The VCU School of Dentistry Department of Periodontics has announced leadership changes in its graduate program.

Rafael Amorim Cavalcanti de Siqueira, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D, has been named director of the Graduate Program in Periodontics, succeeding longtime director Thomas Waldrop, D.D.S., M.S. In his new role as director, Siqueira will lead all aspects of the Periodontics Graduate Program.  

Additionally, Amirreza Ghassemi, D.D.S., M.S., will serve as director of the Graduate Periodontics Clinic, where he will advance clinical education and operational processes within the graduate clinic. 

“Please help us congratulate Drs. Siqueira and Ghassemi in their new roles within the graduate program. I am  confident their collaboration and leadership will continue to evolve the graduate program and maintain its focus on clinical periodontics,” said Dr. Sharon Lanning, chair of the Department of Periodontics. “I thank Dr. Thomas Waldrop for his 28 years of service to the Department of Periodontics and its graduate program. Our very own Ironman’s vision and steadfast dedication transformed the graduate program into the premiere program we know today. Waldrop will remain as departmental faculty and be integral to the onboarding of the new program leadership.”

Siqueira joined VCU in August 2021 as an assistant professor, where he has immersed himself in teaching, service and research. As a talented clinician and instructor, Siqueira has supported both the undergraduate and graduate programs through didactic and clinical teaching. His knowledge and experience in digital dentistry has already positively affected clinical efficiency and collaborations across departments. 

Siqueira’s research interests include dental implant surfaces and osseointegration, digital dentistry, and imaging modalities for the diagnosis and management of periodontal and peri-implant tissues. Siqueira has published more than 30 peer-reviewed articles, 12 abstracts and five book chapters. He has presented at numerous conferences nationally and internationally and been recognized for his work at the national level by the Academy of Osseointegration.

“I am excited about the opportunity to serve as the director of the Graduate Program in Periodontics. Working with our amazing residents, staff, and full-time and part-time faculty from VCU has been a gratifying honor. I feel incredibly grateful to be in this position at an institution like VCU but also humbled by the weight of the responsibilities and the hard work needed to keep the high standards of this program,” said Siqueira. “This new role comes at a particular moment when dentistry and the SOD have been embracing new technologies to improve treatment workflows. Technology supported by solid fundamentals of biology is becoming a driving force to improve dental care and to foster interdisciplinary collaborations.”

“I look forward to this next challenge and keeping the program’s legacy of producing highly qualified periodontists who provide comprehensive state-of-the-art periodontal care to their patients. In this realm, I want to acknowledge Dr. Thomas Waldrop and the team of incredible people that have contributed to his vision over the last 28 years to make VCU Periodontics well-recognized nationwide among the top graduate programs in the field,” he added.

A native of Brazil, Siqueira earned his D.D.S. from the University of Pernambuco, School of Dentistry in 2010, his M.S. from the Latin American Institute of Dental Research and Education in 2013, and his specialization in Periodontics from the Military Hospital of Recife in 2013. From 2014-2015, Siqueira was an assistant professor, School of Dentistry, Faculdade Integrada de Pernambuco and from 2014-2018 he was an adjunct professor at the Tavares Vieira Institute. He also completed his Ph.D from the Federal University of Pernambuco, School of Dentistry in 2018.

It was at the University of Michigan where Siqueira earned a Certificate in Periodontology and another M.S. degree in 2021. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and maintains a part-time private practice in Periodontics and Implantology.

Ghassemi joined VCU School of Dentistry in June 2021 as an assistant professor. Since that time he has supported the teaching mission of the department by engaging with undergraduate  and postgraduate students in the classroom and clinics. 

Ghassemi is integral to the collaborative efforts within the department to enhance faculty calibration and instruction of surgical therapy techniques for dental. His research focuses on the clinical performance of dental implants by studying new surface modifications and novel materials in implant dentistry. He has published numerous articles. He has presented his work nationally and Internationally. Earlier this year, he presented at the American Academy of Periodontology Annual Session in Phoenix, Arizona. 

“I am incredibly grateful and humbled to begin as director of the Graduate Periodontics clinic. I cannot be more honored and appreciative to our department and school leadership for their selection and confidence they have shown in me,” said Ghassemi. “I am so looking forward to working with our talented residents, lovely staff, and all departments of our school to meet our department’s mission, vision, and values. My goal is to preserve and build upon the incredible 50-year-old legacy of training expert clinicians that this department has, while simultaneously looking toward the future with growth in mind. I continue to be amazed at the caring and love our residents and staff show daily to our patients in the Graduate Periodontics clinic.”

Ghassemi earned his D.D.S. degree from Kerman University of Medical Sciences, College of Dentistry in his home county of Iran. He completed a one-year program in advanced Implantology from UCLA School of Dentistry in 2014. 

In 2018, Ghassemi earned a Certificate in Periodontology and M.S. degree from Saint Louis University, Center for Advanced Dental Education. He then served as an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University, School of Dental Medicine from 2018-2021. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and maintains a part-time private practice in Periodontics and Implantology.

Categories Periodontics, Schoolwide News