Dr. Modupe Coker Joins Penn Dental Medicine as Assistant Dean of Clinical and Translational Research


Dr. Modupe Coker

Philadelphia – After a national search, Penn Dental Medicine welcomes Dr. Modupe Coker as Assistant Dean of Clinical and Translational Research and Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of Basic and Translational Sciences.  Her faculty appointment is officially effective July 1, and she will transition into both roles full-time starting August 1.  In her role as Assistant Dean, Dr. Coker will lead the School’s Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR) to support the growing research portfolio of Penn Dental Medicine.

“We believe Dr. Coker’s experience supporting research activities across disciplines will be a tremendous resource here at Penn Dental Medicine,” says Morton Amsterdam Dean Dr. Mark S. Wolff. “We are excited to have her bring her leadership to the CCTR team.”

Dr. Coker comes to Penn Dental Medicine from Rutgers University School of Dental Medicine, where since 2019, she has served as an Assistant Professor of Oral Biology. While at Rutgers, Dr. Coker established a research program and mentored more than 20 master’s and doctoral-level students. She also served as a university-wide program director and was heavily involved in mentorship programs. Additionally, she has held concurrent adjunct faculty appointments in clinical instruction at multiple institutions, including Rutgers University, School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Department of Biochemistry and Biological Sciences; Dartmouth University Geisel School of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology; Clemson University, Department of Biological Sciences; and the International Research Center of Excellence, Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria.

Dr. Coker’s research focuses on characterizing the effect of early-life infections (including HIV/AIDS), behavioral and environmental factors on microbial composition in the context of oral/dental disease. Her lab is currently funded through three NIH grants focusing on HIV-associated oral microbiome and pediatric clinical studies related to caries, oral HPV persistence, and infant gut microbiome. By investigating shifts in the microbiome, she hopes to understand how its modulation might present an important therapeutic target to improving overall health, particularly in young children. In addition, she is motivated by questions related to disease causality and the rigorous epidemiologic methods used to address them.

Dr. Coker holds a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (2015), a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (2007), and a Bachelor of Dental Surgery from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria (2004).