The concept for ASDCG took root in the early 2010s and came to fruition in 2023, when it was formally established by a dedicated group of dental professionals and educators. The ASDCG is based in the Department of Craniofacial Biology, Pathology, and Radiology at the University of Western Cape.

With an increasing number of dentists engaging in genetic studies, the society was formed to advance the understanding of genetic factors related to dental and craniofacial health in Africa.

Current Committee:

Professor Manogari Chetty   


 Professor Manogari Chetty is a board certified Oral and Maxillofacial Pathologist, and currently heads the Department of Craniofacial Biology, Pathology & Radiology. She is a full Professor at the Faculty of Dentistry and holds the  following qualifications: BSc; BChD; Hons BSc Dental Science: Oral Pathology; PDD: Interceptive Orthodontics; MChD: Oral and Maxillo-Facial Pathology; PhD: Human Genetics.

She is recognized nationally and internationally in the fields of Dental (Craniofacial) Genetics, and Non-communicable diseases, in particular Rare Diseases which manifest in the head and neck.

Having been introduced to the world of Human Genetics in 2012, several research projects within the field of genetics and molecular dentistry were initiated. This is the branch of dentistry that focuses on the effects that inherited genetic variation among individuals has on both risk of developing rare (e.g., orofacial clefting) and common (caries, periodontitis and head and neck cancer) dental diseases and disorders. Just as physicians envision a future of “personalized medicine” where the “one size fits all” model of diagnosis and treatment are a thing of the past; this same strategy is also emerging as the new field of “personalized dentistry.”

A dedicated research approach is employed by Prof Chetty which encourages the development of the ‘dentist-scientist’ within South Africa and Africa. Dentist/clinician-scientists are an essential conduit between the laboratory and clinic, who will lead active laboratory research programmes and understand the needs and practical realities of clinical dentistry. The urgent need for those involved in oral health research to participate in translational clinical research that will accelerate targeted scientific breakthroughs in the management of oral diseases in Africa is being addressed.

Dr. Salma Kabbashi


Dr. Kabbashi is one of the founding members of the African Society for Dental and Craniofacial Genetics (ASDCG). She works as a dentist at the Dental Genetics Clinic and serves as a lecturer at the Craniofacial Biology, Pathology, and Radiology department within the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Dr. Kabbashi is actively involved in managing various grants and projects within her department. She has received the 2023 IADR John Gray Fellowship from the International Association of Dental Research (IADR) in recognition of her contributions. Currently, Dr. Kabbashi is pursuing her PhD and focusing on understanding the genetic and microbial factors that impact periodontitis susceptibility in the South African population. Her ultimate goal is to create a reference panel for the genetic and microbial profiles of periodontitis patients in South Africa. Her interests encompass genetics, molecular biology, and bioinformatics.

Dr. Imaan Roomaney


Dr Roomaney is a lecturer and dentist within the Department of Craniofacial Biology, Pathology and Radiology at the UWC Faculty of Dentistry. She is currently registered for the PhD in Dentistry, focusing on increasing the scope of dentists to screen for dysmorphology using facial AI technology. She is a recipient of the SAMRC Clinician Researcher Scholarship Programme. Dr. Roomaney has a special interest in genetic conditions affecting the craniofacial complex and the dental management of those affected. She currently manages the UWC Craniofacial and Dental Genetics Clinic (UWC DGC).

Professor Azeez Butali

Dr. Azeez Butali is a Professor of Oral Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine and Professor in the Iowa Institute for Oral Health in the UI College of Dentistry; and the Gilbert Lily endowed Professor of Diagnostic Sciences. He holds secondary appointments as Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, and the Iowa Institute for Human Genetics. 

Dr. Butali is a member of NIDCR National Advisory Council Working Group for Dental, Oral and Craniofacial workforce diversity, a mentor for the American Association for Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Research Mentoring and Inclusive Network for a Diverse Workforce of the Future, a member of the Smile Train Research and Innovations Advisory Council, a member of the Nominating Committee of the American Society for Human Genetics, Director of the International Association for Dental Research Craniofacial Biology Group, a standing member of the NIH Genetics of Health and Diseases study section, and a member of the American Cleft Palate Association 2022-2023 task force.

He is also a reviewer for National Science Foundation of Poland, Swiss National Science Foundation, South African National Research Foundation and the NIH-College of Medicine, University of Lagos Building Research, and Innovations (BRAINS) grant applications. Dr Butali is a reviewer for over 30 peer-reviewed journals, and currently serves as Section Editor for Frontiers in Dental Medicine.

He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (FAAAS), a Fellow of the Academy of Medicine Specialties of Nigeria (FAMedS), and Fellow of the International College of Dentists (FICD). He is a recipient of the 2022 University of Iowa International Student Graduation Faculty recognition award, 2023 SCADA Faculty Adviser Award, and the 2023 University of Iowa Leadership in Research Award.

As PI and Co-I on NIH and Private Foundation grant, he has received several grant funding. He led AfriCRAN to publish the first genetic study for non-syndromic clefts in Africa, conduct the first Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) for clefting in the African population and to conduct the first and second whole genome sequencing (WGS) for orofacial clefts in African population His lab discovered CTNNA2 and SULT2A as cleft palate candidate genes and AFDN as clefting gene through GWAS and WGS. He has published over 90 articles indexed in PubMed with an H-index of 27 in Google scholar and presented over 200 abstracts at National and International meetings. His lab is leading the research on the genetics, genomics, and ELSI of orofacial clefts in African populations. Dr Butali is currently leading efforts to translate discovery to health and the prevention of clefts.

Professor Tandi Matsha-Erasmus

Dr Matsha holds a PhD in Medical Biochemistry. She is currently the Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) for Academic and Research at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU), South Africa. She is also the Founding Director of the South African Medical Research Council Cardiometabolic Health Research Unit at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town. She was also the recipient of the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) from the National Research Foundation which she had to relinquish upon accepting the position of DVC: Academic and Research at SMU. Her research unit has carried out important studies on the prevalence and molecular determinants of diabetes and other cardiovascular risk factors in people of mixed ancestry who are in the majority in Cape Town. She has a growing list of publications having published over 150 publications academic papers in peer-reviewed journals, 3 book chapters, 2 Novel SNP database entries and 1 patent. Dr Matsha has achieved a high professional standing in her field having been awarded a number of honours, including the 2018/2019 NSTF-South32 Awards which recognizes outstanding contributions to science, engineering and technology (SET) and innovation in South Africa. She was evaluated by the National Research Foundation and was awarded a C1 rating which is given to established researchers with international standing. In addition to her academic work and the training of postgraduate students in medical research, she has contributed to several initiatives that promote the participation of women in science at institutional, regional and national levels.