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Otago appoints leading UK academic

Otago appoints leading UK academic as Faculty of Dentistry Dean

A leading UK dental researcher and educator has been selected as the new Dean of the University of Otago’s Faculty of Dentistry.

Professor Paul Brunton is currently Director of Student Education at the University of Leeds’ School of Dentistry and serves on its senior management team. He will take up his position at Otago at the start of November 2014.

Announcing the appointment, University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says that Professor Brunton has an outstanding record as a researcher, teacher and senior administrator. He is a Professor of Restorative Dentistry whose research interests include operative dentistry, specifically tooth preparation and tooth whitening, and early diagnosis and treatment of tooth wear.

In his role of Director of Student Education he has provided strategic leadership to curricula development and innovation at the School at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He is also clinical project lead of e-Den, a national e-learning resource in dentistry that has more than 20,000 users.

Professor Brunton is currently President of the British Society for Restorative Dentistry and contributes to several UK national committees. These include the Research Committee of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and he is also a board member of the Faculty of the Dental Surgery of that College. Additionally he advises and works with NHS England by chairing the Pathways Group, which is part of the implementation of the new dental contract in Primary Dental Care in England.

After graduating from the Leeds School of Dentistry in 1984, Professor Brunton obtained his MSc in restorative dentistry in 1992 and his PhD in 1996 from the University of Manchester. He was granted his fellowship in dental surgery from The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1995.

He was subsequently awarded Fellowship ad eundem of the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK) of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2005 and of the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the College in 2009.

Before taking up his appointment at Leeds in 2004, Professor Brunton was a clinical lecturer, and since 1997, a clinical senior lecturer, in restorative dentistry at the University of Manchester. His other earlier roles include Clinical Director of Dental Services for the Combined Healthcare NHS Trust in Stoke-on-Trent.

Professor Brunton is a regular speaker at national and international conferences and a referee for a number of national and international journals and grant-awarding bodies. He is on the editorial board of Journal of Dentistry and Operative Dentistry, both top-tier journals in their field. His strong research publication record includes more than 70 journal articles appearing in peer-reviewed journals, and he has written four textbooks, and edited another four, in restorative dentistry.

Otago Health Sciences Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Crampton says he is delighted that Professor Brunton has accepted the role of Dean of the School.

“Paul Brunton’s wealth of experience as an innovative leader in dental education and research means he is very well-placed to build on Otago’s existing strengths in these areas,” Professor Crampton says.

Professor Brunton says he is greatly looking forward to further developing the School of Dentistry and cementing its status as a centre of excellence for research, education and healthcare serving the needs of the population of New Zealand, but also extending its reach and influence within Australasia and beyond.

“Dentistry is changing very quickly and it’s important we keep our research and education at the very cutting edge of the discipline, both by adopting new practices but also leading the way in developing novel technologies and materials that will be of benefit to our patients. A vital part of this is clinical and translational research, which is my background, and this is an area that I look forward to developing within the School.”

“A faculty’s environment is incredibly important in achieving success, and one of my first priorities will be to work closely with the University to realise the planned major upgrade of the School of Dentistry’s facilities.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues and our students both in the School and the wider University to realise our ambitions for the School of Dentistry,” Professor Brunton says.


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