Dean Joseph Zambon

Published November 8, 2021

Dear University Community:

We are writing to share with you that Joseph J. Zambon, DDS, PhD, dean of the School of Dental Medicine and SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Periodontics and Endodontics, has announced his plans to retire from the University at Buffalo, effective January 5, 2022.  During Dean Zambon’s outstanding tenure, he has significantly advanced UB’s educational, research and engagement missions, leaving the school well positioned to build upon its national and international reputation. In the coming weeks, an interim dean of the School of Dental Medicine will be named as we develop plans for a national search for the next dean. 

Dean Zambon was appointed dean in 2016, after serving as interim dean for one year. He led the school in creating and implementing a new strategic plan focused on growing research capacity; providing transformative educational opportunities; improving clinic operations; recruiting excellent and diverse faculty, staff and students; and enhancing the school’s visibility. Under Dean Zambon’s leadership, the school has significantly increased federal grant proposals and expenditures. And, despite increasing competition for the very best students, the school has attracted the highest number of applicants in its history and greatly enhanced the diversity of its student body. Under Dean Zambon’s leadership, the School of Dental Medicine is recognized as one of the nation’s top dental schools, including being ranked number eight in the nation and nine worldwide in the highly influential 2020 Annual Ranking of World Universities.

To enable faculty and student success, Dean Zambon has worked to transform the School of Dental Medicine’s facilities, including state-of-the-art dental clinics. Under his leadership, the school created a new preclinical simulation center, including new dental simulators and computer-aided design and manufacturing laboratories; a new optical imaging and analysis research core facility; and a state-of-the art clinical dental implant center – the Buhite-Dimino Center for Advanced Education in Dentistry. In addition, Dean Zambon implemented a new electronic health record and clinical management system to improve operation of the teaching clinics.

Dean Zambon has been committed to providing high quality, innovative educational opportunities. Under his leadership, the school enhanced its Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) curriculum, and increased the number of remote learning and digital dentistry opportunities. The school developed new programs to attract students and introduce them to new technologies and procedures, including a postbaccalaureate program, a DDS/MS in oral sciences, and an advanced education program in implant dentistry. Dean Zambon has also collaborated with the other health sciences schools in the Academic Health Center in building UB’s nationally recognized Interprofessional Education program.

Under Dean Zambon’s leadership, the school expanded its external clinical rotation sites throughout Western New York in an effort to improve both clinical education and access to dental care for underserved populations. The school’s annual Give Vets a Smile Day and Give Kids a Smile Day provide free dental care to thousands of patients. The school significantly increased patient volume and the reach of its mobile dental van and recently added a second mobile dental van.

Understanding the transformative impact of philanthropy, Dean Zambon has led a comprehensive campaign to support the school’s world-class research, education, clinical facilities and experiences. Under his leadership, the school received over $20,000,000 in gifts including four gifts over a million dollars to support the construction of new facilities and to establish the Stephanie Mucha Endowed Scholarship. The campaign has also resulted in the establishment of three new endowed chairs and one new endowed professorship.

An internationally-recognized oral microbiologist and fellow of the American College of Dentists, Dean Zambon has authored or co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters that have received over 10,000 citations and include three of the 100 most highly cited papers in dentistry, has been principal or co-investigator on more than 60 grants and contracts, and holds five patents.

For more information, please see the UB Now story.

Please join us in thanking Dean Zambon for his leadership and dedicated service as professor and dean of the School of Dental Medicine and in wishing him continued success and enjoyment in his well-earned retirement.



A. Scott Weber
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Michael E. Cain, M.D.
Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences