Research

Donald Nixdorf, DDS, MS

Donald Nixdorf, DDS, MS, Director of the Division of Temporomandibular Disorders & Orofacial Pain, became vice president of the International Network of Orofacial Pain and Related Disorders Methodology (INfORM) in July.

“I am excited to continue the work of the people who came before me, and continue to make an impact in the realm of orofacial pain,” Nixdorf said of the appointment.

CBCT Technology

The School of Dentistry has made a major investment in the future of 3D imaging, thanks to the work of two faculty specialists. Now, they are on a mission to educate more dental professionals in the process.

Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota

2021 marks thirty years of research, collaboration, and advocacy for the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota, and the School of Dentistry has been a part of its research mission every step of the way.

A Message from the Dean

Our mission statement says, “The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry advances health through scientific discovery, innovative education and the highest-quality care for all communities.” I believe the key phrase in this statement is “care for all communities:” one of the main points of focus for our school is caring for people. Implicit in our mission statement is a quest for us to care for our patients as scientific discovery and technological innovations provide us with new knowledge and improved techniques.

Brent Larson, DDS, MS, and Amy Tasca, DDS, PhD

Amy Tasca, DDS, PhD, became the first holder of the Dr. Robert J. Isaacson Professorship in Orthodontics in July. She will serve as the endowed professor for a three-year term.

Established by a $1 million gift from his wife, Delores, the Isaacson Professorship and fund honors Faculty Emeritus Robert Isaacson, DDS, MS, PhD, who died in September 2018 at the age of 86. The fund was established in 2019 to celebrate Isaacson’s dedication to the field of orthodontics and continue his legacy of influencing and shaping dentists.

Boyen Huang, DDS, MHA, PhD

A CGHSR Global Health Seed fund, along with two other recent grant awards, will propel a teledentistry effort focused on identifying and treating dental trauma.

Emily Kahnert, DPT, CCTT,

Emily Kahnert, DPT, CCTT, is not a typical PhD student. She calls herself an “unusual combination of a lot of different things here at the University,” saying that she is “blazing some trails in many ways.” Those trails earned her an American Academy of Orofacial Pain Research grant to implement her dissertation research in orofacial pain and TMD.

Kahnert’s journey with the University of Minnesota began when she received her degree in physical therapy fifteen years ago, but she was drawn to dentistry even then.

Sumita Mitra, MS, PhD

Sumita Mitra, MS, PhD has left her mark on nanotechnology and dental materials for more than three decades. Though she has been retired for more than ten years, her influence and her work continues--and her work with the School of Dentistry’s Minnesota Dental Research Center for Biomaterials and Biomechanics (MDRCBB) makes up a large part of that influence.

Nicholas Fischer


Nicholas Fischer, PhD, DDS ’25, is the Secretary-elect for the American Association for Dental Research’s National Student Research Group (NSRG), the organization announced following an AADR election.

Researching the spread of COVID-19

A collaborative effort between University of Minnesota researchers and clinicians made a real-life, immediate impact on patient care and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Without this expertise, I don’t believe our clinics would have opened up as soon as they did,” said Paul Olin, DDS, MS, Interim Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the University of Minnesota, of the project.

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