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Anita Joy-Thomas, BDS, PhD

Dr. Anita Joy-Thomas, BDS, PhD
  • Title: Professor
  • Office: SOD-5363
  • Phone: 713-486-4530
  • Email: Anita.JoyThomas@uth.tmc.edu
  • Education:

    BDS | M.S. Ramaiah Dental College and Hospital, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangalore, India 2001
    PhD, Anatomy and Cell Biology | Rush University, Chicago, IL 2010

A dentist and anatomist by training, Dr. Joy joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Houston School of Dentistry as a Professor in 2019. Prior to joining the faculty at the UT SOD, she was a tenured Associate Professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine, where she also served as graduate faculty, head of anatomy, department chair, and director of research for the school. Her prior teaching experiences in dental education include directing systems-based, integrated biomedical sciences and oral biology courses, directing a dissection-based human anatomy course, and participating as course faculty within courses in Periodontics, Oral Radiology, Occlusion, and AEGD.

Her laboratory's primary area of research focuses on studying the molecular mechanisms responsible for progression of oral and salivary gland cancers. Specifically, the influence of the extracellular matrix on cancer progression - survival, proliferation, migration, and invasion of cancer cells, is being studied. She collaborates on investigating the initiation and progression of electronic cigarette-mediated oral cancers. Her students routinely present the laboratory's findings at regional and IADR/AADR meetings and have been awarded research fellowships from the AADR. Another area of interest is in dental educational research (scholarship of teaching and learning) with a focus on innovative teaching technologies/methodologies, curricular initiatives, assessments, and outcomes.

At the national level, Dr. Joy serves on the ADEA Council of Sections and has previously served on the Council of Faculties. She serves as a biomedical sciences consultant for the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) and is on the Test Construction Committee for the National Dental Board Examinations. She serves as a grant reviewer for the NSF-Biological Sciences Division and routinely reviews for various scientific journals. She actively mentors dental and masters students, and has been active in faculty mentorship and faculty development initiatives.

She is a past recipient of the ADEA/ADEA Council of Students, Residents and Fellows/Colgate-Palmolive Co. Junior Faculty Award, the ADEA/ADEGies Education Fellowship, and several teaching awards and honors. She has led various regional leadership initiatives and participated in national and international leadership programs, including the Harvard Women's Leadership Forum.

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