Penn Dental Medicine


Research Overview

Research Summary

Penn Dental Medicine has a rich history as a research intensive institution and continues to be an international leader in the generation of new knowledge and treatment modalities to improve oral health. 

As members of one of the world’s leading biomedical research communities, faculty from Penn Dental Medicine actively pursue interdisciplinary collaborations to advance the practice of dentistry. The University of Pennsylvania has top-ranked Schools in each of the health professions—Dental Medicine, Medicine, Nursing and Veterinary Medicine—located on a single, contiguous campus, as well as renowned Departments in Materials Sciences and Bioengineering (School of Engineering) and the basic sciences (School of Arts & Sciences). Interdisciplinary scholarship and translational research are hallmarks of the University and significantly enhance Penn Dental Medicine’s research enterprise.

Penn Dental Medicine places a high priority on research as it is a central component of excellence in instruction and patient care. With its own basic science faculty (unusual among dental schools nationwide), the School’s research enterprise is broad and encompasses many areas of contemporary biomedical investigation with emphasis on both basic and clinical scientific research.

Research within the School focuses on the structures and functions of tissues and fluids and microbial flora in the oral cavity. Investigations range from oral microbiology and virology, inflammation and immunity, tooth development, mucosal disease, salivary gland disease, orofacial pain and the use of analgesics and sedatives, to the cellular biology of connective tissues and bone, the application of state-of-the-art dental materials, the causes and effects of periodontal disease, the oral delivery of protein drugs, and the relationship between mesenchymal stem cells and orofacial diseases at the molecule and cellular levels. Collectively, Penn Dental Medicine’s research enterprise spans scientific disciplines to translate new knowledge into clinical therapies that expand our understanding of oral diseases and advance patient care.

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Research Programs

Among Penn Dental Medicine’s leading research programs are investigators studying basic and clinical science topics within periodontal disease, oral mucosal diseases and bone disorders, oral facial pain, advanced dental materials and devices, and oral and systemic health. Learn more »


Over the past five years, faculty within the basic and clinical sciences departments have published more than 630 research articles. Learn more »
View recent publications from Penn Dental Medicine faculty.


Dr. Dana Graves
Associate Dean for Translational Research

Research Overview

Program & Faculty Features

Research Review

Highlights from Penn Dental Medicine 2015 Research Conferences

Penn Dental Journal,

Fall 2015

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Orofacial Stem Cells

Baby Tooth Guided Songtao Shi to Stem Cell Insights

Penn Dental Journal,

Spring 2015

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The Robert Schattner Center
University of Pennsylvania
School of Dental Medicine
240 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6030