Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Finland
Translational oral health research
“Translational research” is a fashionable term, practically meaning science where basic biomedical findings are implemented in the clinic with, preferably, improvements in the health of populations. Dental and oral health related research has traditionally been focused on specific and narrow discipline areas such as cariology, periodontology, prosthodontics, orthodontics, oral surgery…The drawback in such restrictive thinking has been the lack of a holistic approach. More recently, however, the silo-thinking has been refuted and the patient is regarded comprehensively. A good example here is the current paradigm where oral infections are related to systemic health. Furthermore, a “from the laboratory to the clinic” approach has given us probiotics or health-beneficial bacteria, probably used for thousands of years by man, but only recently applied also in diseases of the mouth thanks to basic laboratory research. In the future, translational research is expected to result in novel diagnostic methods and subsequent breakthroughs in treatments – all for the benefit of the patient.
Dr. Meurman is professor emeritus of oral infectious diseases at the University of Helsinki and head physician at the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland. He is the author or co-author of numerous peer-reviewed original research publications mainly focusing on the various aspects of oral health and systemic health and in oral microbiology. Current PubMed hits are 311 publications, Web of Science 358 entries with Hirsch index 42 and 6729 citations. Dr. Meurman has also had a special interest in probiotics, a new research area he pioneered in the early 1990s, and in oral Candida infections. He has supervised 24 doctoral theses and lectured extensively in various international forums. Dr. Meurman´s research group has currently 10 registered doctoral students.
Dr. Meurman has been assessor of research and education in several universities: Dresden, Geneva, Karolinska Institute (Stockholm), Oslo, Amsterdam, Turku, and Basel (currently). He has a number of eternal expert commitments, e.g. in the European Food Safety Authority and the Initiative for Science in Europe, and the Inter-Academies Platform (IAP).
He has received several honours including the “Echelon Argent” of Ville de Paris, France, in 1991, from President Chirac. In 2004, Dr. Meurman received the title of “Docteur honoris causa” from the Louis Pasteur University, Strasbourg, France. In 2005 he received the “Geriatric Oral Research Award” of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR). Dr. Meurman is past-immediate President of the IADR. In 2007 Dr. Meurman was promoted “Doctor honoris causa” in the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, where he also took the position of Adjunct Professor. In 2009 he received his third “doctor honoris causa” from the Medical University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. He is an invited member of the German Leopoldina National Academy of Sciences (ML) and Chair of the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters. Dr. Meurman is member ad hominis of the Royal Society of Surgeons, Edinburgh (FDSRCS).