Campus News

Longtime UB faculty member Sebastian Ciancio dies at 83

Dr. Sebastian Ciancio and Mrs. Marilyn Ciancio.

Longtime UB faculty member Sebastian Ciancio, pictured here with his wife, Marilyn, was widely known for his research in the treatment of periodontal disease. Photo: Douglas Levere


Published October 22, 2020


Sebastian G. Ciancio, one of the world’s leading figures in periodontology and pharmacology, and a dedicated UB faculty member for more than 50 years, died unexpectedly Oct. 17. He was 83.

Ciancio was a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor and the immediate past chair of the Department of Periodontology and Endodontics, a role he filled for 35 years.

He was widely known for his research in the treatment of periodontal disease. His studies examined the effects that oral hygiene devices, such as toothbrushes and dental floss, and chemical agents, such as toothpaste and mouthwashes, have on gum disease.

An advocate for collaborations between universities and industry to advance oral health research to market, Ciancio also established and directed the UB Center for Dental Studies, which partners with companies across the world to perform clinical dental research. Under his guidance, the center completed more than $15 million in research projects.

“Dr. Ciancio was a nationally and internationally recognized leader in the dental profession and in the discipline of periodontics. Over his long career, Dr. Ciancio was awarded numerous honors. We extend our sincere condolences to his wife, Marilyn, and the entire Ciancio family,” said Joseph J. Zambon, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor and dean of the School of Dental Medicine.

Ciancio joined the School of Dental Medicine in 1964 as an instructor in periodontology. In addition to his long career in the dental school, he also served as a clinical associate professor in the UB Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, and as a consultant for the Buffalo Veterans Administration Medical Center and Erie County Medical Center.

His dedication to research was only paralleled by his enthusiasm for education and his commitment to his students. Ciancio mentored many of today’s leading figures in dental research and industry.

He founded the Chautauqua Dental Congress, a forum for continuing dental education in Western New York, and the publication Dentistry Today named him one of the nation’s leading lecturers in the area of continuing dental education. Ciancio had presented courses across the world, from Argentina to New Zealand.

Among his many achievements were receiving the first Presidential Citation from the American Association for Dental Research in 2019; the 2001 Gold Medal Award and the 2000 Presidential Award, both from the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP); and the American Dental Education Association’s William J. Gies Award in 1988.

Ciancio was a past president of both the AAP and the International Academy of Periodontology, and served as chair of the dental division of the United States Pharmacopoeia, where he established sections on the oral health effects of prescription drugs.

Ciancio was a fellow of the International College of Dentists. He published more than 150 papers in academic journals, wrote more than 25 books and book chapters, held two patents, and served on numerous editorial boards and professional committees.

He earned a doctorate in dental surgery from UB.

A funeral service will be held at 8:45 a.m. Oct. 24 at St. Gregory the Great Church, 200 St. Gregory Court, Williamsville.

Memorials may be made in Ciancio’s memory to the UB School of Dental Medicine Scholarship Fund. Condolences may be shared with Amigone Funeral Home.


When I was with the Center for the Arts, Dr. Ciancio helped to relieve a visiting professional artist from South Africa of some extreme dental pain, squeezing us into his busy schedule. We were extremely grateful at the time, as was the performer, and I've never forgotten. God bless. RIP.

Rob Falgiano