Dr. Michael Paine Honored for Enamel Research



The International Association for Dental Research (IADR) recognized professor Michael Paine of the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California (USC) with its Distinguished Scientist Award for Basic Research in Biological Mineralization this week at its annual conference in Seoul, South Korea.

“This is one of the highest honors in dental research,” said Yang Chai, DDS, Ostrow’s associate dean of research and the 2011 winner of the IADR’s Distinguished Scientist Award for Craniofacial Biology Research. “We are extremely proud of Michael for being this year’s winner.

During the past 20 years, Paine has published nearly 80 papers on enamel formation. Since enamel doesn’t regenerate or repair itself on its own, understanding how it develops could revolutionize how dentists treat erosion, caries, and even trauma, Paine said.

“The idea that you’re contributing to the literature and adding novel insight into the biological process of enamel formation is satisfying,” Paine said. “It’s important work to the people who are trying to make better dental materials for various applications.”

Paine joined Ostrow’s Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology in 1994 as a research associate. Since 2000, he has received continuous funding from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) to continue his work.

Additionally, Paine is the director of the craniofacial biology graduate program at Ostrow, which recently received a National Institutes of Health/NIDCR grant to provide stipends for student and postdoctoral researchers to cover living expenses, salaries, tuition, medical insurance, and laboratory reagents.

“Ostrow provides a very nurturing environment,” he said. “The dental school and USC in general are very supportive of the faculty and students who devote a significant amount of time doing research.”

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