Spring 2016 - Dean's Message

Posted on: Friday, 06/24/2016

Dear Students, Faculty, Residents, Trainees, Staff and Friends,

Thank you for taking the time to read this year’s spring eNewsletter. This is an especially sentimental message for me to write as tomorrow, June 30, will be my last day as the standing dean. I will pass the torch to Dr. Paul Krebsbach who is one of the nation’s leading researchers in tissue engineering and stem cell biology and a respected academic leader. He comes to us from the University of Michigan, where he was a faculty member since 1996. He held the Roy H. Roberts Professor of Dentistry chair and a Professor of Biomedical Engineering. For over 10 years, he also served as Chair of the Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences and Division of Prosthodontics.

I know that I am leaving the dental school in very capable hands with Dr. Krebsbach and look forward to seeing all of the many accomplishments and improvements that will occur under his leadership. I have decided to remain on faculty as a Dean Emeritus in the Division of Constitutive and Regenerative Sciences. I will take an in-house sabbatical year and then will continue teaching and conducting research in the fields of cancer and aging. As I’ve mentioned before, the successes during my tenure as dean wouldn’t have been possible without the talent and dedication of the students, faculty, staff, donors, and friends. I want to thank everyone for all of their help, guidance, dedication, and loyalty to me and to this school.

On that note, I invite you to read further about the many newsworthy items and events that have occurred over the last four months. On June 5, we held the 49th Commencement Ceremony where we heard Chancellor Gene Block give an inspirational keynote speech. We also recognized Dr. Paulo Camargo as the 2016 Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year at the ceremony.

Many of our faculty authored exciting research papers, including the personalization of drug dosages and combinations to best treat liver transplant patients; the discovery that e-cigarette vapors can be toxic to the oral cavity; and the detection of lung cancer mutations in saliva.

We also completed major renovations to the clinic lobby and the academic building lobby.  Numerous improvements were made to the spaces, including new glass doors, new entry doors, and a new registration area in the clinic lobby to name a few. The UCLA Dental Clinics also transitioned to axiUm – a robust clinic information and patient care management software that will greatly enhance clinic operations.

Many of our faculty members received accolades for their professional accomplishments. Dr. Flavia Pirih will be promoted to Associate Professor with tenure on July 1; Dr. Ting-Ling Chang was honored with a Distinguished Teaching Award for Non-Senate Faculty by the UCLA Academic Senate Committee on Teaching; Dr. Wenyuan Shi was invited to the White House to participate in the National Microbiome Initiative; and Dr. Shane White was elected to the Vice Chair of the U.C. Senate for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

We held our annual Alumni Day at the CDA at CDA Presents in May where we recognized Dr. Thomas Rauth '73 as the 2016 Alumnus of the Year for his many years of leadership and numerous contributions to the School.

It is because of this amazing community that the UCLA School of Dentistry has come so far in the last two decades. It has been such an incredible honor to serve this world-class university as the dean of one of the nation’s leading research-intensive dental schools.


Dr. No-Hee Park