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Tabak Named NIDCR Director

Dr. Lawrence A. Tabak has been named director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. He currently directs the Center for Oral Biology, Aab Institute of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Rochester. He will arrive at NIDCR on Sept. 1.

"I am delighted that Dr. Tabak will be assuming the directorship of NIDCR," said NIH acting director Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, who made the appointment. "As NIH focuses on racial and ethnic health disparities, we are fortunate to have someone who has designed and managed a successful training program aimed at recruiting and developing minority investigators. His experience as a senior administrator in a prestigious academic health center as well as his studies on glycoproteins will be invaluable to the institute and to NIH as we address the scientific opportunities before us."

Dr. Lawrence Tabak

As NIDCR's seventh director, Tabak will lead an institute of more than 400 scientists and administrators on campus and hundreds of grantees around the world.

"I am honored to join the NIH team at a time when scientific opportunity has never been greater," said Tabak. "It will be my privilege to work together with the scientific community, the public, and the outstanding members of NIDCR to improve oral health."

In his current position, Tabak oversees a number of interdisciplinary research groups studying the molecular and genetic aspects of craniofacial-oral-dental conditions. His own work focuses on mucin-glycoproteins, a group of molecules that protect all mucosal surfaces of the body. He has published extensively on the structure, biosynthesis and function of salivary mucins and the pathogenesis of salivary gland disease and dysfunction. In addition to his research, Tabak also directs three graduate research training programs at the university and holds professorships in dentistry and biochemistry and biophysics. He is senior associate dean for research, School of Medicine and Dentistry at Rochester.

Tabak has been part of the NIH and NIDCR communities since the late 1970's, when he received his first NIDCR grant. In the early 1980's, he was an NIDCR visiting scientist, working in the former Patient Care and Clinical Investigations Branch with Dr. Bruce Baum. Currently Tabak is principal investigator on two institute training grants and two research grants. He has served as an ad hoc reviewer of the NIDCR intramural research program, as a member of the NIH oral biology and medicine study section, and as cochair of the planning committee for an NIDCR state-of-the-science workshop on saliva and other fluid-based diagnostics.

A native of Brooklyn, Tabak received his undergraduate degree from City College of the City University of New York, his D.D.S. from Columbia University, and both a Ph.D. and certificate of proficiency in endodontics from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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