Dr. earned her PhD in Craniofacial Biology at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Dentistry and her BA in Biochemistry at the University of California at San Diego. She was the recipient of National Institute of Dental Research Fellowships during both her pre-doctoral and post-doctoral studies. In 1986, she joined the faculty at USC School of Dentistry as a Research Assistant Professor at the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology. In 1993, she joined the faculty at UTHSCSA, in 1998 she was promoted to Professor with tenure, and in 1999 became the Dental School's first Associate Dean for Research. Dr. MacDougall's research centers on the molecular mechanisms associated with tooth formation, tissue-specific cytodifferentiation, extracellular matrix formation, tooth regeneration, and related human genetic dental diseases. Her research in craniofacial genetics and biomimetics has been funded continuously since 1985 by the NIH/NIDCR.
Currently, she is serving as President-elect of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) and director of a $5.5 million NIDCR program project grant investigating the molecular basis of tooth-specific gene regulation. In 2001, Dr. MacDougall received the IADR Distinguished Scientist Pulp Biology Research Award, and in 2003, the National AADR Student Research Group Mentor of the Year Award. In 2000, Dr. MacDougall initiated the outreach program called "Dental Student Training in Academics and Research (DƒºSTAR)", an early-intervention program targeting minority students to careers in dental academics. In 2002, she became the director of the dental schools training program "Craniofacial Oral-biology Student Training in Academic Research" (COƒºSTAR), funded by the NIDCR at just under $4.0 million dollars. Her research has been featured in several publications, including Reader's Digest and Men's Health, as well as on several TV programs, including Discovery Health Channel's "The Painless Dentist".
The IADR Basic Research in Biological Mineralization Award, supported by Unilever Oral Care and consisting of a cash award and a plaque, is designed to stimulate, encourage, and recognize basic research in the field of biological mineralization. As one of the Distinguished Scientist Awards conferred annually by the IADR, it represents the highest honor the IADR can bestow.