Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Dental Research

Established in 1985 and presented every three years, the Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Dental Research honors individuals who, through basic or clinical research, have contributed to the advancement of the profession of dentistry or to major improvement in the oral health of the public. The Award is sponsored by the ADA together with Colgate.

Martha Somerman

Gold Medal Award Winner for 2021

Martha Somerman, D.D.S., Ph.D., has distinguished herself over a career of more than 50 years as the author of seminal research on the development and regeneration of oral tissue affected by gum disease. From 2011 to 2019, she served as director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the lead U.S. agency for scientific research on dental, oral and craniofacial health and disease. In this role, Dr. Somerman expanded the agency’s clinical program focused on rare and undiagnosed diseases within the dental-oral-craniofacial complex. She also served as principal investigator of the Laboratory of Oral Connective Tissue Biology at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and as senior clinical advisory staff at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health.

Headshot of Erin Ealba Bumann

Gold Medal Fellow Selected by Dr. Somerman

Erin Ealba Bumann, D.D.S., Ph.D., M.S., is a tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, School of Dentistry. A board-certified pediatric dentist since 2018, Dr. Bumann researches the impact that adverse childhood events such as poverty can have on the emergence of permanent teeth, an association that may make it possible use tooth emergence as a screening tool to direct early intervention resources to the children who need them most. In addition, Dr. Bumann’s lab studies craniofacial bone formation focusing on the mandible; the hope is that this research will lead to the discovery of novel molecular-based therapies that can regulate jaw bone growth and development, thereby offering a noninvasive alternative to the surgical treatments currently available to address craniofacial malformations.

Award overview
The Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Dental Research is presented once every three years. The individual selected will receive $25,000 and a gold medallion at a formal presentation, with all expenses for the recipient’s travel and lodging covered. If eligible, the recipient will also serve a three-year term as a member of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs. In addition, the recipient will select a fellowship recipient, who will receive funding of $20,000 to support their own research.
Past recipients
2018: Dr. Ken Hargreaves

2015: Dr. Steven Offenbacher, who selected Dr. Shaoping Zhang as a Gold Medal Fellow

2012: Dr. John S. Greenspan

2009: Dr. Harold C. Slavkin

2006: Dr. Lorne M. Golub

2003: Dr. Robert J. Gorlin

2000: Dr. William H. Bowen

1997: Dr. Takao Fusayama

1994: Dr. Harald Löe

1991: Dr. Robert J. Genco

1988: Dr. Basil G. Bibby

1985: Dr. Irwin D. Mandel