Mark Herzberg receivs ADEAGies Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Dental Educator

University of Minnesota School of Dentistry Professor Mark Herzberg, D.D.S., Ph.D. will receive the 2016 William J. Gies Award for Vision, Innovation and Achievement (The Gies Award). Presented annually by the American Dental Education Association Gies Foundation, the Gies Awards are the profession’s preeminent recognition of exceptional contributions that exemplify the highest standards in oral health and dental education, research and service.

“Mark Herzberg is a man of intense intellectual courage and an insatiable passion for science, creativity and innovation which he so willingly shares with others,” says Leon Assael, D.M.D., dean of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. “He has, in so many ways, helped to set the standard for scientific inquiry and training.”

On faculty at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry since 1978, Herzberg has had a long term commitment to training the next generation of dental education faculty who can investigate research problems at the interfaces between disciplines. He established the Minnesota Craniofacial Research Training (MinnCResT) Program in 2001 with the vision to put into practice what would become the National Institutes of Health Roadmap for Research Training. The program forms cross-disciplinary teams of trainees and mentors from diverse disciplines including neuroscience, microbiology, genetics, immunology, engineering, psychology, dentistry and medicine.

In fulfilling Herzberg’s vision, the program has evolved into one of the premier dental and craniofacial research training programs in the nation. “Ultimately, the success of trainees who graduate from a program is the true measure of its success,” says Assael. Under Herzberg’s leadership and guidance, MinnCResT excels. Four of the nine fellows who applied since 2008 have obtained NIH F-awards. Since 2002, 17 pre-doctoral and 34 post-doctoral fellows published 59 and 60 peer-review papers, respectively. Importantly, most trainees continued their careers either in academic or research intensive corporate positions. In the past 10 years, 17 trainees have secured appointments in academia and 14 are exceling in corporate research environments.

Herzberg’s own scientific breakthrough occurred when he discovered a link between bacterial-induced platelet aggregation and coronary thrombosis, findings that were announced in the New York Times (1998) and generated nonstop phone calls and television interviews. Today, he investigates the body’s immune system – specifically the antimicrobial mechanisms of the naturally occurring protein calprotectin in oral epithelial cells that line the mouth and throat – and the role they play in defending mucous membranes against infection. He also explores the role of these mucosal epithelial cells in HIV-1 infection.

Presented annually by the American Dental Education Association Gies Foundation, the Gies Awards are the profession’s preeminent recognition of exceptional contributions that exemplify the highest standards in oral health and dental education, research and leadership.

Honorees were selected by a distinguished panel of judges consisting of the ADEAGies Foundation Board of Trustees. The Procter & Gamble Company is the premier sponsor of the awards. Dr. Herzberg will accept his award on March 14 at the ADEA Annual Session in Denver, Colorado.

Mark Herzberg
School of Dentistry Professor Mark Herzberg