Penn Dental Expanding Global Engagement in China


Dean Kinane with President Amy Gutmann and the deans from other Penn schools at the Penn Wharton China Center in Beijing.

Penn Dental Medicine is continuing to expand its global engagement in China as one of the first recipients of the Penn China Research and Engagement Fund (CREF) awards. Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price announced the inaugural Penn CREF grants on September 10 in conjunction with the David and Lyn Silfen University Forum in Beijing, part of a weeklong series of events marking the first 100 days of the Penn Wharton China Center, which opened in March 2015. Representing Penn Dental Medicine in Beijing was Dean Denis Kinane; Dr. Dana Graves, Vice Dean for Research & Scholarship; Dr. Syngcuk Kim, Associate Dean for Global Affairs; and Dr. Songtao Shi, Professor and Chair, Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology.

“Penn’s engagement in China via research, academic and student exchanges, and broad partnerships with Chinese institutions benefits Penn’s campus and community and enhances global understanding and discovery by bringing the world to Penn and Penn to the world,” said President Gutmann when announcing the CREF awards.

The inaugural Penn CREF grants, totaling nearly $3.8 million during the first three years of the fund, support 16 projects involving researchers across Penn’s 12 schools and also six centers and institutes, which are working in collaboration with 35 Chinese institutional partners, as well as more than 10 organizations worldwide.

Penn Dental Medicine’s CREF grant, Advancing Research and Clinical Practice in China, will support the development of high-level research symposia on bone, biofilm, and stem cells as well as conferences on the delivery of dental care to China’s vast population.

“For its 1.3 billion population, China has approximately 200,000 dentists in comparison with the U.S. where there are approximately 150,000 dentists for 300 million,” notes Dr. Syngcuk Kim, who is principal investigator of the grant. “Dental care delivery is a critical issue, and it’s timely to bring together leaders in organized dentistry and academicians in China and the U.S. to address this topic. The exchange of ideas and demonstrating our past experiences and current dental care through such a forum may play an important role in shaping the future of dental care delivery in China.”

The Chinese partners on the grant include Sichuan University (West China College of Stomatology); Peking University School and Hospital of Stomatology (Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery); Wuhan University (School of Stomatology); Fourth Military Medical University (School of Stomatology); and Drum Tower Clinical Medical College of Nanjing Medical University (Department of Rheumatology and Immunology).

The other Penn partners on the grant include Perelman School of Medicine (Center for Targeted Therapeutics and Translational Nanomedicine; Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Diseases) and the School of Engineering and Applied Science (Departments of Bioengineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering). The co-principal investigators from Penn Dental Medicine are Dr. Songtao Shi, Dr. Dana Graves, and Dr. Hyun Koo, Professor of Orthodontics.

As part of the week’s related events in Beijing, Penn Dental Medicine presented the Penn Dental Medicine Orofacial Stem Cell Research Summit on September 12 at the Penn Wharton China Center. The program featured faculty from Penn Dental Medicine as well as leading researchers from throughout China.

“This summit marked the first collaborative research symposium between Penn Dental Medicine and our MOU partner institutions in China,” said Dr. Kim “and we look forward to building on this through the CREF grant.”