Dr. Petros Papagerakis is awarded the first Centennial Enhancement Chair for the College of Dentistry. (Photo: David Stobbe)

Dr. Petros Papagerakis awarded a Centennial Enhancement Chair in One Health

Dr. Petros Papagerakis (DDS, BSc, MSc, PhD) joined the College of Dentistry in 2016 as the Associate Dean, Research and on July 1, 2020 was awarded a Centennial Enhancement Chair in One Health.

In 2017, the college published its seven-year strategic plan: Building on Strength – Improving Tomorrow that included a goal to expand the college’s reputation to be recognized as a research-intensive college. Papagerakis played an important role in developing this strategic plan, and to help improve the college’s reputation for research, he built a revised curriculum for dental undergraduate students, established a faculty mentorship program, developed college level research plans, and most recently led the creation of the first event postgraduate program in the College of Dentistry, a PhD program in Precision Oral and Systemic Health.

“Dr. Papagerakis is a national and internationally recognized researcher. He has played an integral part in improving our reputation and establishing us as a research-intensive college.” said Dr. Doug Brothwell, Dean, College of Dentistry. “His appointment as associate dean, research, has led to the recruitment of several additional internationally recognized researchers.”

Papagerakis’ research firmly embodies the One Health signature research area at USask. With its wider scope encompassing systemic health and the mechanisms and influence of circadian clock regulation and environmental cues on health, his work in this area has the potential to cross many different disciplines. There is growing evidence that circadian clock dysregulation is a contributor to a variety of disorders and can impact many facets of well-being for humans, animals and plants.

Since arriving at USask, Papagerakis has been awarded several grants as Principal Investigator, including funding from NIH, SHRF Establishment, RUHF, Canadian Foundation for Innovation, International Innovation Award funded by GSK pharmaceuticals and a NSERC Discovery grant. Additionally, he is co-investigator on several grants, including American Cancer Society, SHRF Establishment, CIHR-SCPOR. All together, these grants total over $2 million in funding for Papagerakis’ research.

“Dr. Papagerakis’ successful Canada Foundation for Innovation infrastructure grant is unprecedented for the college.” said Brothwell. “Collaborative, interdisciplinary research endeavors of this magnitude take time to develop, and this Centennial Enhancement Chair position is an excellent mechanism for supporting his passion and efforts in this area. This recognition of his achievements, which is the first research chair position for the college, is an honour befitting his performance, status, and contributions to the research environment in the College of Dentistry and in USask.”

Papagerakis is also an accomplished mentor who encourages higher-order thinking and leadership skills as he fosters a training environment that embraces diversity, encourages inclusivity, and develops a strong sense of community. Papagerakis has recruited and supervised students, many who are co-supervised, from various USask programs including; Toxicology, Biomedical Engineering, Anatomy/Physiology/Pharmacology, Nutrition, Health Sciences, and Bacteriology/Microbiology/Immunology. His passion and ability to mentor students from a variety of disciplines provides students with a unique learning environment and provides opportunities for collaboration for students and faculty across campus. His students at USask have received more than 40 local, national and international awards and scholarships.

Papagerakis continues to promote internationalization for USask. He has established international collaborations with researchers in Australia, Italy, France, Greece, USA, South Africa, Switzerland, UK, and more in his time at USask. With his personal connections and previous collaborations with Peking University, he was a member of a USask delegation that travelled to China and signed an MOU with Peking University, a top-ranked university in China and worldwide.

Papagerakis has made significant contributions to the College of Dentistry in his efforts to enhance the reputation of the college and nurture the research efforts and environment of the college. He is elected part of the governance for the Network of Canadian Oral Health Research serving as executive committee member, he serves as representative of the college at the Association of Canadian Dental Faculties research committee and also internationally as a member of the International Association for Dental Research Gies Award committee.

“This is the first ever research chair position that the College of Dentistry has ever been awarded. As such it represents a hallmark in the history of our college and highlights a significant change of directions promoting innovative dental research and high-quality dental education." said Papagerakis. "This chair position will also allow my lab to recruit more graduate students enriching the pool of top-notch candidates for our PhD program attracting scientists from different fields and dentists with prospective dental academic careers in the field or Precision Oral Heath and Chronobiology. I am very grateful for the college’s and USask’s trust and support."
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