DCG awarded prestigious NIH grant

The Dental College of Georgia (DCG) at Augusta University has been awarded a prestigious UO1 grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant, which totals nearly $800,000 over the next five years, will support the development of a multi-component project entitled “Clinician-Scientist Research Incubator for Practice-based Training (Clin.ScRIPT).”

Significant additional financial support is being provided by the office of the Senior Vice President for Research, headed by Michael Diamond, MD; the office of the Dean of The Graduate School, led by Jennifer Sullivan, PhD; and the DCG Dean’s Office, headed by Nancy Young, DMD.

Clin.ScRIPT will focus on training DCG faculty, residents, and students on clinical research. The project will include the creation of a formal two-year Master of Science in Clinical Dental Research, a Clinical Research Network, Resource Center, and Mentorship Pathway, a Southeastern Regional Dental Research Symposium, as well as a developmental, multi-site clinical research study. The approval of the new MS program is pending with the USG Board of Regents and has a tentative enrollment start in the Fall of 2024.

“We are honored to have been awarded this prestigious grant from the NIDCR,” said Todd Schoenbaum, DDS, professor in the Department of Restorative Sciences, who is the Principal Investigator on the grant. “This funding will allow us to develop a comprehensive environment that will train the next generation of clinician-scientists and help to move the DCG to the forefront of discovery and innovation in oral health.”

Several AU faculty members will serve as co-investigators, including Babak Baban, PhD, DCG associate dean for Research; Mira Ghaly, DMD, associate professor in the Department of Periodontics; Marshall Newman,  DMD, assistant professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery; and Jie Chen, PhD, interim chair of Biostatistics, Data Science and Epidemiology. They will be joined by co-investigators from UCLA, Tara Aghaloo, DDS, professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and from the University of Rochester, Carlo Ercoli, DDS, professor of Prosthodontics, Periodontics and Implant Surgery and chairman of the Prosthodontic Department.

The DCG is one of only a few dental schools nationwide to have been awarded this UO1 grant. Other recipients include Harvard University, The University of California, San Francisco, Stanford University, Temple University, Indiana University, and the University of Maryland. This grant is a testament to the DCG’s commitment to leadership in clinical research and education.

“This grant is a significant milestone for the DCG,” Baban said. “It will have a profound impact on our ability to train clinician-scientists and improve oral health care in Georgia, the US, and worldwide.”

The DCG is grateful for the generous support of the NIDCR and is committed to making Clin.ScRIPT a success.

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Written by
Stacey Hudson

Stacey Hudson is communications coordinator for the Dental College of Georgia.

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