Thomas E. Van Dyke, DDS, PhD
Senior Member of Staff
Vice President of Clinical and Translational Research
Professor in Oral Medicine, Infection, and Immunity, Harvard School of Dental Medicine
When Tom Van Dyke was asked what future innovation at Forsyth would spark an invitation to give a TED Talk, he had an interesting answer. “We’d be invited for doing one thing but the real breakthrough− and our message−would be something else entirely. We’d be asked to speak if we eradicated an oral disease−but the interesting thing would be how we did it.”
Thinking about future discoveries, Van Dyke is not only excited about potential public health breakthroughs, such as finding a cure for periodontal disease, but the process leading up to these ground-breaking discoveries. Van Dyke’s talk would be about how innovation happens, what the major obstacles are on the path to discovery, and how other organizations can duplicate the process. “There are huge barriers in going from discovery to marketplace. You need to be innovative to get things out of the lab, into the clinic, and most importantly, into the public domain,” he says.
In addition to leading the Forsyth Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Van Dyke’s research is focused on the development of novel therapeutics for oral diseases by exploiting natural biological processes. He and his collaborators are internationally known for their work on a new class of anti-inflammatory mediators produced by our own bodies, termed “resolvins”.
Resolvins are significant because inflammation plays a major part in oral and systemic diseases, including gum disease, diabetes and heart disease. Van Dyke’s research suggests that controlling inflammation in wound healing is essential for regenerating lost tissue and preventing scarring. The therapeutic use of these compounds could be a breakthrough, impacting everything from tooth loss to sepsis.
Case Western Reserve University, DDS, 1973
State University of New York at Buffalo, MS, 1979, Oral Sciences
State University of New York at Buffalo, Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Periodontology, 1980
State University of New York at Buffalo, PhD, 1982, Oral Biology