USC University of Southern California

Ostrow School of Dentistry Leaps Ahead in NIDCR Grant Rankings

From 2008 to 2009, the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC jumped from 16th to 12th in a ranking of all United States dental institutions receiving funds from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

The rankings, which include both public and private dental schools as well as research-specific dental institutions, place USC at No. 3 among all private U.S. dental schools in regards to funding awarded from the institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Also notable is the dramatic increase in the Ostrow School of Dentistry’s funding from the national institute during a tough economic year in which award amounts increased very little – or fell markedly – at many other institutions.

The Ostrow School of Dentistry saw its institute funding increase from $3.2 million in 2008 to more than $4.8 million in 2009.

Yang Chai, associate dean of research for the Ostrow School of Dentistry and director of the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, called the achievement a collective effort made possible by the creativity and ingenuity of the Ostrow School of Dentistry’s research faculty.

From the creation of a comprehensive database on craniofacial genetics, the diagnosis of dental disease using saliva and the pre-birth nonsurgical reversal of cleft palate to the use of stem cells in wound healing and lupus treatment and eye-opening research in dental public health, the school’s research teams are conducting investigations that turn science fiction into breakthrough treatments that improve society’s oral and overall health.

Chai said the school’s level of success with federal funding, especially during this difficult economic period, is a significant statement about the quality of research being conducted at USC.

“It’s tremendous that in this very challenging funding environment, we have been able to advance four places at the national level,” he said. “The competition is very fierce.”

Avishai Sadan, dean of the Ostrow School of Dentistry, said the recognition and support from the national institute is a testament to the school’s researchers.

“As we move forward in our research endeavors, continue to recruit additional young investigators and nurture our students’ interest in scientific discovery, we will continue to develop the innovations that lead the dental profession into the future,” Sadan said.