Robert A. Burne, Ph.D., who has led the University of Florida College of Dentistry research enterprise as associate dean since May 2010, is stepping down from that role effective December 4, 2020, and Valeria Gordan, D.D.S., M.S., has been appointed interim associate dean for research.
“For over a decade, Dr. Burne has done a stellar job leading the UFCD Office of Research, elevating a program that was already known for overall excellence and enhancing its reputation even further nationally and internationally. He has helped attract top-level talent to UFCD and position the college among the top five dental schools in the U.S. in terms of National Institutes of Health funding,” said A. Isabel Garcia, D.D.S., M.P.H., dean.
During his time as associate dean, the college’s research funding from both federal and non-federal sources increased, interdisciplinary and educational research grew, and predoctoral student and resident engagement in research projects expanded significantly across UFCD programs. Burne served as the director of the NIH-funded T90/R90 Comprehensive Training Program in Oral Biology, which trained scores of PhD students and postdoctoral fellows over the years. The training program was recognized with ADEA’s Gies Award for the commitment to outstanding research and the college’s training environment.
“Most recently, we were very fortunate to have his strong hand at the helm during the COVID-19 pause in research and the return-to-campus protocols during which he worked with UF, UF Health and college researchers to ensure safety and continuity in our program, all while continuing his own research and ensuring that research and training operations continued apace,” Garcia said.
Burne will continue his work as a Distinguished Professor of Oral Biology and Louis and Marge Atkins Endowed Professor, devoting his attention to his funded research, mentoring and serving the profession in various roles.
Gordan, who joined the college in 1997, is a professor in the Division of Operative Dentistry of the UF Department of Restorative Dental Sciences and serves as the director of the South Atlantic Region of the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network. She earned her dental degree from State University of Londrina, Brazil, in 1993; a master’s in operative dentistry from the University of Iowa in 1997; and a master’s in clinical investigation from the UF College of Medicine in 2007. Gordan is a researcher, educator and clinician. Her research interests are in the area of caries diagnosis and preservation of tooth structure using minimally invasive restorative techniques through translational and clinical research applications.
“Dr. Gordan will work closely with Bob to make this a seamless transition. I am delighted she has agreed to serve in this capacity and I am confident that she will lead the college’s research mission with skill and distinction,” said Garcia.
While serving as interim associate dean, Gordan will be responsible for oversight of UFCD’s research activities and operations, furthering our research mission, collaborating with UF, UF Health and UFCD colleagues to foster faculty, resident and student participation in research and provide administrative oversight of all sponsored research funding.
Gordan’s research expertise, understanding of UFCD and UF research processes, and leadership experience will facilitate this transition and enable her to seamlessly step into the associate dean role and ensure that our progress continues on all fronts.