Thanks to a growing research enterprise, the University of Louisville School of Dentistry ranks 13th nationally in the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research funding for 2016 — a jump from 17th in the previous year.
“The UofL School of Dentistry is punching above its weight in securing National Institutes of Health research grants. This is an amazing achievement and a reflection of the tireless efforts of the talented research faculty,” said Dean T. Gerard Bradley, BDS, MS, DrMedDent.
Bradley says despite increased competition and tighter budgets, the school’s NIDCR research income exceeds $4 million. The ranking puts UofL’s School of Dentistry higher than a number of larger institutions such as The Ohio State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Washington and State University of New York at Buffalo.
The success, he says, is a tangible outcome of a long-term strategic plan to increase the national and international stature of dental research, and basic science is integrated throughout the teaching and clinical missions of school. The research intensive Department of Oral Immunology and Infectious Disease, created by former dental dean John J. Sauk, DDS, MS, in 2015 drives extramurally-funded endeavors.
“We have built a thematic research program that allows individual projects to be supported by several faculty with complementary expertise,” said Richard J. Lamont, PhD, chair of the Department of Oral Immunology and Infectious Diseases and Delta Dental Endowed Professor.
“Researchers are only successful when supported by the clinicians and administration,” said Donald R. Demuth, PhD, associate dean for research and a multi-funded basic and translational investigator. “It is evident that the overall culture of a school makes a significant contribution to research progress.”
Bradley says many challenges lie ahead in the harsh funding climate, but the school has positioned itself to remain competitive.
“Through the recent recruitment of two outstanding assistant professors, Huizhi Wang, PhD, and Juhi Bagaitkar, PhD, and the addition of Lisa Sandell, PhD, to the Department of Oral Immunology and Infectious Disease, we maintain optimism about future growth” he said.
The School of Dentistry’s research advancement is consistent with increased national and international recognition, as faculty publish papers in high impact journals, serve on editorial boards and grant review panels, and receive invitations to speak at international conferences.