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Philip Stashenko appointed President of the Forsyth Institute

Today, The Forsyth Institute announced that Philip Stashenko, D.M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed president and CEO of the research institute. He has been serving as interim president since January 2008. Stashenko has played an important role in Forsyth’s history and has held a variety of scientific and leadership positions since joining the Institute in 1978.  

“Dr. Stashenko has been instrumental in developing Forsyth’s strategy for the future,” said. Ronald Newbower, Ph.D., Chairman of Forsyth’s Board of Directors. “Since taking over as interim President, he has worked closely with the Board on Forsyth’s relocation and strategic plans.  As a nationally recognized leader in his field, and with his in-depth knowledge of the Institute, he is superbly suited to promote both the scientific and business interests of Forsyth.”  

Prior to assuming the role of president and CEO, Stashenko served as Forsyth’s senior vice president for research and development. In this role, he provided leadership and support for the core business of Forsyth, its basic, translational and clinical research, and its technology-transfer enterprise.  

“It is an honor and a privilege to be officially appointed as President and CEO of Forsyth,” said Stashenko. “This is an exciting time for the Institute, with our pending move to a new state-of-the-art facility in 2010, access to powerful new technologies, closer working relationships with Harvard and other universities and hospitals locally and around the world, and a substantial new resource base, we are poised to seize the vast opportunities before us in new and exciting ways.”  

Stashenko graduated with a B.A. in Biology from New York University, and received a D.M.D. degree and a Ph.D. in Immunology from Harvard University, and a certificate in endodontics, also from Harvard. First appointed to Forsyth as assistant member of the staff in 1978, Stashenko was elevated to senior member of the staff in 1989, and was founding head of the department of cytokine biology in 1992. Additionally, he is appointed as associate professor in the department of oral medicine, infection and immunity, Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM).  

A prolific writer and speaker, Stashenko is author of more than 200 scientific publications, book chapters and abstracts in the fields of immunology and bone biology. His work has contributed to a better understanding of the interplay between immune and inflammatory responses and bone metabolism. His research extends far beyond the world of oral health. Along with prominent physician Lee M. Nadler of Dana Farber Cancer Institute, he discovered the B-cell marker CD20. Anti-CD20 antibodies, which kill B cells very efficiently, are now used to treat patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other diseases caused by this cell type. His work has contributed to a better understanding of the interplay between immune and inflammatory responses and bone metabolism.  

Some seminal contributions made by his laboratory include: the identification of CD20 as a key B lymphocyte marker, the role of  interleukin-1β as an important bone-resorptive cytokine, the characterization of protective vs. destructive immune mechanisms in oral infections, the identification of osteoclast genes that are critical for bone resorption, and the regulation of osteoclast formation and activity by cytokines and neuromediators. Collectively, this work has contributed substantially to the development of the interdisciplinary field of osteoimmunology.

Stashenko’s work has been continuously funded by research grants from the National Institutes of Health since 1978, and he was recently identified as among the top 5% recipients of NIH grant funding over the past 25 years. His work has resulted in ten patents, a number of which have been licensed and are under development.   Stashenko has served for more than a decade as a permanent member of several NIH grant review panels, and is currently a member of the National Advisory Dental and Craniofacial Research Council. In this capacity, he was co-chair, Blue Ribbon Panel for NIDCR Intramural Program review in 2006. In addition, he has served as director of postdoctoral education at HSDM, President of the Harvard Dental Alumni Association, and is currently a member of the Standing Committee on Higher Degrees in Dental Medicine, Harvard University, and Director, Harvard/Forsyth K12 Career Development Program.  

His honors include: NYU University Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa, two research fellowships from the NIH, OKU honorary dental society, the HSDM Distinguished Faculty Award (1995), and the Pulp Biology Research Award, International Association for Dental Research (2000).  

The Forsyth Institute is the world’s leading independent organization dedicated to scientific research and education in oral, craniofacial and related biomedical sciences. It is affiliated with Harvard Dental and Medical Schools.

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