Center For Oral Biology Wins Major Training Grant Renewal

June 20, 2007

The Center for Oral Biology within the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry has been awarded $4 million to expand its renowned training program for oral biologists and dentist-scientists. New, cross-disciplinary training programs will focus on the basic mechanisms that underlie oral diseases to help students prepare for careers within academia, government and industry.

The curriculum for the “Training Program in Oral Science” will be an integration of basic science research and clinical practice. Programs will focus on the recruitment of dentists who wish to pursue Ph.D. and dentist-Ph.D. degrees, and who want to engage in post-doctoral training. A major component of the program will recruit dental students who wish to coordinate their clinical training with Ph.D. research studies into a joint DMD-DDS/PhD program (DSTP).

“A greater number of clinician-scientists who can effectively respond to the growing opportunities in dental, oral and craniofacial research must be generated for society to take advantage of the dramatic advances being made in the biomedical sciences,” said James E. Melvin, D.D.S., Ph.D., director of the Center for Oral Biology and professor of Pharmacology and Physiology. “We intend to be at the forefront of that recruitment effort because of our leadership position in these fields and because of the urgency of the need.”

The training grant (T32) is from the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research, part of the National Institutes of Health. It results from a successful collaboration between the School’s Center for Oral Biology, and its departments of Pharmacology and Physiology, Microbiology & Immunology, Biomedical Genetics, Dentistry, Medicine and Dermatology.

As part of the program, the School of Medicine and Dentistry will offer its highly regarded Ph.D. programs to undergraduate students at partnering dental schools at the University of Puerto Rico and Marquette University. These dental schools have excellent clinical programs, but no Ph.D. level training.

“We are tremendously excited about the new center as a powerful example of innovative education in translational science,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. “More and more we are seeing that oral diseases are linked with other major diseases. The training of dentists to conduct basic and translational research in oral biology will accelerate improvements in oral health.”

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