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Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry, Professor Paul Cooper, says that he is “very honoured” to have won the 2024 IADR Distinguished Scientist Pulp Biology and Regeneration Award.

University of Otago’s Faculty of Dentistry has won a prestigious international award for the third consecutive year.

Faculty of Dentistry Dean Professor Paul Cooper last night received the International Association for Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Research (IADR) Distinguished Scientist Award (DSA) in Pulp Biology and Regeneration, at a ceremony in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Professor Cooper says he is “very honoured” to receive the award, which acknowledges his significant contribution to oral health research throughout his career.

“It means a great deal to be receiving this recognition, especially after receiving the IADR DSA Young Investigator Award in 2010 – it’s as if my career has come full circle.”

He attributes much of his success to the support of his family and the “fantastic staff and students” he’s worked with over the years. He particularly notes the mentorship of Professor Tony Smith at the University of Birmingham’s School of Dentistry.

Professor Cooper is not the first Otago recipient of one of these prestigious awards. He follows on from Professor Jonathan Broadbent who won an IADR Distinguished Scientist Award last year, Professor Richard Cannon in 2022, and the recently retired Emeritus Professor Murray Thomson in 2010 and 2014.

Jonathan Broadbent Richard Cannon Murray Thomson image

Clockwise from left: In 2023, Dental Public Health Professor Jonathan Broadbent won his IADR award for his for his meritorious research in epidemiology and public health. In 2022, Professor Richard Cannon, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry, received his IADR award for his research into oral diseases. Emeritus Professor Murray Thomson received two IADR awards, one in 2010 and another in 2014 for his commitment to dental research and public health.

Professor Cooper says this trend speaks volumes to the “world-class Faculty and high level of research being undertaken at Otago”.

After moving to New Zealand in 2019, his first experience of the Faculty was it being a place of support and encouragement.

“It was just before the pandemic when my wife Kerry, our three sons, and the dog of course, all made the move and I have appreciated the support I received from colleagues and their guidance and encouragement during my time here at Otago.

“I’m excited to be a part of such a fantastic Faculty and its research – also we are proud to add that all of our sons have undertaken degrees at Otago, the youngest of whom is now in his final year of Computer Science.

“I will admit that our dog is yet to complete her studies here, but she has no regrets in coming to Dunedin and certainly enjoys her walks on the beach.”

~ Kōrero by the Division of Health Sciences Communications Adviser, Kelsey Schutte.

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