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William J O’Brien
Regents' Proceedings 274

William J. O'Brien, Ph.D., professor of dentistry in the School of Dentistry, will retire from active faculty status on April 30, 2010.

Professor O'Brien received his B.S. degree from The City University of New York in 1958, his M.S. degree from New York University in 1961, and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Michigan in 1967. From 1961-70 he was a faculty member at Marquette University, where he served as chair of the Department of Dental Materials from 1967-70. He joined the University of Michigan School of Dentistry faculty as an associate professor in 1970 and was promoted to professor in 1973.

Professor O'Brien's research focused on the esthetic properties of restorative materials derived from composites and ceramics. He also studied the strengthening mechanisms of ceramics for use as dental crowns and as inlays to replace amalgam restorations. Professor O'Brien received continuous grant funding for 32 years from such agencies as the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Dental Research, the Surface Science Laboratory, and Delta Dental. He was the principal investigator of a National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Materials Science Center and director of a National Institutes of Health training grant in biomaterials. He published numerous articles in leading, peer-reviewed journals, contributed to several textbooks, was editor of a major textbook that is currently in its 4th edition (2008), and holds four U.S. patents.

Professor O'Brien's accomplishments have earned him numerous awards and honors, including the U.S Food and Drug Administration's Advisory Service Committee Award (2007). He has been a consultant to the American Dental Association (1967-2010), a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Panel on Dental Materials (2004-07), and has been president of the International Association of Dental Research, Dental Materials Group since 1975.

The Regents now salute this distinguished faculty member for his dedicated service by naming William J. O'Brien professor emeritus of dentistry.