Rena N D’Souza, D.D.S., M.S., P.h.D.

Rena N D’Souza, D.D.S., M.S., P.h.D. Headshot

Dr. Rena N. D’Souza is the director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. She oversees NIDCR’s annual budget of more than $475 million, which supports basic, translational, and clinical research in areas of oral cancer, orofacial pain, tooth decay, periodontal disease, salivary gland dysfunction, craniofacial development and disorders and the oral complications of systemic diseases.

A licensed dentist, Dr. D’Souza is recognized for her research in craniofacial development, genetics, tooth development, and regenerative dental medicine. Prior to joining NIH, Dr. D’Souza was the assistant vice president for academic affairs and education for health sciences at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. There she also served as a professor of dentistry, the Ole and Marty Jensen chair of the School of Dentistry and professor of neurobiology and anatomy, pathology and surgery in the School of Medicine and the department of biomedical engineering. In 2012, Dr. D’Souza was selected to be the inaugural dean of the University of Utah’s School of Dentistry. She is a devoted mentor and champion of diversity in the biomedical research workforce. Since 1985, she has served as a volunteer dentist for women in need and people struggling with homelessness in Salt Lake City, Dallas and Houston.

D’Souza received her bachelor’s degree in dental surgery from the University of Bombay, India, after which she completed her general practice residency. She earned her DDS, PhD, and master’s degree in pathology/biomedical sciences from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.