Dr. Rena D’Souza is the Director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health. She is deeply committed to the organization’s mission — advance fundamental knowledge about dental, oral, and craniofacial health and disease and translate these findings into prevention, early detection, and treatment strategies that improve overall health for all individuals and communities across the lifespan.
As the director of NIDCR, Dr. D’Souza oversees the institute’s annual budget of over $500 million, supporting basic, translational, and clinical research in areas of oral cancer, orofacial pain, tooth decay, periodontal disease, salivary gland dysfunction, and the craniofacial development and the oral complications of systemic diseases.
Prior to becoming NIDCR’s director, Dr. D’Souza served at the University of Utah as Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Education for the Health Sciences. She held the Ole and Marty Jensen endowed chair in the School of Dentistry that she led as inaugural dean. As a clinician-scientist, D’Souza has been strongly committed to discovery and mentoring throughout her academic career. She is past president of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) and the International Association for Dental Research (IADR).
Dr. D’Souza is an internationally recognized researcher and has authored over 150 publications and book chapters in the areas of craniofacial development, matrix biology and tissue regeneration for over 30 years. She is a Fellow of AAAS and also of AADR. She received the 2010 Presidential Award for Research Excellence from the Texas A&M Health Science Center and was inducted into the German National Academy of Sciences in 2012. Columbia University College of Dental Medicine’s awarded Dr. D’Souza the Birnberg Research Medal in 2016. She also received the IADR Distinguished Scientist Award in Pulp Biology Research in 2002 and the Irwin D. Mandel Distinguished National Mentoring Award in 2017.
Dr. D’Souza is active on several trans-NIH committees and maintains an active research laboratory in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), NIH.