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Establishment of the Noel Martin Visiting Chair

13 April 2017
Professor James Deschner is the inaugural chair
One of the most influential figures in the history of dentistry at the University of Sydney, Professor Noel Martin was Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry from 1970 until his retirement in 1988 and a leading advocate for change in Australian dental practice.


Professor James Deschner

Professor James Deschner

Professor Martin's successful championing of the fluoridation of drinking water in NSW is arguably one of our greatest gifts to society. Following his death in 2006, alumni appeals raised funds to honour Professor Martin's contribution to dentistry and the community.

These funds are being used to establish a new academic position in Dentistry, the Noel Martin Visiting Chair, which was recently announced by the Dean, Professor Chris Peck.The inaugural appointee, commencing in March 2017, is Professor James Deschner, Head of the Section of Experimental Dento-Maxillo-Facial Medicine at the University of Bonn, Germany.

In 1994, Professor Deschner graduated from the Free University Berlin, and started his career as an assistant professor in the Department of Periodontology at the Humboldt-University of Berlin, moving to Cologne after four years.

From 2002 to 2006, he pursued his research interests first in the Department of Oral Medicine and Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh and then at Ohio State University. During this time, his experiments were designed to unravel the role of biomechanical forces in periodontal and cartilage cells under inflammatory conditions, as found in periodontitis, arthritis and orthodontic tooth movement.

Returning to Germany in 2006, Professor Deschner continued his clinical and research work in the Department of Periodontology and Operative Dentistry at the University of Bonn.

In 2008, he became the Head of the Clinical Research Unit investigating "Etiology and Sequelae of Periodontal Diseases - Genetic, Cell Biological and Biomechanical Aspects", based on a multimillion Euro grant from the German Research Foundation and the medical faculty of the University of Bonn between 2008 and 2015. The unit's major goal was to improve the prevention, disease control and therapy of periodontitis through a better understanding of the causes and effects of periodontal diseases and the regenerative processes in the involved tissues.

In 2015, Professor Deschner became the Head of the newly created Section of Experimental Dento-Maxillo-Facial Medicine at the University of Bonn. This section is dedicated to basic and translational research through close collaboration with clinical departments of the dental school and numerous medical departments, such as the Department of Pharmacology and the Department of Professor James Deschner Internal Medicine/Cardiology. In addition to biomechanics, the group's focus is the interactions between periodontal diseases and diseases of whole body, such as obesity, diabetes or cardiovascular diseases. This alignment with our faculty's vision of putting the mouth into health made Professor Deschner a prime candidate for the inaugural Noel Martin Visiting Chair position.

It is our intention that the individuals chosen for future appointments to the chair will share this strong focus on prevention and a whole-of-body approach to dentistry.They will provide academic as well as research leadership, drive innovation and build international research links for the future. Students and the dental profession will have access to their expertise through lectures and meetings.

Information about Professor Deschner's lecture program in 2017 is being circulated through the faculty's usual communication channels.

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