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Dr. Ray Bowen Receives 2014 Distinguished Scientist Award from American Association for Dental Research


March 20, 2014
by ADA Foundation (ADAF) & American Dental Association (ADA)

The ADA Foundation (ADAF) is proud to announce that Dr. Rafael Bowen of the Foundation’s Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center (VRC) in Gaithersburg, Md., is the recipient of the 2014 American Association for Dental Research (AADR) Distinguished Scientist Award.

The award, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, annually recognizes a scientist “who has contributed outstanding research of particular significance in any of the fields related to oral science.”  The award consists of a $5,000 cash prize, a plaque, and travel expenses to the AADR Annual Meeting in Charlotte, N.C., where Dr. Bowen received the award.

After serving in the Army during World War II, Dr. Bowen enrolled at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry. From dental school to dental practice, Dr. Bowen’s concern for the welfare of his patients grew into an interest in the strength and durability of the materials being used for dental restorations.  He set up a small materials testing lab on his screened-in porch, which eventually led to publishing his first research paper and a presentation at an International Association for Dental Research meeting. There he met Dr. Robert Nelson of the ADA Research Unit at the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) in Washington, D.C.  By 1956, Dr. Bowen had joined the Research Unit (later called the Paffenbarger Research Center, and ultimately the VRC) to continue his work on what today are called “composites,” tooth-colored restorations. Today Dr. Bowen is best known for his development of dental composites in the 1960s.

“The notice of being given the AADR Distinguished Scientist Award came as a surprise – a very happy surprise!” said Dr. Bowen. “It inspires me to continue current efforts to develop improved preventive and restorative dental materials.”

“Dr. Bowen has achieved legendary status in this field of research, because of his long history of important discoveries and the impact those have made on dentistry,” said Dr. David Whiston, president, ADA Foundation Board of Directors. “We are very proud of his contributions to our profession, and pleased to see him still at work at the ADA Foundation Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center.”

“The author of more than 265 research articles, seven book chapters and 37 patents, Dr. Bowen personifies what the VRC works so hard to accomplish to this very day,” said Dr. Charles Norman, ADA president. “He has spent his scientific career improving the oral health of the public through unwavering commitment and exemplary research.”

About the ADA Foundation
As dentistry’s premier philanthropic and charitable organization, the ADA Foundation is a catalyst for uniting people and organizations to make a difference through better oral health.  The ADA Foundation provides educational grants including dental student scholarships and allied dental scholarships; a variety of grants related to access to care and oral health outreach, including grants related to Give Kids A Smile®; and charitable assistance through its Emergency Disaster Assistance Grant Program and Relief Grant Program.  The ADA Foundation also provides funding for the ADA Foundation Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center in Gaithersburg, MD.  For more information about the ADA Foundation, visit www.adafoundation.org.

About the American Dental Association
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation’s largest dental association, representing 157,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public’s health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA’s state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA’s flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit ada.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA’s consumer websiteMouthHealthy.org