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Walter J. Loesche
Regent's Proceedings 126

Walter J. Loesche, D.M.D., Ph.D., the Marcus L. Ward Professor of Dentistry, professor of dentistry, Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences in the School of Dentistry, and professor of microbiology in the Medical School, retired from active faculty status on August 31, 2000.

Dr. Loesche received his B.A. degree from Yale University in 1957, his D.M.D. degree from Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 1961, his periodontal certificate from Harvard-Forsyth in 1964, and his Ph.D. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1967. While earning his degrees, he held various positions at Forsyth Dental Center, Harvard School of Medicine, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the faculty in 1969 as an associate professor of dentistry and in 1971 he was appointed associate professor of microbiology in the Medical School. He was promoted to professor of dentistry and professor of microbiology in 1974 and served as director of research in the School of Dentistry from 1987-89. He was appointed the Marcus L. Ward Professor of Dentistry in 1996.

Dr. Loesche's work was key in changing our understanding of both cavities and periodontal disease by recognizing them as bacterial infections. His research involving bacterial anaerobes and their role in periodontal disease leads to the use of metronidazole or doxycycline as treatment alternatives to surgical intervention for these conditions. In recognition of his work, in 1988 a new species of gram-negative anaerobic rods isolated from the oral cavity was named Bacteroides loescheii.

An extremely creative and productive researcher, Dr. Loesche has had continuous funding since 1970 and has published 3 textbooks, over 170 peer-reviewed articles, and over 50 chapters and invited reviews. He has served on the editorial boards of professional journals and on numerous school, university, and national committees. He currently serves as president of the International Society for Breath Odor Research.

The Regents salute this distinguished health sciences educator by naming Walter J. Loesche the Marcus L. Ward Professor Emeritus of Dentistry, professor emeritus of dentistry, and professor emeritus of microbiology.