Dolan Lab

John C. Dolan MA, DDS, MS

John C. Dolan MA, DDS, MS

Assistant Research Professor
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Associate Director of Research and Development
Bluestone Center for Clinical Research
NYU College of Dentistry


As a University of California Regents’ Scholar, Dr. Dolan earned a DDS From the University of California San Francisco (UCSF class of 2007). In 2004 he began investigating oral cancer pain in Dr. Brian Schmidt’s UCSF cancer pain laboratory where he invented and patented a method (patent #8,343,077) to quantify an index of orofacial pain in rodents and a device termed a dolognawmeter (patent #8,628,484) to perform the assay. His automated, high throughput device records the time used by a rodent to complete a discrete gnawing task (gnaw through a soft polymer dowel to procure escape from a tube). Gnawing dysfunction relative to baseline values is employed as a behavioral index of orofacial nociception. Dr. Dolan was awarded first place in the graduate division of the 2007 National Collegiate Inventors Competition for invention of the dolognawmeter. His research on orofacial pain also garnered the American Association of Orthodontists Award for Outstanding Study of the Oro-facial Complex in 2007. After earning a dental degree, Dr. Dolan stayed at UCSF to earn an MS in oral and craniofacial biology and complete a three-year orthodontic residency. With the support of NIH grant R21 DE018561, Drs. Dolan and Schmidt validated the gnawing assay and device using analgesic (morphine or NSAIDS) reversal of nociceptive behavior. This work proved that a dolognawmeter quantifies an objective, operant behavioral index of orofacial nociception in three mouse models: temporomandibular disorder, masticatory myositis, and oral cancer (Journal of Neuroscience Methods 2010).

In 2010 Drs. Dolan and Schmidt accepted full time positions at NYU. They continue to collaborate on preclinical and clinical research on oral cancer pain. They have published eight manuscripts describing studies that use dolognawmeters in parallel to quantify pain-induced orofacial dysfunction. This work includes novel mouse models of acute and chronic oral cancer nociception (Journal of Neuroscience 2012). The American Association of Orthodontists Foundation funded additional development of the dolognawmeter with a Faculty Development Award in 2012 and a Willie and Earl Shepard Fellowship Award in 2014 - a plaudit for the most meritorious Orthodontic Faculty Development Fellowship Award application. More recently Dr. Dolan collaborated with Dr. Ashok Kulkarni’s lab at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to quantify gnawing dysfunction with dolognawmeters in a genetic pulpitis/osteitis mouse model, and separately in a salivary gland inflammation model. In 2018 Dr. Dolan founded Gnatheon Scientific LLC ( to design and mass produce dolognawmeters; commercialization will expedite and improve orofacial pain research in a wide variety of pathologic models.

Representative Publications

Complete listing available on the NYU Health Sciences Library site.