Available to Mentor
Undergraduate/college student, graduate student, undergraduate DDS or DH student, postdoc and/or junior faculty member

Through Jacox’s graduate work in the Sive Lab at MIT’s Whitehead Institute, she discovered a novel craniofacial organizer, known as the Extreme Anterior Domain, which is required for mouth formation and migration of cranial neural crest in Xenopus. Her love of craniofacial development and patient care guided her to orthodontics.

During residency, she began a major clinical study on the influence of jaw disharmonies on speech with linguistics and speech pathology collaborators.

As an orthodontics faculty member at the Adams School of Dentistry, she established a lab and independent research program to support residents. Since then, her projects have continued to grow with external funding from the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and American Association of Orthodontics Foundation.

She has presented at numerous national and international meetings. Jacox has six accepted and published manuscripts, with four additional papers in the areas of craniofacial development, speech pathology, jaw disharmonies and orthodontics planned for submission this spring.