School of Dentistry Announces Two New Faculty Appointments

The UCSF School of Dentistry announced two new faculty appointments. Ophir Klein, MD, PhD, was recently named chair of the Division of Craniofacial Anomalies and director of the Center for Craniofacial Anomalies and Craniofacial Clinic, and Peter Sargent, PhD, was named associate dean for research.

Ophir Klein, MD, PhD

Klein is an associate professor in the departments of Orofacial Sciences and Pediatris and the Institutes for Human Genetics and Regeneration in the School of Medicine.

About Klein’s new role, John Featherstone, PhD, dean of the School of Dentistry, said, “I am so pleased that Ophir has accepted this position. ... I thank him for taking on these additional responsibilities and I know that he will be very successful."

Klein’s research, for which he has received numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), focuses on craniofacial and dental regenerative medicine. Using mice, Klein examines how the normal and abnormal development of teeth, facial structure and other organs occur, as well as the regeneration of these organs>

A second part of his research involves understanding Sprouty genes, which are the antagonists of receptor-kinase signaling, which have a critical role in the progression and development of many forms of cancer. Lastly, his research involves the stem cells that renew the lining of the oral cavity, intestine, and other organs. 

In this video, Ophir Klein explains his research into the biological process behind growing teeth.

Klein has received many honors, including a Culpeper Scholarship, a New Innovator Award from the NIH, and the UCSF Graduate Students’ Association Outstanding Faculty Mentorship Award.

Klein holds a BA degree in Spanish Literature from UC Berkeley and a PhD degree in Genetics and a medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine.

Sargent, associate dean of Academic Affairs, has been member of the faculty at UC San Francisco since 1989. He has served as interim chair of the Department of Cell and Tissue Biology since its inception in 2004.

Peter Sargent, PhD

His research focuses on the role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in synaptic transmission in the nervous system. Over a period of nearly 35 years, his lab has been funded principally by the National Institutes of Health, with additional funding from National Science Foundation and the American Heart Association.

About Sargent’s appointment, Featherstone said, “He is ideally suited for the task and will blend it well with his other duties as associate dean for Academic Affairs.”

Sargent holds a BA degree in Biology from Amherst College and a doctorate in Neurobiology from Harvard University. He did his postdoctoral work at UCSF and Stanford University.