(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — Concluding a yearlong nationwide search, The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Wednesday approved Lawrence E. Wolinsky, Ph.D., D.M.D., as the new dean for the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas.

Dr. Wolinsky currently serves as the associate dean for academic programs and personnel in the UCLA School of Dentistry. He begins his new duties Sept. 1.

As the TAMHSC-Baylor College of Dentistry dean, Dr. Wolinsky’s responsibilities include promoting excellence in dentistry education, graduate education and research through recruitment of high quality faculty; ensuring space and resources for all programs; and overseeing curriculum, student affairs and educational policies.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Lawrence Wolinsky to our leadership team,” said Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., president of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and vice chancellor for health affairs for the A&M System. “Dr. Wolinsky brings years of experience across a variety of roles – roles that ultimately led him to seek the role of dean. He is committed to excellence in research and innovation in education; both goals are consistent with the TAMHSC’s overarching goals.”

Dr. Wolinsky is honored to be selected.

“I am looking forward to moving to Dallas and continuing the tradition of excellence that the Baylor College of Dentistry and the Texas A&M Health Science Center share,” he said.

Dr. Wolinsky follows James S. Cole, D.D.S., who was appointed as dean in July 2000 after serving as interim dean of the college since December 1999. A member of the TAMHSC-Baylor College of Dentistry faculty since 1977, Dr. Cole also served as interim president of the TAMHSC from Oct. 1, 2000, to Dec. 31, 2001.

“Having a tested leader like Dr. Jim Cole leave is difficult,” Dr. Dickey said. “But Jim leaves things in great condition, and we look forward to Dr. Wolinsky picking up the reins and continuing the drive to being the best that we can be.”

Alicia M. Dorsey, Ph.D., TAMHSC vice president for program development and community outreach, said the committee was very fortunate in attracting competitive and high profile candidates.

“Following interviews of the top candidates, Dr. Wolinsky clearly emerged as the leading candidate and will bring extensive experience and insight to this position,” Dr. Dorsey said. “I am pleased with the integrity of the process and the extent to which the search committee considered all perspectives in working with the various stakeholders and choosing a final candidate.”

In addition to being associate dean, Dr. Wolinsky is a professor in the Section of Oral Biology in the Division of Oral Biology & Medicine at the UCLA School of Dentistry, having joined the dental school faculty in 1980. His numerous academic achievements included creating a mentorship program for junior faculty to assist them in mapping their career development and guiding the dental school through a successful re-accreditation.

Dr. Wolinsky’s research projects focus on identifying new treatment methods for periodontal disease and management of caries. He was among the first to explore the plaque-inhibiting effects of natural plant compounds and instrumental in developing an antimicrobial gel (Atridox®) for managing periodontal disease. He also aided in creating a remineralizing toothpaste (Enamelon®) to help reverse early tooth decay.

Dr. Wolinsky obtained his Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry at the University of California, San Diego, his Doctorate in Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and a certificate in periodontology from UCLA. His wife, Amerian D. Sones, D.M.D., M.S., is a prosthodontist, and they have three grown children – Julia, Zachary and Andrew.

As a distinguished resource for dental education in Texas for more than 100 years, the TAMHSC-Baylor College of Dentistry is dedicated to combining higher education and research with community service. The college opened its doors in 1905, was affiliated with Baylor University from 1918 to 1971 and spent the next 25 years as an independent, private institution. In 1996, TAMHSC-Baylor College of Dentistry entered an entirely new era as a member of The Texas A&M University System. In 1999, the college became a founding component of the Texas A&M Health Science Center.

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— LaDawn Brock