NIH News Release
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute of Dental
and Craniofacial Research

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 31, 2000

Contact:
Anne Thomas (301) 496-5787
Susan Johnson (301) 496-4260

Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., Named Director, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

Ruth L. Kirschstein, M.D., Acting Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced the appointment of Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., as Director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). Dr. Tabak currently directs the Center for Oral Biology, Aab Institute of Biomedical Sciences, at the University of Rochester. He will arrive at NIDCR on September 1.

"I am delighted that Dr. Tabak will be assuming the directorship of NIDCR," said Dr. Kirschstein. "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."

As NIDCR's seventh director, Dr. Tabak will lead an Institute of more than 400 scientists and administrators on the NIH campus and hundreds of Institute grantees around the world. NIDCR scientists conduct research on the full spectrum of topics related to craniofacial, oral, and dental health and disease. Oral cancer, chronic pain conditions, salivary function and dysfunction, the genetics of craniofacial development, and biomimetics and tissue engineering are among the many issues addressed by NIDCR researchers.

"I am honored to join the NIH team at a time when scientific opportunity has never been greater," said Dr. 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 at the University of Rochester, Dr. Tabak oversees a number of interdisciplinary research groups who are studying the molecular and genetic aspects of craniofacial-oral-dental conditions. His own work focuses on mucin-glycoproteins (mucins), 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, Dr. Tabak also directs three graduate research training programs at the University and holds professorships in dentistry and biochemistry & biophysics. He has served as primary adviser to numerous graduate students at Rochester, and has won several teaching awards. He is Senior Associate Dean for Research, School of Medicine and Dentistry at Rochester.

Dr. Tabak has been part of the NIH and NIDCR communities since the late 1970s, when he received his first NIDCR grant. In the early 1980s he was an NIDCR Visiting Scientist, working in the former Patient Care and Clinical Investigations Branch with Dr. Bruce Baum. Currently Dr. Tabak is the 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 co-chair of the planning committee for an NIDCR state-of-the-science workshop on saliva and other fluid-based diagnostics.

Dr. Tabak has been active as an elected officer, committee chairman, and committee member in a number of professional organizations, including the International/American Association for Dental Research, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the Society for Glycobiology. He has received numerous awards and honors for his work, most recently being named a fellow of the AAAS.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Dr. 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.