Dr. Yong Wang Named University of Missouri Curators’ Distinguished Professor

Dr. Yong Wang, Professor in the Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences and Director of Craniofacial Bioengineering, was recently named a University of Missouri Curators’ Distinguished Professor. The Board of Curators voted unanimously to present this honor which recognizes his exemplary service, performance, and teaching record. Dr. Wang received enthusiastic endorsements from peers as well for his contributions, research and engagement, which bring great credit to UMKC and the University of Missouri System.

Wang came to UMKC in 1999 and it’s been his home ever since. “I have stayed because this is the place where I could collaborate with researchers across disciplines and campus,” he says.

Wang’s research focus has been translational dental and craniofacial research related to dental biomaterials, material/tissue interfaces and dental/oral tissues, which requires interdisciplinary collaborations. Wang’s collaborative research has made some significant contributions to these fields.

For example, his research on quantifying the interfacial chemistry of adhesive and dentin bond obtained considerable international recognition, has laid foundation for understanding failure mechanisms of dental restorations. His collaborative research revealed the new underlying mechanisms of tooth enamel loss and dental caries caused by head neck cancer (HNC) radiotherapy, an oral disease disturbing detrimentally the quality of life of HNC survivors. His lab developed novel hyperspectral imaging techniques including infrared and Raman spectroscopy to explicate the heterogeneous interfaces between tissues and biomaterials. And working with engineers, he is the pioneering researcher to apply non-thermal atmospheric plasmas into various oral and dental applications.

“I’m proud to be surrounded by talented and dedicated professionals, like Dr. Wang, who have made such a profound impact on the field and the university,” says Dr. Steven Haas, Dean of the UMKC School of Dentistry.

Wang’s research and achievements have earned him highly regarded research reputation internationally. He is an elected Fellow of American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), whose fellows are the top 2% of medical and biological engineers. He is also the elected Fellows of the American Association for Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) and Academy of Dental Materials (ADM). He has served on the editorial or advisory board of eight peer-reviewed journals related to Dentistry or Biomaterials research. Dr. Wang has been an ad hoc reviewer of several NIH study sections as well as a member of NSF, DOD and NIST panels. He was selected as a standing member of NIH ODCS study section (2021-2025). His insights and expertise are widely sought after.

“Dr. Wang is an internationally renowned researcher and scholar who has dedicated his career to UMKC while making outstanding contributions to dental biomaterials research. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this prestigious recognition,” says Dr. Melanie Simmer-Beck, Professor and Chair of Dental Public Health and Behavioral Science.

Dr. Mary Walker, Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs, echoes that statement, “His science is world-class and he has been internationally recognized for his research by a number of societies that elected him as a Fellow.  He is an outstanding collaborator and mentor and one of the most productive investigators at UMKC. The unanimous approval for his appointment as a Curators’ Distinguished Professor is well-deserved recognition of his career accomplishments and contributions to the university.”

Wang has co-authored ~200 papers in peer-reviewed journals and proceedings, which have been cited over 10K times with H-index of 55. In addition to his research contributions, Wang is a dedicated mentor, who has successfully guided over 80 students and fellows, including 24 DDS students participated in summer research programs, 33 MS and PhD students as a chair, co-chair or member of thesis committees and about 30 post-doctoral fellows and visiting scholars. More of Dr. Wang’s work can be found on his Google Scholar page here.

“This is surely an important moment of my more than two-decade career at UMKC, and I feel so honored and proud,” says Wang. “I view this honor as recognition for all of the collaborators, colleagues, post-doctoral fellows and students I have worked with over the years.”

Congratulations to Dr. Wang for this exceptional and truly deserved honor!