Congratulations to six faculty members at the University of Florida College of Dentistry who were part of recent UF promotion and tenure announcements effective July 1, 2013.
Four full-time faculty received promotions or tenure. Lakshmyya Kesavalu, an associate professor in the department of periodontics was awarded tenure. Uma Nair was promoted to clinical associate professor in the department of endodontics. Luis Rueda, was promoted to clinical associate professor in the department of restorative dental sciences. Shannon Wallet was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor in the department of periodontics.
In addition two courtesy/adjunct faculty, who are assigned to the department of community dentistry and behavioral science and work in the college’s Hialeah Dental Center, received promotions. Paul Benjamin was promoted to courtesy clinical associate professor. Gilbert Toledo was promoted to adjunct clinical associate professor.
Lakshmyya Kesavalu, B.V.Sc., M.SC., S.C.C., joined the college in 2006 and was recruited to build on existing strengths in the college’s basic sciences and to better position the college to conduct translational research and collaborate with other areas of excellence on the UF campus.
His primary focus is on his research, studying a polymicrobial model to learn the effects of periodontal disease on bone, cardiovascular system, adverse pregnancy outcomes and Alzheimer’s disease. He is also involved in teaching including mentoring graduate, undergraduate and high school students.
Uma Nair, D.D.S., M.D.S., joined the faculty in 2005. She earned her bachelor of dental science and master of dental science degrees from the University of Kerala in India. She relocated to the United States and completed her doctor of dental medicine degree at the University of Pittsburgh in 2001, where she also earned certificate in endodontics. She is a board-certified endodontist and a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics.
Nair’s focus is on teaching and she also works in research and patient care. Her research focuses on the diagnosis of vertical tooth root fractures using radiographs, bone loss patterns, the presence of specific microbial flora and inflammatory mediators. She has authored or coauthored 21 refereed publications including 11 as first author, and has published 30 research abstracts.
Luis Rueda, D.D.S., M.S.D, earned his dental degree from the University of Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia, in 1983. He earned his certificate in prosthodontics from Indiana University and his master’s degree in 1991. He worked in private practice in Columbia until joining UF in 2001.
Rueda’s primary focus is on pre-doctoral and graduate teaching, and in clinical practice in the college’s Faculty Practice and the Center for Implant Dentistry. He has authored two refereed publications, and he produced an educational resource on complete dentures that was accepted by MedEd Portal in 2012.
Shannon Wallet, Ph.D., earned her Ph.D. in oral biology from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 2005 and joined the college in 2006 as a tenure-accruing assistant professor. Her primary responsibility has been to develop a program of research with a focus on mucosal immunology, immune regulation and bone biology within the department of periodontology, and collaborating both within and beyond the college.
Her time is devoted primarily to research. She has published three book chapters as co-author and has another accepted as a senior author. She has published 35 peer-reviewed manuscripts, being the first author in three and senior author in another ten; six papers are currently under review. She has authored 35 abstracts being the first author in two, and senior author in another 17.
Paul Benjamin, D.M.D., graduated from the first class of the UF College of Dentistry in 1976 and has been in full time private practice in Miami, Fla., since 1977. Since 1995 he has also served as courtesy faculty at the college’s Hialeah Dental Center where he also chairs the Advisory Board. He provides clinical teaching to the students enrolled in the Advanced Education in General Dentistry program. He helped develop and direct the operative dentistry curriculum for first-year residents and provides clinical teaching at the center each month.
Benjamin is also extremely active as a leader in local and state dental associations and participates in the University of Florida Dental Practice-Based Research Network.
Gilbert Toledo, D.M.D., joined the Hialeah Dental Center as courtesy faculty in 1997 where he also serves as the division chair of periodontics for the Hialeah Dental Center and is a member of the Advisory Board. He became an adjunct professor in 2010 and has since coordinated and assisted in delivering the curriculum. In addition to other contributions, he works with educating, mentoring and clinical supervision of AEGD residents, with an emphasis on periodontics and implant placement.
He earned his doctor of dental medicine degree from the UF College of Dentistry in 1989, completed a General Practice Residency with the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Gainesville, and then pursued specialty training in periodontology. In 1994 he has worked in private practice in the Miami area. He has also been active in local, state and national dental associations.