NIDCR Scientists Recognized by International Association
Three scientists at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) were recently honored by the International Association for Dental Research (IADR). NIDCR Director Dr. Rena D’Souza and NIDCR scientists Dr. John Chiorini and Dr. Niki Moutsopoulos received IADR Distinguished Scientist Awards on June 21. The awards are among the highest honors bestowed by IADR, whose mission is to drive dental, oral and craniofacial research around the world.
D’Souza, who is also chief of the section on molecules and therapies for craniofacial and dental disorders at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, received the IADR Distinguished Scientist Award in Craniofacial Biology Research. The award recognizes individuals who have contributed to the body of knowledge in craniofacial biology over a significant period. D’Souza is noted for studying tooth and palate anomalies such as dentinogenesis imperfecta, ectodermal dysplasia and cleft palate. This work has changed scientists’ understanding of dental and craniofacial developmental biology. This year’s award is her second, a rare achievement. She received the IADR Distinguished Scientist Award in Pulp Biology in 2002.
Chiorini is head of the adeno-associated virus biology section at NIDCR. He received the IADR Distinguished Scientist Salivary Research Award, which recognizes outstanding and innovative achievements that have contributed to the basic understanding of the salivary gland structure, secretion and function, or salivary composition and function. Chiorini has made significant advances in the development of viral vectors for gene therapy. He currently leads the first clinical trial to use adeno-associated virus vectors for the treatment of radiation-damaged salivary glands, and he has made advances in the development of potential therapeutic interventions for Sjögren’s syndrome-associated xerostomia.
Moutsopoulos is chief of NIDCR’s oral Immunity and infection section. She received the IADR Distinguished Scientist Research in Oral Biology Award. As an investigator, she has made important contributions to understanding host factors that are implicated in susceptibility to periodontitis. Her studies of patients with genetic immune defects have provided fundamental insights into oral mucosal biology and led to the identification of new therapeutic targets.