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Dr. Athena Papas


Dr. Athena Papas is a Distinguished Professor of Diagnostic Sciences and the Erling Johansen Professor of Dental Research, and the Head of the Division of Oral Medicine at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts.

With expertise in the oral healthcare of the elderly, medically compromised, Sjögrens, cancer and bone marrow transplant patients, Dr. Papas has been the principal investigator of over 100 clinical trials. Dr. Papas was selected as the 2009 recipient of the International Association of Dental Research PTT Distinguished Scientist Award and has been the President of PTT and has chaired the distinguished scientist awards committee. She also has received the Gavel and Pierre Fauchard awards and is a life fellow of the American College of Dentists.

Dr. Papas received her B.S. from Tufts University, a PhD. in Oral Biology from MIT and her D.M.D. from Harvard University. She had a predoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and a postdoctoral fellowship at Children’s Hospital.


D.M.D., Dentistry, Harvard University School of Dental Medicine, 1974

Ph.D., Oral Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1971

B.S., Biology, Jackson College (Tufts University), 1966

Professional Experience: 


Professor, Department of Diagnostic Sciences, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine


Research Consultant, Forsyth Dental Center


Associate Staff, Restorative Service, Department of Dentistry, New England Medical Center


Head of Division of Oral Medicine, Department of Diagnostic Sciences, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine


Head of Division of Public Health Research/Oral Medicine, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine


The Erling Johansen Professor of Research (Endowed Chair in Research), Tufts University School of Dental Medicine


Research Consultant, Dental Longitudinal Study, Boston Veterans Administration


Associate, Harvard Geriatric Education Center


Post-Doctoral Fellow, National Institute of Dental Research


Post-doctoral Fellow, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Boston, MA

Selected Honors and Awards: 

Healthcare Professional Leadership Award, Sjögren’s Foundation, 2017

Distinguished Professor of Diagnostic Sciences, Tufts University, 2016

Sjögren’s Champion, Sjögren’s Foundation, 2013

Gavel Award, 2013

Robert Andrew Award, Tufts University, 2013

International Association of Dental Research-PTT Keynote Address, Iguaçu Falls, Brazil, 2012

International Association of Dental Research-PTT President, 2011

American Association of Dental Research-GORG Keynote Address, Washington D.C., 2010

Provost’s Award for Teaching and Service, Tufts University, 2010, 2002

Endowed Chair in Dental Research, Tufts University, 2000

Professional Memberships: 

American Academy of Oral Medicine

American Association for the Advancement of Science

American Association of Dental Schools

American Association of Hospital Dentists

American College of Dentists

American Dental Association

America Institute of Nutrition

American Society for Clinical Nutrition

American Society of Geriatric Dentistry

Association for Gerontology in Higher Education