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Frederick Curro - February 2016

Frederick Curro, D.M.D., Ph.D. is currently an adjunct clinical professor, Department of Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology and Oral Medicine, New York University College of Dentistry. He’s also director of the Practitioners Engaged in Applied Research & Learning (PEARL) Practice Based Translational Network.

His career spans academia, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries and back to academia. Curro is a dentist, trained as a cardiovascular pharmacologist and has spent most of his career as a clinical pharmacologist. He has conducted hundreds of clinical studies in a broad range of therapeutic areas including dentistry, cardiovascular, dermatology, gastroenterology, oncology, antibiotics and gene therapy. 

Curro's areas of expertise are design of clinical trials, pain management and pharmacokinetics. He conducted one of the first analgesic studies for the FDA looking at the pharmacokinetics of an analgesic compared to its clinical peak effects. Curro’s corporate responsibilities included heading up the Reed & Carnrick Pharmaceutical division of Block Drug, Co. and achieving the level of Corporate Vice President of Clinical, Medical & Regulatory Affairs. Curro, while at Block Drug Co. (later acquired by GlaxoSmithKline), oversaw the Sensodyne brand's clinical program and has conducted a large number of studies on dentine hypersensitivity throughout the world. As a worldwide director he interacted with many regulatory agencies as well to support the clinical portfolio of the company.

Curro has been an AADR member since 1978 and has served on IADR and AADR committees, including the AADR Science Information Committee. He is the winner of the 2014 IADR Distinguished Scientist Award in Pharmacology/Therapeutics/Toxicology Research.

How did you first learn about AADR?
I learned about AADR when I was a dental student at Tufts University. There was so much research going on that you couldn’t even walk in the halls without hearing about research. I knew that if I wanted to be serious about research, I would need to be involved in AADR as a member. 

What do you find to be the most valuable benefit of AADR membership?
The networking opportunities and visibility that I have through my AADR membership are definitely two of the most valuable benefits. AADR is a great forum for networking and for finding a field of interest you want to explore and develop. If you’re a faculty member or involved in research, you want to be in AADR so that you meet your peers and they have a sense of who you are. 

How important has AADR been in your career?
Being an AADR member has been very helpful to me because through AADR I’m able to learn about the interests of my fellow AADR member colleagues. I’m also able to network with those colleagues at AADR meetings and through my AADR membership; I’m able to get a pulse of where the profession is going. If you want to have a career in dentistry or dental research, you really should be part of AADR. 

Why is it important for dentists to be involved in dental research? 
I believe that every dentist should have the experience of doing research because it's added value to what he or she can contribute to the patient. Also, dental research has to continue to be mainstreamed into other scientific disciplines so that the opportunities for research can be broadened and expanded, and so that the value of dental research in dentistry can continue to be appreciated by dentists and other sciences.

What’s a message you want to give to future dental researchers?
I think students need to ask themselves what they think is the value of dental research. I believe that people who have exposure to research can think differently, deeper and broader. When they are faced with a situation—either with a patient or in a clinical situation—they have increased options and can figure out a much better treatment plan than someone who doesn’t have that research background. Research can be tough in that rejection is part of the pathway to success but I think that having a research background makes one better and more disciplined at their profession. Also, it’s important that students who intend to pursue dental research as a career identify mentors who have similar interests.  

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