Dr. Bruce J. Baum, Chief of the Gene Therapy and Therapeutics Branch of The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (US National Institutes of Health), has received the Oral Medicine & Pathology Research Award, conferred by the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), which convened for its 85th General Session.

Dr. Baum is an outstanding scientist, scholar, and mentor, who has made highly visible and significant contributions to the field of oral medicine and oral pathology. He has conducted sustained cutting-edge research focused on the pathogenesis and management of salivary gland and related oral medical disorders. Specifically, Dr. Baum has made major scientific contributions in the following six areas related to this award:

1. His studies from 1978 to 1990 clearly demonstrated that a reduction in saliva production was not a normal result of growing old, to be accepted by elders, but rather a consequence of pathology that required clinical attention.

2. With Dr. Philip Fox, Dr. Baum established the first research clinic in the US focused on dry mouth as a significant clinical problem, and their studies from 1982 to the early 1990s established the importance of a complaint of xerostomia, the parameters defining the adequacy of normal human saliva production, how to evaluate a complaint of xerostomia accurately and conveniently, and how to treat patients with such a complaint. This eventually led to the first drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of salivary hypofunction, pilocarpine).

3. His studies from 1980 to 1990, on gustatory and oral motor function across the lifespan, provided a foundation for defining normalcy of these functions during aging.

4. His studies from 1984 to the present have contributed significantly toward our understanding of the pathogenesis of the salivary gland damage that accompanies head and neck irradiation and occurs with Sjögren's syndrome.

5. Beginning with pioneering studies in 1991, Dr. Baum developed highly novel applications of gene transfer technology and tissue engineering for the repair of severely damaged salivary glands, conditions for which no suitable treatment currently exists.

6. Through research starting in 1995, Dr. Baum defined an unusual and novel use for gene transfer to salivary glands - to treat systemic, single-protein-deficiency disorders.

The IADR Oral Medicine & Pathology Research Award is supported by Sunstar Americas, Inc., and consists of a cash prize and a plaque. It is one of the Distinguished Scientist Awards given annually by the IADR, representing the highest honor the IADR can bestow. Dr. Baum received his award during the Opening Ceremonies of the IADR's 85th General Session.

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Contact: Linda Hemphill
International & American Association for Dental Research

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