USC University of Southern California

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

USC dentistry welcomes NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak as commencement speaker

tabak headshot
Dr. Lawrence A. Tabak

Tabak serves as principal deputy director and deputy ethics counselor of the National Institutes of Health. Before that, he was director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

BY JOHN HOBBS MA ’14

About Dr. Lawrence A. Tabak:

Dr. Tabak is the principal deputy director and deputy ethics counselor of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency, responsible for making important discoveries that improve and save lives. Before that, he served for 10 years as the director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Tabak went to the NIH from the University of Rochester in New York, where he was a senior associate dean and professor of dentistry. His research is focused on the structure, biosynthesis and function of glycoproteins.

Why he was selected:

“Dr. Tabak has not only helped to advance oral, dental and craniofacial research here in the U.S., but also has helped shape the entire biomedical research community, ultimately improving health services in the U.S.”
—Yang Chai PhD ’91, DDS ’96,
Associate Dean of Research

What he hopes to convey to Ostrow graduates:

“Be unafraid to fail; you can’t reach your maximum potential without pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone.”

What he wishes he had been told during his own commencement:

“Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

What has inspired him the most in his career:

“During the formative stages of my career, I was fortunate to have had several mentors/advocates. As my career progressed, I have been inspired by the accomplishments of those who I have tried to mentor and advocate for.”

Get more information on Ostrow’s commencement ceremony.