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Dr. Lindhe named 2009 Ross award recipient

Gothenburg, Sweden—Since 1962 Dr. Jan Lindhe has published some 400 articles on the diagnosis, pathogenesis and clinical understanding of periodontal disease, and also written the internationally-used textbook Clinical Periodontology and Implant Dentistry.

For his research on tissue regeneration, osseointegration and implants, as well as his heralded work with future leaders in the field, he is the 2009 recipient of the Norton M. Ross Award for Excellence in Clinical Research.

At 74, Dr. Lindhe said he isn't interested in slowing down when it comes to researching and understanding periodontal disease.

"Your extensive and impressive clinical research on a variety of topics, especially your insightful research on the complex and inter-related etiologic factors affecting periodontitis and the treatment of these diseases, has greatly contributed to our profession's knowledge base," wrote ADA President John S. Findley in a letter of congratulations to Dr. Lindhe. "Your work has also dramatically affected how periodontitis patients are managed, from the earliest stages of treatment planning to long-term maintenance therapy. On behalf of your colleagues, I extend our deepest appreciation for your lifetime of work."

The award is presented in memory of Dr. Norton Ross, a dentist and pharmacologist who contributed significantly to oral medicine and dental clinical research. From 1983-1988 Dr. Lindhe served as the dean at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, where he met Dr. Ross personally.

"He was a very nice person," Dr. Lindhe recalled. "He was in New Jersey and I was in Philadelphia and we met on a regular basis and planned a lot of studies."

A 1959 graduate of the Royal School of Dentistry in Malmo, Sweden, Dr. Lindhe has been involved in dental education for 50 years.

In addition to serving as dean at Penn, he has been affiliated with the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, since 1969, first as the chair of the perio department and later as the school's dean from 1977-1983 and again from 1990-1993. He remains a professor emeritus at the school.

Currently Dr. Lindhe is researching new bone substitutes and examining how they respond during periodontal treatment. Though technically retired, he still gives lectures and considers himself a full-time researcher.

"If you like what you are doing, time and age don't matter," he said. "I'm very interested in what I'm doing and I always have good collaborators."

He considers dentistry a great profession, particularly to those scientists looking for a challenge.

"If a young person interested in science asked me today, I would still say dentistry is the best. There are thousands of procedures you can perform. An eye doctor can only do a few things. For a dentist, that variety is not only challenging, but charming. That keeps your interest."

In his nomination letter of Dr. Lindhe to the Norton M. Ross Award Selection Committee, Dr. David Cochran, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, wrote "Probably more remarkable than the multitude of accomplishments Professor Lindhe has achieve has been his training and development of the next generation of leaders in the field."

"I have 25 Ph.Ds on my conscience," said Dr. Lindhe, who became an honorary AAP member in 1982. "Many of whom have become [famous]. That's the best, when you can help people become something and stimulate them to do something you think is important."

He added that "surrounding himself with young people" and taking nightly walks—"sweaty" walks—with his wife help keep him in shape. "I live a very happy life," said the father of three children and grandfather to eight grandchildren.

Since 1991, the Norton M. Ross Award has recognized investigators whose clinical research has had a meaningful impact on some aspect of clinical dentistry. Previous award winners represent a wide range of disciplines that have included dental materials, oral health issues, oral medicine, oral pathology, orofacial pain and periodontics.

As the 2009 Norton M. Ross Award winner, Dr. Lindhe will receive a plaque and a monetary award of $5,000. The award is sponsored by the ADA through the ADA Foundation and Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products, Division of McNeil-PPC Inc.