Two years ago, when Dr. Michael Atar, a prominent pediatric dentist practicing in London, decided that he wanted to expand his professional activities to include research with an international collaborator, he thought of reaching out to pediatric dentists in both eastern and western Europe, where he had traveled extensively, and especially in Switzerland, where he had earned his PhD In craniofacial anatomy. Ultimately, however, he was influenced by the warm and welcoming reception he received from pediatric dentists in the US, in general-and by NYUCD's strong global reputation as a leader in pediatric dentistry, in particular-to seek out NYUCD's Department of Pediatric Dentistry. He was especially interested in the research being conducted by Dr. Amr Moursi, associate professor and chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, in areas such as dental forensics using DNA derived from teeth, the microbiological effect of fluoride therapy, and developmental biology and the influence of systemic disease on tooth development.
Dr. Moursi responded enthusiastically to Dr. Atar's interest in forming an international research collaboration, which has led to Dr. Atar and Dr. Moursi coauthoring, with colleagues from NYUCD, two manuscripts which have been submitted for publication to Pediatric Dentistry, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry: "Oral Health Findings of Special Olympics Athletes at the New York City Metro Games," and "Outcome of Indirect Pulp Treatment in Primary Molars Using Resin-Modified Glass Ionomer and Two Percent Chlorhexidine Gluconate," as well as Dr. Atar's participation in NYUCD's postgraduate pediatric dentistry program as an adjunct associate professor of pediatric dentistry.
Dr. Atar travels to NYUCD twice a year to present lectures to pediatric dentistry residents, to assist them in developing research protocols and gaining IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval, and to help in analyzing data and preparing abstracts for publication.
"This has proven to be an exceptional collaboration," said Dr. Atar, who, in addition to teaching and collaborating on pediatric dentistry research at NYUCD, has made a commitment of half a million dollars to promote the advancement of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry's goals. "I believe strongly in the direction that the Department of Pediatric Dentistry has taken under Dr. Moursi's leadership," he added, "and my wife and I decided to demonstrate our conviction with a major gift."
"Dr. Michael Atar is that rare individual," said Dr. Moursi, "who combines philanthropy with service to education and research in the field that he loves. NYUCD is very fortunate to have his personal participation and support. Everyone in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry feels, as I do, that we could not have a better partner."