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Vesa Kaartinen appointed Associate Dean for Research

Vesa Kaartinen

Ann Arbor, Mich., June 20, 2019 -– Dr. Vesa M. Kaartinen, professor in the Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences & Prosthodontics, has been appointed Associate Dean for Research for the School of Dentistry. The U-M Board of Regents approved the appointment today after it was recommended by the school’s Executive Committee.

Professor Kaartinen was appointed as director of the school’s OHS/PhD program in November 2018 and will continue in that role as he takes on the new responsibilities for research, effective June 1, 2019, through May 31, 2024.

The associate dean for research and director of the OHS/PhD program serves as the liaison to the University Office of the Vice President for Research, as well as the liaison between the Rackham School of Graduate Studies and the school for research training-related policies, guidelines and postdoctoral support. Additionally, the role assists department chairs in faculty recruitment, advises on resources necessary to maintain a top tier research and research training infrastructure and culture, identifies and explores funding mechanisms to support research and research training, works with other schools and units to explore research collaboration opportunities for faculty.

In making the announcement to the School of Dentistry, Dean Laurie McCauley said Kaartinen will also develop strong dual degree programs for students who wish to pursue concurrent PhD and clinical specialty training, and he will coordinate research training efforts and opportunities across all educational levels in the school, from DDS through PhD and postdoctoral scholar.

McCauley thanked the school’s selection committee led by Dr. Renny Franceschi, along with Drs. Jan Hu, Noriaki Ono and Hajime Sasaki.

Kaartinen joined the School of Dentistry in 2008. His research involves growth factor signaling in craniofacial and cardiac development that lead to common birth defects, including cleft lip and palate and cardiac septation and valve defects. Understanding the molecular basis of these conditions is important because it will ultimately allow for preventive and-or therapeutic approaches to treat midfacial fusion defects or congenital cardiac defects during the fetal period, as well as new therapeutic targets to treat heart disease. Professor Kaartinen teaches courses at the school relating to cell and molecular biology, development, regeneration and genetics. He has served on several institutional and national committees, including both National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association grant review panels, and he is a reviewer for many scientific journals.

Kaartinen received his MSc and PhD degrees from the University of Kuopio, Finland, where he studied the molecular basis of a lysosomal storage disease, aspartylglucosaminuria. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, specializing in developmental biology with particular emphasis in mouse genetics and organogenesis. In 1997, he joined the faculty of the University of Southern California and the Developmental Biology Program in the Saban Research Institute, prior to coming to U-M.

The Associate Dean for Research position came open when Dr. Russell Taichman was named dean of the School of Dentistry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral health care education, research, patient care and community service.  General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the school to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan.  Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia and public agencies.  Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide.  For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at: www.dent.umich.edu.  Contact: Lynn Monson, associate director of communications, at dentistry.communications@umich.edu, or (734) 615-1971.