Ann Arbor, Mich., Oct. 14, 2016 -– Dr. Russell Taichman of the School of Dentistry was among seven University of Michigan faculty members recognized today for significant contributions to U-M’s research environment with a 2016 Distinguished Clinical and Translational Research Mentor Award. The award is sponsored by the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR) and the Office of Faculty Development at the U-M Medical School.
Taichman, the Major Ash Collegiate Professor of Periodontics and Oral Medicine and Associate Dean for Research, was selected from a diverse pool of nominees from several U-M health-related schools, including Social Work, Medicine, Dentistry, Public Health and Pharmacy.
Dr. George A. Mashour, executive director of MICHR, cited Taichman’s “remarkable dedication to the scientific research careers of his students, fellows, and trainees” in announcing the award, which was presented during a ceremony at the U-M Cardiovascular Center. “We at MICHR are committed to promoting the careers of scholars and trainees in clinical and translational science,” Mashour said in a letter announcing Taichman’s selection. “We believe that committed and effective mentoring plays a critical role in academic and scholarly success. Mentoring often goes unrecognized and unrewarded, and it is our hope that this award will lend high visibility to this crucial activity.”
Dr. Ann Decker, a graduate resident in Periodontics and an Oral Health Sciences PhD student, praised Taichman’s mentoring style during the award ceremony, noting that he understands that each student requires a unique mentoring approach. “Dr. Taichman continuously encourages his mentees and peers to question results and place them within the functional context of clinical work with the highest regard to ethical considerations; these skills are not taught in a classroom, but developed over years under the guidance of a patient mentor,” Decker said in her nomination letter to the award committee.
Elisabeth Pedersen was among several other former students and colleagues who recommended Taichman for the award. Pedersen has worked with Taichman for 10 years since she joined his lab as part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, and later as she entered medical school and he served as a member of her doctoral dissertation committee. “Dr. Taichman’s lab was where I learned that I wanted to pursue a career in biomedical research,” she said in her nomination. “From the first day Dr. Taichman and the whole lab helped me feel like an incredibly important member of the team. Through extensive mentoring and lessons in scientific study I eventually became entrusted to work on some of the most important, high-risk and high-impact projects in the lab. This opportunity ignited my excitement for research and taught me to be a diligent and careful scientist. I cannot express enough how grateful I am that my work as an undergraduate student was so highly valued and encouraged.”
Taichman describes the research in his lab as working “at the intersection of how hematopoietic stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells and disseminated tumor cells home, localize and engage the bone marrow microenvironment or niche for survival, function and protection from injury.” His research is especially focused on prostate cancer.
The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral health care education, research, patient care and community service. General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the school to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan. Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists, and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia and public agencies. Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide. For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at: www.dent.umich.edu.
Sharon Grayden, Communications Director, at (734) 615-2600, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Lynn Monson, Writer, at (734) 615-1971.