Giannobile Named Dean of Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Dentistry Today

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The Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) has named alumnus William V. Giannobile, DDS, MS, DMSc, dean. Assuming the post on September 1, Giannobile will succeed Bruce Donoff, MD, DMD, who has served as HSDM’s dean for 28 years.

“I am thrilled to welcome Will back to the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and the Longwood Medical Area,” said Harvard Medical School (HMS) dean George Q. Daley, MD, PhD.

An educator and leader in periodontology, oral regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, and precision medicine, Giannobile is the Najjar Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. He also is a professor of biomedical engineering in the university’s College of Engineering.

“Having roots in our community and experience as a passionate and productive leader of a major department at a premier dental school make him perfectly suited to take the helm at HSDM during this unprecedented time,” said Daley.

“Our medical and dental schools are inextricably linked, and I look forward to Will’s partnership toward our shared mission of improving health for all through education, research, and service,” said Daley.

Giannobile holds an advanced degree in periodontology and oral biology. He completed his postdoctoral training in molecular biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and HMS. Also, he served as a member of the HSDM faculty and worked at the affiliated Forsyth Institute early in his career.

“The Harvard School of Dental Medicine is an extraordinary institution with a remarkable history of advancing research and education in service to humanity,” said Harvard president Larry Bacow, JD, MPP, PhD.

“We are so pleased to welcome Will Giannobile, a leader who will help to ensure the school’s continued success as we seek more opportunities to support and expand the work of the university’s diversely talented biomedical community,” said Bacow.

As dean, Giannobile will advance the school’s predoctoral and postdoctoral educational programs, transform clinical care, and further enhance its reputation as a leader in research and education, HSDM said. He will work closely with Daley and other university leaders as well as affiliated hospitals, institutions, and community clinics to advance HSDM’s mission.

“The Harvard School of Dental Medicine is a pillar of the Harvard life-sciences ecosystem, integrating oral health with medicine. It has deep connections within the Longwood community and throughout the university,” said Harvard provost Alan Garber, MD, PhD.

“Will Giannobile, with his wide-ranging accomplishments as a scholar, leader, teacher, and practitioner, is uniquely suited to head a school whose approach to dental health draws heavily on medicine, bioengineering, and public health,” said Garber.

“He brings to the role a deep set of relevant experiences and a longstanding commitment to the field of dental education. I am confident that under his leadership, HSDM will augment the strengths of the broader Harvard community,” said Garber.

“I am so appreciative of president Bacow, provost Garber, and HMS dean Daley for this incredible opportunity to serve the HSDM community as the new dean,” said Giannobile.

“The tradition of excellence at the school as a leader in global education, research, clinical care, and societal impact creates exciting new avenues of interactions with our diverse array of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends,” Giannobile said.

“The Longwood Medical Area and fruitful partnerships with the medical school and affiliates create opportunities for collaboration to promote science, innovation, and innovation. I feel honored to continue building on the legacy of outstanding leadership at Harvard,” he said.

At the University of Michigan, Giannobile leads a laboratory that explores methods for growth-factor delivery such as gene therapy for restoring periodontal tissue loss. His continuously funded National Institutes of Health (NIH) research program focuses on oral and periodontal regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, and personalized medicine.

Also, Giannobile serves as the co-principal investigator of the NIH-funded Michigan-Pittsburgh-Wyss Regenerative Medicine Resource Center. He is the former editor in chief of the Journal of Dental Research, the official journal of the International Association for Dental Research, as well.

“Will Giannobile is that rare clinician-scientist who excels in both the science and practice of dentistry. His distinctive scientific accomplishments, combined with his strong leadership experience and reputation at Michigan, across the US, and throughout the world, ideally prepare him to lead a distinguished school of dental medicine like Harvard,” said Laurie McCauley, DMD, MS, PhD, dean of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

In 2003, Giannobile received the Henry Russel Jr Faculty Award for Excellence in Research and Teaching from the University of Michigan. He also received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Academy of Periodontology. In 2018, he received the ADA’s Norton M. Ross Award for Excellence in Clinical Research.

“I’m delighted to welcome Will as the new dean of HSDM. I know he will bring an exciting new vision to HSDM,” said Vicki Rosen, interim HSDM dean and co-chair of the search committee. “As an alumnus who is familiar with the HSDM community, he knows the school’s distinctive history and is well poised to shape its future. I’m looking forward to working with him in the months ahead.”

Giannobile takes the helm at a time when HSDM will enroll its most diverse predoctoral class in recent history. An important focus of the school is to advance diversity, inclusion, and belonging, HSDM said, and encourage those underrepresented in healthcare to consider careers in dentistry.

“Dr. Giannobile arrives at the dental school with a strong reputation for supporting the entry and advancement of diverse students, trainees, faculty, and staff,” said Joan Reede, MD, MPH, MS, MBA, HMS dean for diversity and community partnership.

“I extend a warm welcome and look forward to future collaborations between HSDM and the Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership that bring us closer to actualizing our shared missions and values,” said Reede.

“An important goal of mine will be to help support our amazing students for their success during their time of attending one of the very best institutions for dental education and oral health research in the world,” said Giannobile.

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