School of Dentistry Welcomes New Dean Rena D'Souza

New Dean

Rena N. D’Souza, DDS, PhD
Dean • August 2013

As principal investigator (PI) and director of an NIH-funded institutional research training grant, Dr. D’Souza supervised and mentored the training of dentists-scientists at the predoctoral and postdoctoral levels. Shortly after, she organized a team of faculty who conceptualized and collaborated in an innovative, evidence-based dentistry curriculum for the DDS program supported by an NIH-grant. As PI of four American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 grants, Dr. D’Souza was able to establish a presence for tissue engineering within BCD through the hiring of two research faculty and offer summer research experiences to high school science teachers and predoctoral dental students. She was recognized for her achievements as the recipient of the prestigious Presidential Award for Research Excellence from the Texas A&M Health Science Center in 2010.

D’Souza is a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Baylor College of Dentistry (BCD) and served as its chairperson from 2006 to 2012. In this period, she transformed the culture of research and scholarship within the college by developing initiatives that sustain the unique integrated research and learning environment that exists today. By pursuing her vision for promoting a unified approach to oral health-related research and education, she developed and secured funding for
a related series of institutional grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). Her efforts were fulfilled through the hiring of several outstanding faculty researcher-educators and the building of new core facilities that helped forge collaborations on multiple research fronts.
“I am wonderfully excited and humbled by the opportunity to lead the School of Dentistry at the University of Utah where the spirit of collaboration and entrepreneurship is exemplary. The quality and character of the faculty, students, staff, and senior administration and their sense of pride and commitment in seeing the school grow into one of the finest in the nation is truly impressive. Working alongside veteran leaders—Drs. Lynn Powell, Glen Hanson, and Gordon Christensen—to develop a unique entity for academic dentistry is an opportunity that I simply could not pass up. The School of Dentistry will achieve academic excellence through its programs that train highly skilled clinicians who are men and women of science and who will work to improve oral health for the citizens of Utah and the world. I look forward to partnering with fellow dean colleagues, the community of practicing dentists, the Utah State Dental Association, NIDCR, American Dental Association, American Dental Education Association, and AADR/IADR (International Association of Dental Research) in making this dream a reality.”