Iain Morgan

Iain Morgan, Ph.D.

Director, Philips Institute for Oral Health Research

As director of the school's Philips Institute for Oral Health Research Link opens in new window, Iain Morgan, Ph.D., calls attention to the important achievements and opportunities in the laboratories of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry.

“We already have excellent Faculty studying cancer, bacterial infections and inflammation, and bioengineering of the oral cavity," Morgan said. "We have just hired three new faculty in the area of cancer research and we will work closely with the Massey Cancer Center to develop a team studying head and neck cancer. We have attracted junior faculty of the highest caliber from Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Wisconsin–Madison, giving us a real critical mass in the cancer area.”

Morgan aims to expand the institute to incorporate faculty from several schools and research backgrounds, building a multi-disciplinary institute focused on oral cancers, infection and inflammation of the oral cavity and bioengineering. "Our funding opportunities and chances for real progress in clinical problems will be greatly assisted by us working together as a team to address diseases of the oral cavity," said Morgan. "This will mean basic scientists, translational scientists, dental clinicians and medical physicians with a variety of different skills all working together."

"Ultimately we want to create a vibrant and inclusive research culture here at the School of Dentistry," he said. "This will mean more opportunities for our students to experience research and also increased collaborations and projects with our clinicians. These two goals clearly work better together."

Morgan, who previously worked for the Medical Research Council Centre for Virus Research at the University of Glasgow, looks forward to growing the Philips Institute. "My goal is to increase our funding, increase our faculty and increase our national recognition for excellence in oral health research," he said.

He underscored the importance of having a dental school tied to a major public research university.

"Research shows people the future and helps them understand the past and the advances that have been made," he said. It's important for the pre-doctoral dentist, it's important for our patients and it's important for our society. Here at VCU the research climate is outstanding and we are making contributions advancing health care at multiple levels. It is an exciting time for research here at the VCU School of Dentistry."