In Remembrance
Jonathan A. Ship: Profile in Courage

Dr. Jonathan A. Ship, a Professor of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology and Medicine at the NYU College of Dentistry, Director of NYU’s Bluestone Center for Clinical Research, and the NYU PEARL Network Chair, passed away on April 18, 2008, after a lengthy bout with cancer. He was 49 years old.

Throughout his illness, Dr. Ship retained his spectacular intelligence, humor, humanity, optimism, and compassion, and in the process he taught every-one around him to live each day to the fullest. He was a peerless colleague and friend. He was one of a kind.

Dr. Ship earned both his undergraduate and dental degrees at the University of Pennsylvania, and completed a General Practice Residency at Montefiore Medical Center and a Fellowship in Oral Research at NIDCR. He was a Senior Investigator and Principal Investigator on several NIDCR clinical investigations examining the role of aging on oral physiology. Before joining NYU in 2000, he was at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor as a Professor and Vice Chair of Oral Medicine/Oncology, Director of Hospital Dentistry, and Director of the Program in Geriatric Dentistry and Oral Medicine. In addition to his teaching and administrative responsibilities at the NYU College of Dentistry, he was also a Professor of Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine, and a practicing dentist adored by his patients.

A high point in Dr. Ship’s career, and in the history of the NYU College of Dentistry, occurred in April 2006, when NYUCD was awarded a $26.7 million NIDCR grant to establish a regional practice-based research network (PBRN). Known as the PEARL Network, the project links private dental offices in research projects. This was the largest-ever NIDCR grant and the largest grant ever received by any school at New York University.

Dr. Ship was a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Medicine, a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, a board examiner for the American Board of Oral Medicine and the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh, and a recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the University of Pennysylvania Alumni Award of Merit. Dr. Ship published 22 book chapters, a monograph on “Oral Health in Geriatric Patients,” and 102 peer-reviewed papers.

“Jonathan Ship accomplished more in his brief lifetime than most people do in many more years,” said Dr. Charles N. Bertolami, the Herman Robert Fox Dean of the NYU College of Dentistry. “Over the past 16 months of his illness, his bravery, nobility, and grace were extraordinary. He never slowed down and he never lost his sense of humor. Indeed, his productivity and his kindness -- always amazing -- seemed to increase. It can truly be said of Jonathan Ship that he was the best our profession has to offer.”

To view a video tribute to Dr. Ship, please go to and click on “A Video Tribute to Dr. Jonathan Ship.”