Ostrow Jumps to Third Top-Funded U.S. Dental Institution in U.S.

Dr. Yang Chai and student looking over a microscope in lab

John Hobbs MA '14


02 Feb 23

Ostrow jumps to third top-funded U.S. dental institution by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.


IF THE PAST FEW YEARS OF PANDEMIC were meant to slow researchers down in their quest for knowledge, no one told the research teams working in Ostrow’s lab spaces across both campuses.

The Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC has been ranked the third highest-funded U.S. dental institution by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR).

“It shows an incredible amount of trust for us to be able to get this support, which enables us to carry out innovative research projects that can truly benefit our patients,” said Associate Dean of Research Yang Chai PhD ’91, DDS ’96.


The Top-Funded Grants


In the past few years, the top-funded NIDCR grants to USC researchers were those supporting FaceBase III, a central repository for craniofacial datasets and tools meant to advance craniofacial science that USC has been leading since 2014 as well as training grants meant to support PhD students and postdoctoral fellows in their research.

But it was the funding provided for the Center for Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Tissue and Organ Regeneration (C-DOCTOR) — whose third phase launched during the pandemic — that helped propel Ostrow to the No. 3 ranking.

Led by USC, C-DOCTOR is a consortium of California academic institutions whose mission is to become a sustainable, comprehensive national center that enables the clinical translation of innovative regenerative therapies to replace dental, oral and craniofacial tissues or organs lost to congenital disorders, traumatic injuries, disease and medical procedures.

“C-DOCTOR has been an incredible opportunity for us to work with so many talented people,” said Chai, who is a University Professor, the George and MaryLou Boone Chair in Craniofacial Biology and the Director of the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology.

“We have eight different institutions working together to identify these interdisciplinary translational research projects, foster their development and help them move into an FDA filing. It allows us to really translate innovative discoveries into patient care.”

Chai is a principal investigator of C-DOCTOR, alongside UC San Francisco’s Jeffrey Lotz.

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