Polverini to return as head of School of Dentisty
Former U-M dentistry department chair Dr. Peter Polverini, now a dean
at the University of Minnesota, has been recommended as the new leader
for the U-M School of Dentistry. The announcement was made Jan. 17 by
President Mary Sue Coleman and Provost Paul N. Courant.
Polverini’s appointment as dean of the dental school will be effective
on or before July 1, pending approval by the Board of Regents. He also
will be appointed as a professor of dentistry with tenure. Polverini currently
serves as dean of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry.
“Peter Polverini brings a wealth of experience in both research
administration and dental education,” Courant says. “I am
delighted he is returning to the University of Michigan as dean, and look
forward to working with him to continue and extend the tradition of greatness
of our dental school.”
“The U-M is fortunate to have found a leader with the outstanding
credentials Polverini brings to the dental school,” Coleman says.
“His pioneering work in angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels),
and its relation to cancer and other diseases, has earned him a stellar
In 1992 Polverini came to the U-M as a professor of dentistry and chief
of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. He was appointed chair of the Department
of Oral Medicine/Pathology/Surgery in 1995, and a year later became chair
of the Department of Oral Medicine/Pathology/Oncology. In 1996 he also
was awarded the Donald A. Kerr Endowed Collegiate Professorship.
"Dr. Polverini is a highly and widely respected researcher and scholar,”
Dean William Kotowicz says. “We are delighted to have he and his
wife, Carol, returning to Ann Arbor. He has the perspective and experience
to help advance the School of Dentistry in the coming years, both on this
campus and nationally. His knowledge of the school and the University
will enable him to get a quick start in his role as dean.”
Polverini says while getting closer to family and friends was part of
the motivation for returning to U-M, his desire to continue active research
also was in the forefront of his decision.
“Returning to Michigan gives me the opportunity to be in a world-class
academic institution where there is freedom to be creative at a level
not possible in many other institutions,” Polverini says. “U-M
is a resource-rich environment.”
As dean, he says his first priority will be to engage faculty in discussions
about the school’s future.
“I am a firm believer in the concept of service leadership, and
my goal will be to make sure faculty are successful,” he says.
Polverini was chosen from a rich pool of candidates, says Search Committee
Chair Dr. Laurie McCauley, professor of dentistry and chair of the Department
“We were looking for a leader who could successfully approach the
challenges of running a complex program that involves not only research
but extensive teaching and patient care,” McCauley says. “Peter
Polverini is an outstanding candidate who has a breadth of strengths.
He has an impressive record of scholarly accomplishments and brings a
wealth of experience in administering the multifaceted aspects of an academic
program in dentistry.”
Polverini’s career began at the University of Pittsburgh School
of Dental Medicine in 1977, where he served as an assistant professor
in the Department of Diagnostic and Surgical Sciences. In 1981 he was
recruited to Northwestern University Medical and Dental School. While
at Northwestern, Polverini directed the Laboratory of Diagnostic Oral
and Maxillofacial Pathology, helped organize a graduate Ph.D. program
in oral and maxillofacial pathology, and developed the Northwestern University
Dental School undergraduate dental student research program.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a D.D.S. from Marquette
University. He completed specialty training in oral and maxillofacial
pathology at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and was awarded the
doctor of medical sciences degree from the Harvard Medical School.
Polverini is on the editorial board of Laboratory Investigation and the
Journal of Oral Pathology and Medicine, and is an associate editor of
the journal Angiogenesis. He is a charter member of the National Cancer
Institute’s Subcommittee C, Basic and Preclinical Sciences review
committee. Polverini also has an active National Institutes of Health-funded
research program that focuses on angiogenic signaling pathways, gene expression,
and cell survival mechanisms pertinent to tumor development and angiogenesis-dependent
The appointment of Polverini follows a 10-month search to replace Kotowicz,
who was to finish his term in July but agreed to stay until a new dean
"The School of Dentistry and the entire University community are
grateful for Dean Kotowicz's leadership, which has spanned over two decades,”
Courant says. “He has been instrumental in restructuring the school
to its current stature in research and academic programs." Courant
went on to express his appreciation to Kotowicz for his willingness to
extend his term until the appointment of a new dean.