Global Health Nexus, Winter 2004

NIDCR Director Argues for Multidisciplinary Training in a Post-Genomic Age

In a talk at NYU Dentistry entitled “The Post-Genomic Era Enters the Mouth,” NIDCR Director Dr. Lawrence Tabak told students and faculty that dental schools should make it a priority to recruit students who are interested in scientific inquiry, and should partner with schools of medicine, engineering, and public health to ensure that dentists are trained in multidisciplinary research in order to understand the many factors contributing to oral, craniofacial, and dental diseases. “Science must be valued throughout all four years of the curriculum,” he said, “it cannot be something to be ‘gotten over with’ before getting into the clinic.”

“Multidisciplinary research is also essential,” he added, “if dentistry is to play a role in follow-up studies emerging from the Human Genome Project, such as the effort to detect cancer through DNA analysis of saliva.”

Associate Dean for Research Dr. Louis Terracio, whose office sponsored Dr. Tabak’s presentation, noted that the NIDCR recently awarded NYU Dentistry a $147,500 grant to analyze approaches to expand its recruitment and training of researchers and its collaborations with other schools and research institutions.