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ADA Foundation Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center dedicated

May 23, 2014

By Craig Palmer

Gaithersburg, Md.—Dr. Anthony “Tony” Volpe struck just the right note May 21 at the dedication of the ADA Foundation Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center on the campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Namesake: Dr. Anthony Volpe shares a laugh with Dr. Terry Buckenheimer, member of the ADA Board of Trustees. 

“When something like this happens you wonder how you got here,” he told a celebratory audience of the ADA Foundation Board of Directors, American Dental Association Board of Trustees, Colgate-Palmolive Company representatives and staff and VRC researchers, describing five decades of clinical dental research, preventive dentistry and scientific affairs initiated, he said, with a profession-determining coin toss. And the rest is history.

Commemoration: A photo of Dr. Volpe is unveiled. From left, Ian Cook, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Colgate-Palmolive; Dr. Anthony Volpe; Dr. David Whiston, president of the ADA Foundation Board of Directors; and Dr. Charles Norman, ADA president. 

In addition to pioneering work on the measurement of tartar, he had a leadership role in the development of other measurement procedures and led breakthrough clinical research on plaque and gum disease control. A teacher and mentor to generations of researchers, he has left his mark on oral health research worldwide.

Research in action: Those who attended the dedication tour the ADA Foundation Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center on the campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Dr. Volpe recently retired as vice president of Clinical Research and Scientific Affairs from the Colgate-Palmolive Company at its Technology Center in Piscataway, New Jersey. His portrait, unveiled at the VRC dedication, will smile at visitors at the entry, among the signs and wall plaques already in place through the halls and laboratories of the dental materials research facility.

“Today, we proudly honor Dr. Anthony Volpe’s steadfast commitment to scientific excellence and his valuable contributions to all areas of dentistry including industry, practice and academia,” said Ian Cook, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Colgate-Palmolive. “The new Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center will serve as a strong testament to his lasting legacy among dental professionals at Colgate and the global dental community. On behalf of Colgate, we are delighted that the new laboratory facility bearing his name will continue to support our ongoing mission to help improve oral health around the world by fostering the next generation of dental researchers.”

“This research center has a long and distinguished history of innovations that have changed dentistry worldwide,” said Dr. David Whiston, president of the ADA Foundation Board of Directors. “Now, with our focus on new technologies and therapies, and in identifying and supporting the next generation of researchers in oral health, this new collaboration provides great momentum. We are pleased that Colgate shares our desire to honor our past successes and those of Dr. Volpe in this way and to foster new talent from which the next Tony Volpe may arise.”

“The VRC is one example of how the ADA, ADAF and Colgate-Palmolive share a collaborative commitment to advancing the science of dentistry,” said ADA President Dr. Charles Norman. “The cutting edge work here ensures the dental profession has access to the best basic and clinical knowledge for the good of the patients we serve. For 80 years, VRC scientists have played a major role in developing many of the innovations used in dental clinics today throughout the world. It’s a legacy this facility will continue to build and expand on in the decades to come.”  

VRC researchers conducted tours of the dental labs for the professional leaders and presented reports on their research. Visit for VRC research reports and information on the Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center.  

The renaming of the ADAF Paffenbarger Research Center was announced Sept. 19, 2013, as a joint initiative of the ADA Foundation, American Dental Association and Colgate-Palmolive Company to enhance the ADAF dental research laboratory in Gaithersburg and to support and encourage promising young researchers.

The initiative will fund a distinguished researcher as the Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Fellow and provide permanent support for the ADAF’s Colgate Dental Student Conference on Research, an event that annually attracts about 50 of the most promising dental students from the U.S. and Canada to introduce dental students to scientists from the ADA Foundation’s Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center, the ADA, industry, academia and National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to raise their awareness of the wide-ranging careers available in oral health research.