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School of Dentistry tops Texas, ranks 10th nationally in NIDCR funding

Published: April 15, 2024 by Dylan Allen

Exterior image of UTHealth Houston School of Dentistry.
UTHealth Houston School of Dentistry ranks first in Texas and 10th overall among dental schools that received research funding from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in 2023. Photo by Kyle Rogers.

UTHealth Houston School of Dentistry is ranked No. 1 in Texas and 10th nationally among dental schools that received federal research funding from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in 2023, according to the annual rankings released by the NIDCR.

The annual rankings echo the same sentiment recently established by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research annual rankings in February, and list the top dental research institutions in the country by national grants awarded. 

The School of Dentistry reported $5.7 million in NIDCR grants funded through September 2023. The ranking is a three-spot improvement from No. 13 the year prior.

“Our proximity to the Texas Medical Center and its many research-focused institutions is unmatched in the world,” said Mary “Cindy” Farach-Carson, PhD, associate dean for research and director of clinical and translational research. “Our research and clinical faculty are extraordinary and they have great ideas. Putting together the infrastructure to harness these ideas and translate them into funded grant applications has played a large part in this success. We also have successfully recruited NIH-funded faculty who have brought their own new energy to our enterprise.”

Researcher Simon W. Young, DDS, MD, PhD, believes that a combination of strategic placement, a diverse population, and a results-driven approach has enabled the school to become one of the top dental research institutions in the country.

“It’s all about encouraging scientists to collaborate and work together,” Young said. “Engaging clinicians to work with scientists has been very fruitful in generating new ideas and obtaining funding. This emphasizes the ‘Health’ part of the National Institutes of Health. None of our researchers are doing their research in a vacuum.  Their projects are highly translational, meaning our goal is to make discoveries that have a clear path to improving human health through our oral health research.”

This, along with a top-notch leadership team is what Young credits the accolade to.

“Our dean, Dr. John Valenza, had the vision and strategic initiatives to set this goal of becoming a top-10 dental school for research in the country,” he said. “Similarly, Dr. Farach-Carson, the associate dean of research, sets the tone and is our number one facilitator. She clearly articulated her vision when she stepped into the position, that her job was to help everyone else bring their A-game.”

The NIDCR is the federal government’s lead agency for scientific research on dental, oral, and craniofacial health and disease.

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