Dr. Willmores' research is focused on gaining a greater understanding of the evolution and development of the mammalian craniofacial complex. She address this broad topic through quantitative studies of both mouse and primate skulls to discover and explain patterns of phenotypic variation. From these patterns she attempts to determine the developmental processes that bias the amount and direction of the variation observed. The goal of such work is to inform our understanding of cranial evolution by uncovering the developmental determinants that either constrain or drive morphological change.
Much of her research is interdisciplinary, working with molecular and cellular biologists that study models of dysmorphology and disease.