Links Between Oral and Systemic Diseases to be Topic of International Symposium Honoring Robert Genco, Eminent UB Dental Researcher

SUNY Distinguished Professor a Pioneer in the Field

By Lois Baker

Release Date: August 20, 2004 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. – Scientists from the U.S., Europe, South America, Asia and Australia will convene in Buffalo on Sept. 10-12 to discuss the latest research on the relationship between periodontal disease and many chronic systemic diseases in a symposium honoring Robert J. Genco, D.D.S., Ph.D., an international leader in the field of dental research.

Genco, formerly chair of the Department of Oral Biology at the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine for 25 years, is head of the UB Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (STOR) and interim vice president for research at UB, and is continuing his own research.

"Contemporary Periodontology: Host-Pathogen Relationships in Health and Disease" is the theme of the two-day meeting to be held in the Hyatt Regency Buffalo.

Highlighting the symposium will be a presentation by Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), who will discuss the role of the NIDCR in advancing oral-biology research and directions that research may take in the future. Tabak received his doctorate in oral biology from UB.

Commenting on Genco's accomplishments, Tabak said: "The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has funded Bob Genco's work for about four decades. During that time, he has made important contributions in a number of areas, notably the integration of basic and clinical periodontal research, the immunology of periodontal diseases, and the association between periodontal disease and systemic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease."

Genco and his colleagues were among the first to report a connection between gum disease and heart disease and stroke and led studies relating infection to diabetes mellitus and obesity.

Currently he is principal investigator on a $7.3 million grant from the NIDCR to do preliminary studies and conduct a pilot clinical trial of the impact of periodontal disease treatment on prevention of

second heart attacks. He is editor of the Journal of Periodontology and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science.

D. Walter Cohen, D.D.S., dean emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and keynote speaker at a dinner on Sept. 11 that will honor Genco, said of the honoree: "His career has been so outstanding. He represents the ideal role model for a dental scientist and researcher, bringing together clinical practice and the basic sciences. We need more Bob Gencos." Cohen also is chancellor emeritus of the MCP Hahnemann University of Health Sciences and a practicing clinician.

Richard Buchanan, D.M.D., dean of the UB dental school, and Hiroo Kaneda, chairman and CEO of Sunstar Inc., which is supporting the symposium, will present opening remarks at the dinner.

Sessions on Sept. 10 will cover the pathogenesis of periodontal disease and periodontal disease risk factors, as well as systemic effects of periodontitis on diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Sessions on Sept. 11 will be devoted to the association of periodontal disease and conditions affecting women, specifically osteoporosis and preterm birth, and to the contribution of periodontal disease to respiratory diseases and chronic inflammation.

Experts from UCLA, The Forsyth Institute in Boston, Bates College, University of Southern California, University of Tennessee, University of Queensland, Australia, University of Michigan, Helsinki University, University of North Carolina, University of Minnesota, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam, The Netherlands, University of Pennsylvania, The Ohio State University, University of Chile, Tokyo Dental College, Boston University and UB will present findings during the six sessions.