NIH 1998 Almanac/The Organization/NIDR/
National Institute of Dental Research : Biographical Sketch of NIDR Director
Harold C. Slavkin, D.D.S.
In July 1995 Dr. Slavkin, former director of the Center for Craniofacial Molecular
Biology at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry, was sworn in as
sixth NIDR director.
Born in Chicago, Ill., on March 20, 1938, he received his B.A. in 1961 and D.D.S. in
1965 from the University of Southern California. After completing postdoctoral training at
USC, he was named chairman of the department of biochemistry and nutrition at the
universitys school of dentistry in 1969. He served in various capacities at USC over
the next 26 years, including chief of the laboratory for developmental biology in the
Gerontology Center, chairman and program director of the graduate program in craniofacial
biology, and director of the Center for Cranifacial Biology, a position he held for 6
years prior to his appointment as NIDR director.
In his last position Dr. Slavkin directed a team of scientists investigating the
genetics of normal and abnormal craniofacial, oral, and dental development. His own
studies focused on the developmental processes underlying a number of congenital and
acquired craniofacial and oral defects. He was also responsible for creating the first
Ph.D. program in the U.S. in craniofacial biology, a program he chaired for 10 years.
He has been active in programs to promote science appreciation and literacy at the
elementary, middle, and high school levels. He helped initiate a program sponsored by the
National Science Foundation that gives high school students an opportunity to work on a
research project at a university. He served as executive producer and writer for a Public
Broadcasting Service film called A Lifetime of Change, shown at the 10th annual
conference of the International Society of Developmental Biology and the Academy of Motion
Pictures, Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills. He also collaborated with PBS on the
production of Genetic Engineering, Why in the World? and with other educational
film companies in the making of Development and Differentiation and Intercellular
A grantee since 1966, Dr. Slavkin has been a member and chair of NIDRs Board of
Scientific Counselors and served as acting chief of NIDRs Laboratory for
Developmental Biology and Anomalies. He also served on the NIDR Blue Ribbon Panel that
formulated recommendations to shape the future of the institutes Division of
He serves on editorial boards of the International Journal of Developmental Biology,
Differentiation, Oral Diseases, and Current Opinion in Dentistry. A member of
numerous professional organizations, he has authored more than 90 book chapters and over
180 publications in developmental and craniofacial molecular biology.
Directors of NIDR