Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Resources

Information on the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on patient care and School/University operations. Plus, resources for the Penn Dental Medicine community and alumni.

Menu Toggle

Research Day

Penn Dental Medicine Research Day 2021 was held virtually on Thursday, May 13, 2021.

Research Day is an annual event that brings faculty and students together to share their research activities with one another and spotlight the depth of the School’s research enterprise at Penn Dental Medicine.

The day includes a program of presentations by faculty and two invited speakers, along with oral presentations, representing DMD-student and faculty and junior investigator research.

In addition, student and junior investigator research will be recognized with the selection of the 2021 AADR Travel Grants. The AADR Travel Grant program was launched by Penn Dental Medicine in 2014 to build opportunities to advance ongoing research and leadership among students and junior researchers; recipients will attend and present their work at the 2022 AADR/CADR Annual Meeting & Exhibition to be held in Atlanta, GA, March 23-26, 2022.

Research Day 2021

Research Day 2021 was held virtually — view highlights of the day’s program:

Rena D’Souza, DDS, MS, PhD

Director, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

Dr. Rena N. D’Souza is the director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. She oversees NIDCR’s annual budget of more than $475 million, which supports basic, translational, and clinical research in areas of oral cancer, orofacial pain, tooth decay, periodontal disease, salivary gland dysfunction, craniofacial development and disorders and the oral complications of systemic diseases.

A licensed dentist, Dr. D’Souza is recognized for her research in craniofacial development, genetics, tooth development, and regenerative dental medicine. Prior to joining NIH, Dr. D’Souza was the assistant vice president for academic affairs and education for health sciences at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. There she also served as a professor of dentistry, the Ole and Marty Jensen chair of the School of Dentistry and professor of neurobiology and anatomy, pathology and surgery in the School of Medicine and the department of biomedical engineering. In 2012, Dr. D’Souza was selected to be the inaugural dean of the University of Utah’s School of Dentistry. She is a devoted mentor and champion of diversity in the biomedical research workforce. Since 1985, she has served as a volunteer dentist for women in need and people struggling with homelessness in Salt Lake City, Dallas and Houston.

D’Souza received her bachelor’s degree in dental surgery from the University of Bombay, India, after which she completed her general practice residency. She earned her DDS, PhD, and master’s degree in pathology/biomedical sciences from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.

Mark C. Herzberg, DDS, PhD

Professor, Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Minnesota

Mark Herzberg is Professor, Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Minnesota and Director Emeritus of the NIH-supported Minnesota Craniofacial Research Training Program. He is former Associate Director of the University of Minnesota Clinical and Translational Science Institute. He directs a research program focused on host-pathogen interactions, with a serendipitous diversion into cancer biology.

Mark obtained his BA in literature in 1967 from the State University College, Oneonta, NY and an MS in English Education in 1969 from the City College of New York. From 1967 to 1969, he taught English in a New York City public school. In 1973 he obtained his DDS degree from New York University. Subsequently he obtained a PhD in Oral Biology and a Specialty Certificate in Periodontics from the State University of New York at Buffalo, both in 1978. In addition to his academic responsibilities in the School of Dentistry, he supports the education of PhD students as a member of the graduate faculties in Oral Biology and Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology. He has held Visiting Fellow and Professorial positions at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (1984), the Department of Experimental Oral Biology, University of Otago, New Zealand (1991 and 1994), the Faculty of Dentistry of the University of Sydney (2009) and the University of British Columbia (2009), and the Sanford, Burnham, Prebys Discovery Institute, La Jolla, CA. He was a regular member of the NIH/Oral Biology and Medicine Study Section from 1991 to 1995, the American Cancer Society Institutional Review Committee from 1985 to 2009, and other NIH and national scientific review committees. In 1992, he was elected Fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his research work on molecular basis of infective endocarditis and in 1995 he received the Distinguished Scientist Award in Oral Biology from the International Association for Dental Research. From 1993 to 2004, Mark was editor of the Journal of Dental Research. Mark was a member of the National Advisory Dental and Craniofacial Research Council, NIDCR (9/03-9/06) and a member (Chair, 2010-12) of the Board of Scientific Councilors of NIDCR, 2007-2012. In 2018, he was elected to be Vice President of the American Association for Dental Research and currently serves as President (2020-2021).

Mark maintains an active research program, which currently focuses on survival mechanisms of the commensal oral streptococci and the role of mucosal epithelial cells in protection against infection. Recent studies have built the Herzberg group’s characterization of innate immune functions of mucosal epithelial cells and have serendipitously led to the discovery of a novel tumor suppressor in head and neck cancer. His laboratory has characterized the molecular basis of streptococcal interaction with the human platelets. His group has extended this work to the study of the molecular pathophysiology of infective endocarditis and thrombogenicity in response to oral streptococci. Conducted with his students and postdoctoral fellows, research from the Herzberg lab has been the subject of numerous research reports published in the peer-reviewed literature.

Interested in attending Penn Dental Medicine? Admissions