Since 1903, when Dr. Marcus Ward began to study the properties of dental amalgams used as a filling material, the School of Dentistry has steadily increased its research efforts to keep pace with rapid changes which have occurred in all phases of the profession. The School has been, and continues to be, recognized as a leader in dental research, both in the basic sciences and clinical fields.
By 1952 the amount of research had increased to include many areas of dentistry. Sponsored research projects were carried out largely in dental materials, dental caries, oral pathology, endodontics, dental therapeutics, and orthodontics. The long-standing problem of space restriction for research activities continued to limit the magnitude of dental research at the School. In 1955 it was deemed necessary temporarily to improvise some storage space in the basement for research facilities in oral anatomy and biochemistry. In May 1957 the School received a Health Research Facilities Grant of $381,000, the largest grant made to any dental school up to that time, for aid in constructing and equipping research facilities. The grant was forfeited because the required matching funds were not obtained. In the 1957-58 school year, the School's research program conducted by the faculty members and others employed on the University budget was augmented by 16 research grants and four training or fellowship grants totaling $194,642.
In the beginning of the 1960s dental research continued to be limited because of the lack of space in the Dental Building. Although between $175,000 and $200,000 in research funds were received each year from various supporting agencies, there was virtually no possibility of extending sponsored research beyond this level until more space could be made available. When an electron microscope was acquired with a grant from the National Institute of Health in 1961, janitor's space in the basement was remodeled to house this equipment.
Page 107The dental research program by 1967 far exceeded that of the early 1950s in terms of personnel, financial support, equipment, and productivity. Funds available for research projects, training grants, fellowships, conferences, and other programs totaled approximately $1.9 million. Research as an activity for every department and teacher gained complete acceptance and joined teaching and patient care as a major objective of the School.
Dental Research Institute. — The School of Dentistry, in cooperation with the Medical School and the School of Public Health, requested the National Institute of Dental Research to support the development of a university-based Dental Research Institute at the Ann Arbor campus. The application was approved in June 1967, and a grant of $1,005,674 was received for the first year of operation. From its inception, the new Institute was conceived with research and research training relevant to oral health. The program was initially based in the seven basic science departments of the Medical School, in the Department of Oral Biology of the School of Dentistry, and in certain departments of the School of Public Health. Upon the completion of the research wing of the new Dental Building in the fall of 1969, most of the research activities of the Institute were placed in this facility.
The Dental Research Institute is administered according to the policies developed by the University for the centers and institutes on its campus. The administration of the Institute is controlled by a policy committee, an executive committee, and a scientific advisory committee. Dr. Dominic Dziewiatkowski was appointed director of the Institute on July 1, 1967.
By June 1967, the Institute was conducting eleven programs: bacteriology, biochemistry, bioengineering, biometrics, cell biology, experimental pathology, oral histology, pharmacology, prosthetics-mechanics, transplantation genetics, and virology. There are forty-four separate research investigations being conducted within these eleven programs. Federal funds, totaling approximately $1 million, were made available to the Dental Research Institute for the fiscal year 1971.
A considerable amount of dental research continues to be conducted in the School of Dentistry itself. Approximately $200,000 in federal funds was made available for the year 1971 by the General Research Support Branch, Division of Research Resources. The School's total research Page 108program expresses an intellectual, realistic approach to the problems of dental disease and treatment.