Schmidt Lab

Brian L. Schmidt DDS, MD, PhD, FACS  

Brian L. Schmidt, DDS, MD, PhD

NYU Dentistry Translational Research Center
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
NYU College of Dentistry
Department of Neuroscience and Physiology
NYU Grossman School of Medicine


Brian L. Schmidt earned a DDS, MD, and PhD from the University of California, San Francisco. After completing residencies in general surgery and oral and maxillofacial surgery he completed a fellowship in head and neck surgery at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland Oregon. Dr. Schmidt was appointed to a faculty position in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) in 2002. The majority of his clinical effort at UCSF involved surgical treatment of patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma. Early in his career at UCSF, Dr. Schmidt established a scientific program to investigate the neurobiologic mechanisms responsible for oral cancer pain. His laboratory has been funded continuously by the NIH since 2005. Dr. Schmidt’s efforts as an educator were formally recognized at UCSF when he was awarded the 2008 UCSF Academic Senate Distinction in Teaching Award. In 2010 Dr. Schmidt was recruited to New York University (NYU), College of Dentistry to direct a basic science laboratory focused on the neurobiology of oral cancer pain and to direct the NYU Dentistry Translational Research Center. That same year he was honored with the New York University Emery A. Rovenstine Award for Excellence in Pain Medicine. In 2013 he founded the NYU Oral Cancer Center which he also directs. He has served as principal investigator on thirteen NIH funded oral cancer-related preclinical and clinical studies; his research is also funded by the DoD and private donors.

Most of the oral cancer patients that Dr. Schmidt treats suffer with debilitating cancer pain. Aside from issues of survival, pain control is the greatest concern of many of his cancer patients. Through his scientific work Dr. Schmidt seeks to develop a non-opioid pharmacologic strategy to alleviate cancer pain. Most of Dr. Schmidt’s research pertains to pain generated during routine functions such as eating and speaking. A large percentage of patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma are afflicted with this form of pain. Pain during function is also a burden to millions of Americans who suffer with pain and dysfunction related to conditions such as temporomandibular disorders, myositis in the muscles of mastication (chewing muscles) and pulpitis. To scientifically quantifiy and characterize this form of pain, Dr. Schmidt and his colleagues have invented and patented assays to precisely measure behavioral indices of orofacial pain and dysfunction secondary to pain. Building on these novel measures of orofacial pain and dysfuntion, Dr. Schmidt has developed models that more accurately reflect the clinical problems observed in orall cancer patients. Findings from Dr. Schmidt’s Cancer Pain laboratory have been reported in more than 150 scientific papers, reviews and chapters. This work holds potential to improve the quality of life for millions of Americans.  

Representative Publications

Complete listing available on the NYU Health Sciences Library site.