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University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine Announces Research Funding and Achievements

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 19, 2010 – The University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine faculty and staff often are honored by prestigious organizations for their achievements and exceptional leadership. The following individuals are among those who recently have been recognized with research grants and awards.

  • Joseph Giovannitti Jr., D.M.D., director of anesthesia services, Center for Patients with Special Needs, and associate professor and acting chairman, Department of Dental Anesthesiology, was named president of the American Dental Board of Anesthesiology. Dr. Giovannitti will serve in this role through March 2010.
  • Edward Heinrichs, D.M.D., assistant professor, Department of Periodontics and Preventive Dentistry, has been named to faculty membership of Omicron Kappa Upsilon, a national dental honor society. Faculty membership is bestowed upon dental school faculty who have made an outstanding contribution to the art, science or literature of dentistry, along with at least six years of teaching experience.
  • Mary Marazita, Ph.D., director, Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics, professor and vice chair, Department of Oral Biology, and associate dean, Office of Research, was granted nearly $3 million from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research for her work on the genetics of cleft lip and palate. Dr. Marazita’s research will focus on laying the groundwork to improve the ability to identify genes, genetic counseling in families with cleft lip and palate, and will eventually lead to improved therapies for these birth defects.
  • Herbert Ray, D.M.D., visiting assistant professor, Department of Restorative Dentistry and Comprehensive Care, and interim director, Endodontic Residency Program, was named a fellow of the International College of Dentists. The College serves to advance the art and science of dentistry for the health and welfare of patients across the world.
  • Titus Schleyer, D.M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Dental Public Health and Information Management, and director, Center for Dental Informatics, was named a fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI). The ACMI is a college of elected fellows from across the world who have made significant and sustained contributions to the field of medical informatics. Dr. Schleyer is 1 of only 5 dentists ever to be elected to ACMI.
  • Heiko Spallek, D.M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Dental Public Health and Information Management, was named a fellow of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Leadership Institute. The ADEA Leadership Institute is a year-long program designed to develop the nation’s most promising individuals at academic dental institutions to become future leaders in dental and higher education. Dr. Spallek will graduate from the program in March 2010.
  • Alexandre Vieira, D.D.S., Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Oral Biology, and director, Dental Registry and DNA Repository, was awarded a $1.9 million grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research for his project on the genetics of caries, or cavities. Dr. Vieira’s work will examine genes that control enamel formation, saliva function or composition, and immune response.

About the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine

Established in 1896 as an independent institution named the Pittsburgh Dental College, the School of Dental Medicine was incorporated into the University of Pittsburgh in 1905. The school offers a four-year Predoctoral Program leading to a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree, an International and Advanced Standing Program for graduates of foreign dental schools, and post-graduate residency programs in ten disciplines. The School of Dental Medicine offers the only dental hygiene certificate program in Pennsylvania affiliated with a major university, in addition to a dental hygiene baccalaureate degree program. The School of Dental Medicine’s comprehensive clinical offerings include the new Multidisciplinary Implant Center and the Center for Patients with Special Needs, one of the few centers in the U.S. dedicated to training future dentists to care for patients with disabilities. Recognized for excellence in research, the School of Dental Medicine ranked 13th in National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research funding for fiscal year 2008. For more information about the School of Dental Medicine, visit www.dental.pitt.edu

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