Martha Somerman, DDS, PhD
National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
National Institutes of Health
NIDCR - ACCELERATING HEALTH THROUGH INNOVATION
12:00 P.M. - ROOM 110, DRUG DISCOVERY BUILDING
Martha J. Somerman, D.D.S., Ph.D. became the eighth director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, a component institute within the National Institutes of Health, on August 29, 2011. In this position, Dr. Somerman oversees an extensive research portfolio and leads the Institute’s team of more than 400 scientists and administrators.
A widely respected periodontist and researcher, Dr. Somerman most recently served as the dean of the University of Washington School of Dentistry, a post she held starting in 2002 while continuing to teach in the school’s Department of Periodontics, and as an adjunct professor in the Department of Oral Biology. Under her leadership, the School of Dentistry stepped up its efforts to attract students from diverse backgrounds who were committed to giving back to underserved communities. She was a strong and vocal supporter of the school’s Dental Education in Care of Persons with Disabilities (DECOD) program, which for more than three decades has been one of the few dental care resources available to Washington residents with developmental or acquired disabilities. She also served on the medical staff of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and as a member of the associate medical staff of the University of Washington Medical Center and the Harborview Medical Center.
Prior to her work at the University of Washington, Dr. Somerman was on the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry from 1991 to 2002 and the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery from 1984 to 1991. At Michigan, she served as chair of the Department of Periodontics, Prevention and Geriatrics, and held the William K. and Mary Anne Najjar Endowed Professorship, and also served as professor in the Department of Pharmacology in the University of Michigan School of Medicine from 1995 to 2002. In Baltimore, she was a professor in the departments of periodontics and pharmacology. Her own research has focused particularly on understanding tooth root development and on the application of that understanding to periodontal regeneration.
Dr. Somerman is a diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and a past president of the American Association for Dental Research. She has received numerous honors and awards, including the 2011 Paul Goldhaber Award from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, the Geis Award from the American Academy of Periodontology and the Distinguished Scientist Award for Research in Oral Biology from the International Association for Dental Research (IADR). In 2010, she was a co-winner of the first IADR/Straumann Award in Regenerative Periodontal Medicine. She is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International College of Dentists, and the American College of Dentists.
Along with her D.D.S from New York University, Dr. Somerman holds an M.S. in environmental health from Hunter College and a Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Rochester, along with a certificate in periodontics from Eastman Dental Center in Rochester, NY.
The MUSC College of Dental Medicine is an ADA CERP recognized provider. ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry. The MUSC College of Dental Medicine designates this activity for 1 hour of continuing education credits.