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February 2013
Volume 34, Issue 2

Comprehensive Resource Explores the Evolution of Craniofacial Biology

I often distribute a book to inspire dental students towards research careers or at least careers that combine rigorous scholarship along with practice and teaching. First it was Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis. This is a wonderful story of a young Midwesterner drawn to science and medicine through a local doctor and then by a professor of microbiology in medical school. The professor’s love of science is pure; in an environment where many students and faculty think only of money, he alone seems to have ideals. Next, I distributed In Search of Memory, the Emergence of a New Science of Mind, by Eric Kandel—a deft mixture of memoir and history, modern biology, and behavior. In Search of Memory traces how a brilliant scientist’s intellectual journey intersected with one of the great scientific endeavors of the twentieth century: the search for the biological basis of memory.

Dr. Harold Slavkin’s book, The Birth of a Discipline: Craniofacial Biology (AEGIS Publications, LLC, 2012), is also a wonderful weaving of memoir and history, lessons in molecular biology and genetics, and experiences and lessons in leadership, collaboration and the importance of teams and interdisciplinary science. He draws upon his rich and unique experiences as a scientist, NIH Institute director and Dean of a dental school to provide and emphasize transprofessional education and science and coalitions and relationships in getting the job done. Hal Slavkin, as a dental student, like Arrowsmith falls under the spell of science and, like Dr. Kandel, he plays a major role in the creation of a discipline through science. An orthodontist coined the phrase craniofacial, but many educated and trained individuals created craniofacial biology as the discipline we know today.

This well-written, very readable book reminds us all that we stand on the shoulders of giants, and Dr. Hal Slavkin is one of them. I have a new book to distribute.

— R. Bruce Donoff, DMS, MD

Dean, Harvard School of Dental Medicine;

Walter C. Guralnick Distinguished Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

To purchase The Birth of a Discipline: Craniofacial Biology, by Harold C. Slavkin, DDS, visit

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