UI College of Dentistry receives highest grant among U.S. dental schools


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Carrying a deep tradition that goes back to 28 years, the University of Iowa College of Dentistry received its second round of funding this year from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

The college has been awarded a $1.6 million five-year institutional training grant that will be used to provide training for both dentists, who would like to research further, and non-dentists, who are likely to come and work in the area.

“We have to look to the future, and this is a pipe-line grant, so we want to be an invaluable resource to Iowa and influence the direction of dentistry in this country and around the world,” said David Johnsen, the dean of the College of Dentistry.

It will cover tuition costs as the students earn Ph.D.s, support conferences to present their speeches, and money will go towards stipends.

The UI is one of nine dental schools in the country to receive the grant, and it has also received the highest scoring grant among other applicants.

Christopher Squier, a professor of the UI Department of Oral Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine, and Dows, said the reason the UI was awarded the grant is the many leaders that show “evidence” of the UI being a scholarly school.

“When we look at the people that we’ve trained, we have among them, a president associate dean for research,” he said. “We have the head of the Children’s Dentistry Department at the University of Washington in Seattle … we have faculty in leading universities across the country.”

However, the institute gave half as much in the  grant this year as it has in the past.

“I wrote to the director of [the institute], and she was apologetic, and that disturbed my concerns, but it didn’t make any difference to the funding,” he said.

Carol Fischer, one of the postdoctoral students who received a portion of the grant, said her current research is being funded by the grant.

But Fischer doesn’t intend to stop here. She is working on a grant proposal for herself to research individuals carrying a string of bacteria that causes infections.

“[Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus] causes a lot of infections and is difficult to treat it hospitals,” she said. “So some people carry these MRSA strains all the time, and some people don’t. My research will look into some of the reasons on why that’s the case.”

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