Recognizing a Career Devoted to Research, Education, and Clinical Care

December 12, 2019
Dean Bruce Donoff celebrating with Vice Dean John Da Silva

On Tuesday, December 10, members of the Harvard community and affiliated research institutions gathered to honor Harvard School of Dental Medicine Dean Bruce Donoff’s contributions to research and education at a symposium and reception held in his honor. Donoff, who is stepping down at the end of the year, has been a dedicated advocate for scientific research and studying the relationship between dentistry, oral biology, and medicine.

The Oral and Craniofacial Regenerative Biology and Medicine Symposium brought together scientists and clinicians, as well as students, faculty, and staff to reflect on Donoff’s remarkable 28-year career, and advances made over many scientific fronts during his tenure.

Dr. Olsen at a podium presenting his research
Dr. Bjorn R. Olsen, presented his research "From Giant Cell Granulomas to Condylar Fractures and Odontogenic Infections"
“The field of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery wouldn’t be what it is today without Bruce’s research contributions, and without his remarkable clinical care,” Harvard Medical School Dean George Q. Daley said in opening remarks. Daley noted Donoff’s work in the areas of wound healing, bone graft survival, and oral cancer. “I think there are countless patients whose lives have been changed by your wonderful skill as a surgeon, but also your bedside manner.”

Daley credited Donoff with attracting internationally renowned scientists to HSDM and building its first Research and Education Building in 2004, “Bruce has always been an ambassador for ensuring that research is a vital part of this community,” he said.

Maria Troulis, Walter C. Guralnick Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and chair of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS), spoke fondly of her experience working with Donoff at Massachusetts General Hospital where he was former OMFS chief of service.

Faculty and students at a reception
HSDM faculty, students and staff gathered to celebrate Dean Donoff. Dr. Maria Troulis (center right) presented "Tissue Engineering – Past, Present and Future"
“It’s a true privilege to be honoring one of the most well-known and most accomplished surgeon-scientists of our generation, and someone I’ve looked up to for many years,” she said.

Troulis presented advances in the field of tissue engineering that have changed what were once very invasive maxillofacial procedures into minimally invasive ones and improved patient outcomes. Other prominent scientists including Bruce Paster from the Forsyth Institute, Richard Maas from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, David Mooney from the Wyss Institute, and Bjorn R. Olsen from HSDM, presented their work in research areas ranging from microbiology and the oral microbiome, to genomic medicine and craniofacial disease gene discovery, to the use of biomaterials for mechanoregeneration, and advances in treating rare oral and bone conditions.

HSDM Research Faculty
Drs. John Da Silva, Roland Baron, Bjorn Olsen and Yingzi Yang
Many of the scientists credited Donoff with being a longtime supporter of their research. Troulis also noted the large number of residents and students who trained under Donoff who have gone on to become deans and leaders in the field across the world. “Dean Donoff’s reach is truly epic and global,” she said.