Achievements & Awards Faculty Periodontics & Oral Medicine Research Researchers

Darnell Kaigler appointed Major Ash Collegiate Professor of Periodontics3 min read

October 14, 2019

Darnell Kaigler appointed Major Ash Collegiate Professor of Periodontics3 min read

Ann Arbor, Mich., Oct. 14, 2019 – Darnell Kaigler, Jr., associate professor of dentistry, has been appointed the Major M. Ash Collegiate Professor of Periodontics. The University of Michigan Board of Regents approved the appointment at its September meeting.

The initial, five-year appointment runs through Aug. 31, 2024, and is renewable. Dr. Kaigler was recommended for the professorship by Dr. William Giannobile, chair of the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, the school’s Executive Committee and Dean Laurie McCauley.

Darnell Kaigler Jr.

Kaigler is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the field of stem cell and craniofacial regeneration research. His lab’s research group studies the development of tissue regenerative approaches to regenerate and engineer oral and maxillofacial tissues, including bone, gingiva and tooth-related structures such as periodontal ligament, dentin and dental pulp.  The scope of his research ranges from fundamental studies at the molecular level to human investigations involving clinical trials. A central focus of his work aims to translate basic research laboratory findings into clinical applications to help treat patients.

The Major Ash Professorship was established in 2011 to honor a distinguished alumnus and former faculty member. Ash received his DDS in 1951 from Emory University in Atlanta and his MS in periodontics in 1954 from the U-M dental school. He taught at the school from 1953 to 1989 and established a global reputation as a clinical researcher, prolific writer, mentor and esteemed professor.

Kaigler holds several degrees and certificates from U-M, including the distinction of being the first person to complete a dual DDS/PhD degree in Oral Health Sciences. He earned his DDS in 2002, his PhD in oral health sciences and certificate in restorative dentistry in 2004, a certificate in periodontology in 2006 and an MS in clinical research design and statistical analysis in 2007. In 2007, he completed a fellowship in periodontology at the School of Dentistry and was appointed an assistant research scientist.  In 2008, he became an assistant professor in the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine and was promoted to associate professor in 2016. He is also an associate professor of Biomedical Engineering at the College of Engineering.

Kaigler has 36 peer-reviewed publications and five book chapters. He mentors students on many levels and has served on numerous thesis committees, as well as school, university and national committees. In 2016, he received the Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring in Periodontics award from the American Academy of Periodontology. Outside of his research and teaching responsibilities, he treats patients in a multi-specialty group practice in Detroit. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and involved in several professional organizations, including currently serving as president of the Midwest Society of Periodontology.

More information on Professor Kaigler’s research can be found on his lab’s website.


The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral health care education, research, patient care and community service.  General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the school to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan.  Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia and public agencies.  Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide.  For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at:  Contact: Lynn Monson, associate director of communications, at, or (734) 615-1971.