Christian S. Stohler Appointed Dean of the College of Dental Medicine

June 13, 2013

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Christian S. Stohler, DMD, DrMedDent, as the new dean of the College of Dental Medicine, effective August 1, 2013.  Dr. Stohler, a renowned expert on pain management and jaw disorders, joins us after a decade as Dean of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in Baltimore. 

Dr. Stohler succeeds Ira B. Lamster, DDS, MMSc, who stepped down in 2012 after leading the school for more than a decade through a series of important educational, clinical, and research developments.  We are very grateful to Dr. Lamster, as well as to our interim dean, Ronnie Myers, DDS, Vice Dean for Administrative Affairs for the College of Dental Medicine, who was an exemplary leader during our search.

While at the University of Maryland, Dr. Stohler elevated the School of Dentistry’s global prominence in academics and patient care and oversaw an expansion that made it the largest public dental school in the nation.  Dr. Stohler strengthened clinical instruction by updating the curriculum and engaging 200 volunteer practicing dentists to teach real-world dentistry.  The campus itself bears his mark.  He led construction of fully digital academic and clinical facilities on the downtown Baltimore campus and at a smaller facility in Perryville, Maryland.  He also oversaw the introduction of dental services to the Health Center on the College Park campus.  

Before joining the University of Maryland, Dr. Stohler spent more than twenty years at the University of Michigan, where he established himself as a leader in research and teaching.  He was a professor and director of research at the School of Dentistry, a research scientist at the Center for Human Growth and Development, and professor and chair of the Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences.  The University of Michigan awarded him its Distinguished Service Award.

Dr. Stohler is deeply committed to advancing dental care through research.  He helped lead work funded by the National Institutes of Health on the genetics, endocrinology, and neurobiology of the human response to pain, particularly in patients with the common jaw joint disorder known as TMJD (temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder).  He was a member of the team that was the first to show that thinking that a placebo will relieve pain is enough to prompt the brain to release endorphins, the body’s own painkillers, and that this corresponds with a reduction in how much pain a person experiences.  He is a prolific and widely cited scholar, having authored more than 120 articles and book chapters.

Dr. Stohler received his DMD from the University of Bern in Switzerland, where he also earned his DrMedDent in hematology, as well as certificates in oral surgery and prosthodontics.  He holds an honorary doctoral degree of philosophy from Nippon Dental University in Tokyo.

Among his many honors, he is a recipient of the Jerome M. & Dorothy Schweitzer Research Award from the Greater New York Academy of Prosthodontics and the Horace Wells Merit Award from the Connecticut State Dental Association.  He also has been honored by the National Dental Association, the Orthodontic Education and Research Foundation, and the Pierre Fauchard Academy, the international dental honor society.  Dr. Stohler chaired the Board of Scientific Counselors at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and is a fellow of the American College of Dentistry and the International College of Dentistry.

We would like to thank the members of the search committee for their work in identifying such an outstanding new dean.  Please join us in congratulating Dr. Christian S. Stohler on becoming Dean of the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and in welcoming him to the Columbia community.


Lee C. Bollinger, President

Lee Goldman, Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine