Brian Schutte, associate professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and Department of Pediatrics and Human Development. The goals of Schutte's research are to find genetic factors that lead to common health conditions. For example, cleft lip and palate is a common birth defect that effects 1/1000 newborns. The Schutte lab discovered rare mutations in a gene called IRF6 which causes inherited forms of cleft lip and palate. A common mutation in this gene increases the risk that a child will be born with cleft lip and palate.