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Updated 4:00 PM January 24, 2007




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Dentistry School No. 1 in federal institute's research grants

New figures released by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) show the School of Dentistry now is ranked No. 1 among the nation's dental schools in the dollar amount of research grants awarded by the institute.

Grants totaling more than $10.6 million were awarded during the federal government's fiscal year 2006 that began Oct. 1, 2005 and ended Sept. 30, 2006. In the two previous federal fiscal years, the school ranked second in research grants from NIDCR with awards of $11 million in 2005 and $11.4 million in 2004.

"It's gratifying to be ranked at the top and speaks volumes about this school," says Dean Dr. Peter Polverini. "It demonstrates what many of us have been proud to say for a long time, namely that throughout our history the University of Michigan School of Dentistry continues to be one of the nation's premier research institutions."

For more than a decade the school consistently has been among the top five or six dental schools in terms of the dollar amount of research grants received from NIDCR, the dean says. The research is designed to achieve two objectives—developing new knowledge in oral health sciences and applying that knowledge to improve the health and well being of patients, Polverini says.

NIDCR-funded research focuses on development of oral mucosal grafts; genetics of enamel and dentin; oral cancer prevention in underserved communities; gene therapy for reconstructing oral tissues; cell death pathways in oral tissues and oral cancer; molecular regulation of mineralized tissue regeneration; scaffolds for bone tissue engineering; molecular regulation of dental stem cells; and oral health disparities.

Dr. Charlotte Mistretta, associate dean for research, says faculty research strength in the school also garners support from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Deafness and other communication disorders, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. This funding, in addition to NIDCR grants, brings total National Institutes of Health research expenditures to more than $14 million for FY 2006.

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