Patricia Diaz, DDS, PhD, Professor of Empire Innovation at the University at Buffalo (UB) School of Dental Medicine, has been named director of the UB Microbiome Center.
The UB Microbiome Center brings together faculty, students, and resources to achieve a deeper understanding of the microbiome’s role in health and disease and to identify methods for intervention. It facilitates collaborations among investigators across UB and supports interdisciplinary projects through its clinical, laboratory, and analytical research infrastructure.
Diaz is a leader in the study of the microbiome, UB said, which are the communities of microorganisms that live on and in human and animal hosts. She replaces the late Robert J. Genco, DDS, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Oral Biology, who served as the UB Microbiome Center’s inaugural director.
“The School of Dental Medicine is extremely pleased that Dr. Diaz has agreed to become the director of UB’s Microbiome Center. As a university center, Dr. Diaz’s appointment was approved by the vice president for research and economic development, SUNY Distinguished Professor Venu Govindaraju,” said Joseph Zambon, DDS, PhD, dean and SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of the UB School of Dental Medicine.
“Dr. Diaz was appointed to our faculty as Empire Innovation Professor by the SUNY Chancellor, reflecting her outstanding accomplishments,” said Zambon.
“We are delighted to have a scholar of Dr. Diaz’s caliber join UB to lead the Microbiome Center. Her record of interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation will help lead the Microbiome Center into a new era of discovery and meaningful patient treatments,” said Govindaraju.
Diaz’s research focuses on the role of the microbiome in oral diseases, such as chronic gum disease, oral thrush, and mucositis during the course of cancer therapy. Her work aims to improve the understanding of how imbalances in the oral microbiome lead to disease as well as develop tools to manipulate the microbiome to interfere with disease development.
Diaz joined the UB Department of Oral Biology this year after previously serving as an associate professor of oral health and diagnostic sciences at the University of Connecticut Health Center. In her new role, she will lead and facilitate multidirectional and multidisciplinary integration of basic and patient-oriented research.
“I will work in concert with an established UB Microbiome Center team to guide research projects, develop partnerships, and cultivate collaborations, especially among the Genome, Environment and Microbiome Community of Excellence, while further growing UB’s reputation in this fast-growing field,” said Diaz.
Diaz holds a doctorate in dental surgery from CES University, a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Adelaide, and a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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