Focus on International Faculty
Dr. Nelson Silva: Finding His Niche at NYUCD

In 2002, when Dr. Nelson Silva arrived at NYUCD from his native Brazil to conduct PhD and postdoctoral research on experimental bonding materials, he never expected to remain beyond his one-year sabbatical from the University of Sao Paulo School of Dentistry in Bauru. “I planned to strengthen my research skills at NYUCD,” Dr. Silva recalls, “so I could go back to Brazil and take on more advanced research projects to supplement my teaching duties there as a Professor of Prosthodontics.”

But as the year progressed, Dr. Silva began to consider career opportunities at NYUCD, thanks to his mentor and principal collaborator, Dr. Van Thompson, Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomaterials & Biomimetics. “Van encouraged me to get to know people in the teaching clinics, to learn about multidisciplinary research in the College’s labs and about dental product testing in the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research. I was surprised by how much I found going on under one roof.”

In fall 2003, as Dr. Silva’s sabbatical was drawing to a close, he decided that he wanted to remain at NYUCD. Dr. Thompson was able to arrange for his appointment as a junior research scientist in Biomaterials & Biomimetics, a position which led to his becoming a principal investigator on studies sponsored by manufacturers testing prototype dental products in the biomaterials/biomimetics lab and in the Bluestone Center. The next year, Dr. Silva was appointed Assistant Professor of Prosthodontics on the clinical tenure track. He has since been the lead investigator on corporate research grants totaling over $260,000, including studies on a one-piece ceramic implant for Nobel BiocareTM and a new polymer bur for SS White.TM The results have been published in high-impact journals.

Dr. Silva still conducts collaborative research with Dr. Ricardo Marins de Carvalho, Associate Professor of Prosthodontics, and Dr. Luis Fernando Pegoraro, Dean and Chair of the Department of Prosthodontics, at the University of Sao Paulo School of Dentistry in Bauru. More recently, he has established a partnership with Dr. Saulo Gribel and Dr. Anderson Mamede, both orthodontics professors at the Modal Institute in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, to enable Brazilian dentists to take continuing education courses in various fields at NYUCD.

“I want others back home to enjoy the same opportunities to broaden their careers that I have had,” says Dr. Silva.