Dr. Donald Brunette Receives Honorary Degree from Japanese University

June 1, 2010

Donald Brunette

Dr. Donald Brunette

Dr. Donald M. Brunette, professor of oral biology, was awarded an honorary PhD degree from Nippon Dental University (NDU) on June 1, 2010, at NDU’s anniversary ceremony.

Dr. Brunette, who is also former head of the departments of Oral Biology and of Oral Biological and Medical Sciences, as well as former associate dean of Research and Graduate Studies, was honoured for his work in dental research and education. The award reflects the close cooperation between UBC and NDU, which first established a formal relationship in 1987 under the guidance of then deans George Beagrie (UBC) and Sen Nakahara (NDU). They initiated a program in 1988, which continues to the present, whereby UBC and NDU students visit each others’ campuses.

Brunette is a founding member of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Group in Periodontal Physiology, based at the University of Toronto. He has published over 100 articles in refereed journals and 16 chapters in books, has authored Critical Thinking: Understanding and Evaluating Dental Research, and has co-edited Titanium in Medicine.

He has won awards from the International Association of Dental Research, the Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry (W.W. Wood Teaching Award) and the American Medical Writers Association (for the first edition of Critical Thinking).

NDU - Don Brunette - Honorary Degree Ceremony

Dr. Sen Nakahara (L), president of Nippon Dental University, presents Dr. Donald Brunette with an honorary degree as Liz Brunette and Dr. Ken Yaegaki look on.

Brunette’s research has been continuously supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and its forerunner, the Medical Research Council of Canada, for over 30 years. His work has encompassed several fields, including citation analysis and clinical studies of breath odour, but is mainly concerned with cell–biomaterial interactions, and in particular, with the effects of surface topography on cell behaviour.

Brunette serves as a consultant to three biomaterialrelated journals, as well as to the American Dental Association’s Council on Scientific Affairs. He has also been a member, chair or scientific officer of grant evaluation committees for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the National Science Foundation (US).

The honorary PhD is highly valued in Japan and throughout Asia and is conferred through a rigorous selection process. Nippon Dental University is the first government-approved dental school in Japan. Founded in 1907, NDU is the world’s largest dental school and graduates one out of seven Japanese dentists.

Brunette’s honorary PhD is only the 13th awarded by NDU. In his address at the ceremony, Nakahara—now university president—emphasized the importance of Brunette’s book Critical Thinking, which has been translated into Japanese.

Nippon Dental University - Statue

Left picture: Nippon Dental University, Tokyo, Japan. Right picture: Dr. Don and Liz Brunette with Dr. Ken Yaegaki (L) stand next to a statue of Ichigoro Nakahar, founder of the Nippon Dental University.

Read a UBC Reports article about how Brunette seeks to create a better dental implant by understanding how cells behave around different types of implant surfaces.

Read the news item: Drs. Donald Brunette and Douglas Waterfield were recently awarded a grant to study the effects of surface topography.