As noted by
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
affiliated faculty member Mark Mooney, PhD (pictured), professor and chair, University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine Department of Oral Biology, the graduate program in oral biology will begin its inaugural class of master's and doctoral candidates next fall. Plans within the program are to build on the University's strengths in two medical specialties including preventing birth defects of the mouth and face — such as cleft palates — and growing new bones and cartilage to repair facial injuries.
New students are likely to tackle a host of challenges, including unraveling the genetic underpinnings of cleft palates. The birth defect that affects about 16 in every 10,000 live births in the United States is among the most common, Dr. Mooney said to Debra Erdley, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
The new department's other specialty track is craniofacial tissue engineering — growing new bones and cartilage for the head and face. Dr. Mooney said students will work closely with McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine researchers who work closely with the Department of Defense. Long-term goals, aimed at treating wounds soldiers receive in battle, include creating an artificial platform that could be used in the body to grow cells to replace damaged cartilage or bone in the face.
The Department of Oral Biology provides graduate, predoctoral, and dental hygiene students with an educational foundation in the basic sciences including instruction in microbiology, biochemistry, nutrition, anatomy, pharmacology, and physiology. In addition, the department collaborates with the Department of Dental Public Health/Information Management to coordinate the school’s pre-clinical problem-based learning courses. With increased emphasis on active learning, faculty are challenged to develop innovative ways to present increasing amounts of information in a fashion that will encourage students to remain lifelong learners.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (10/03/11)
University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine Department of Oral Biology
Bio: Dr. Mark Mooney