UCSF School of Dentistry professor receives Yngve Ericsson Prize

By Eve Harris

John Featherstone, PhD, has been named recipient of the 2003 Yngve Ericsson Prize for research in preventive dentistry. Featherstone, who shares the prize with Professor Ole Fejerskov of the University of Århus, Denmark, is chair of the Department of Preventive and Restorative Dentistry at the UCSF School of Dentistry.

Featherstone received the prize on November 21 in Stockholm from the Swedish Patent Revenue Fund for Research in Preventive Dentistry. Featherstone and Fejerskov will each receive a cash award of approximately $18,750. Winners of the award are nominated and selected by members of the prize committee.

Featherstone’s research has contributed significantly to the knowledge of dental caries and caries-inhibitory mechanisms. His research has covered several aspects of cariology, including fluoride’s mechanisms of action, mineralization related to dental hard tissues, the role of carbonate in tooth enamel, salivary dysfunction, caries risk assessment, and caries prevention. Since the early 1980s the focus of his research has been the effectiveness of laser treatment of dental hard tissues for caries prevention and early caries treatment.

Featherstone is the Leland and Gladys Barber Distinguished Professor of Dentistry at UCSF.  He has been honored with the Distinguished Scientist Award for research in dental caries from the International Association for Dental Research (2000) and the T.H. Maiman Award for Excellence in dental laser research from the Academy of Laser Dentistry (2002). He also received the Zsolnai Prize in recognition of his lifelong contributions to caries research from the European Caries Research Organization (2002) and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Congress of Microdentistry (2003). He served as professor and interim chair of the Department of Preventive and Restorative Dentistry at UCSF from 1995-99, and was named chair of the department in 1999.

Featherstone is an active member of several international scientific organizations, including the International Association for Dental Research, the American Chemical Society, and the European Organization for Caries Research. He is principal investigator on two major research grants funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and co-investigator on three others. He serves as a reviewer for several scientific journals and is on two editorial boards.

The Yngve Ericsson Prize is named after one of the founders of the The Patent Revenue Fund for Research in Preventive Dentistry Fund.  It is awarded once every three years in acknowledgement of outstanding contributions to prevention of oral diseases. Established in 1963, the Fund is founded on royalties from patents, primarily patents for addition of fluorides to dentifrices.  Each year, the Fund awards grants totalling about $197,390 in support of research into prevention of dental disease.