Lyndon F. Cooper, D.D.S., Ph.D., has been named dean of Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry, effective April 18. Cooper currently serves as associate dean for research and head of the Department of Oral Biology at University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry.

“Dr. Cooper is an internationally renowned and innovative patient-oriented researcher and clinician, whose leadership will build on the VCU School of Dentistry’s existing robust research portfolio and its focus on forward-thinking practices around patient-centered education,” said Art Kellermann, M.D., M.P.H., senior vice president for VCU Health Sciences and CEO of VCU Health. “With Dr. Cooper at the helm, VCU School of Dentistry — Virginia’s only dental school, whose faculty have educated countless practitioners throughout the Commonwealth — will reach new heights in dental research and service to the Commonwealth through expert care and educating future dental professionals and oral health researchers on innovative approaches to improving our nation’s oral and general health.”

As associate dean for research at UIC, Cooper has expanded research in regenerative sciences, innovative biomedical devices and translational studies evaluating the roles of a variety of biomarkers linked to cancer. Under Cooper’s leadership, the Department of Oral Biology at UIC served as a foundation for many of the basic science topics taught to the school’s D.M.D., M.S. and Ph.D. students. He continued his clinical activities as a prosthodontist by leading clinical studies and establishing the school’s Clinical Research Center.

“I am excited and honored to be selected as the next dean of VCU School of Dentistry,” Cooper said. “VCU has a strong reputation in dental education and research, and I’m looking forward to building on this excellent foundation and securing VCU’s School of Dentistry’s rightful place as one of the top dental schools in the country serving the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Prior to UIC, Cooper served as program director of Advanced Prosthodontics and Stallings Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina Adams School of Dentistry. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics (ACP) and a former ACP President, who received the ACP’s 2004 Clinician/Researcher Award. He was also named the recipient of the 2009 International Association for Dental Research Distinguished Scientist Award for Prosthodontics and Implantology.

After earning his D.D.S. from New York University, Cooper went on to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester, New York, and a Certificate in Prosthodontics from the Eastman Dental Center in Rochester. Later, he completed a two-year research fellowship at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in Bethesda, Maryland.

Clara Spatafore, D.D.S., M.S., who has served as interim dean of VCU School of Dentistry since February 2021, will continue in the role until Dr. Cooper joins VCU.

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