UW News

October 1, 2009

Two School or Dentistry department chairs to leave posts

School Of Dentistry


Two departmental chairs at the School of Dentistry have announced that they will be stepping down from their posts.

Dr. O. Ross Beirne, chair of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for the last 10 years, will relinquish his chair later this fall, after the School of Dentistry undergoes its seven-year review by the Commission on Dental Accreditation in November.

Dr. Kenneth T. Izutsu, who has chaired Oral Biology since 1997, planned to step down on Oct. 1. Both will remain on faculty; Izutsu has been recommended for professor emeritus standing.

“These will be very hard shoes to fill,” said Dr. Martha J. Somerman, dean of the School of Dentistry.

“While I regret that Ross is giving up his chair, I am delighted that we will still benefit from his talents and abilities,” she said. “We are indeed fortunate to have people of his caliber.”

Somerman also said, “Oral Biology is at the forefront of our research efforts, and our consistent success in attracting grant funding over the years is just one indicator of how capably Ken Izutsu has served the School.”

The School of Dentistry ranks third among all dental schools in the United States in funding by the National Institutes of Health this year, and has ranked among the top five for the last several years.

Beirne expressed a desire to devote more time to teaching, patient care and research.

“I have been fortunate to work with dedicated and exceptional faculty, staff, residents, and students,” he said.

Izutsu said, “I have chosen this time to retire so I can spend more time with my family. “I also hope to do some documenting of family history.” In addition to continuing his current research, he said he will also help formulate new proposals.

Two dentistry faculty members will share Izutsu’s duties. Dr. Thomas Morton of Oral Biology and Oral Medicine, who has been chair of the school’s faculty council, will now become acting chair of Oral Biology. Dr. Susan Herring of Orthodontics will serve as acting vice chair and will guide strategic planning in research directions and development.

No replacement has yet been named for Beirne, who is a diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and the National Dental Board of Anesthesiology. He is also a fellow of the American College of Dentists and Councilor with the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Research Group of the American Association for Dental Research.

He received his D.M.D. from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 1972, a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, San Francisco in 1976, and his certificate in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in 1979.

Izutsu has been on the editorial board of the Journal of Dental Research, president of the Salivary Research Group of the International Association of Dental Research, a director of the American Association of Oral Biologists and a member of the American Association of Dental Research Fellowship Committee. In 1985, he was named an honorary member of the Omicron Kappa Upsilon dental honorary society.

He received his B.S. in physics in 1964, and his Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics in 1970, both from the UW. Since 1980, he has held a joint appointment in Oral Medicine. He has also served on the UW Faculty Senate.