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Operative Dentistry


Dr. Karl F. Leinfelder --
Endowment Fund for Biomaterials Research in Operative Dentistry


More information can be obtained by contacting Dr. Ed Swift , Chair of Operative Dentistry (919-966-2770), or Mr. Paul Gardner, Associate Dean of Advancement (919-966-6984), or Ms. Tami Hansbrough, Associate Director (919-966-4563), of the Dental Foundation of North Carolina.

Dr. Karl F. LeinfelderDr. Karl F. Leinfelder is a native of Wisconsin and earned both his Doctor of Dental Surgery and Master of Science degrees from Marquette University, where his father was a member of the Department of Prosthodontics.  He joined the faculty at the UNC School of Dentistry in 1970 and earned the rank of Professor.  While at UNC, Dr. Leinfelder established the first nationally prominent clinical research program in Operative Dentistry and Biomaterials, which today is regarded by many as the premier such program in the world.  Dr. Leinfelder also helped to develop a major laboratory research program for biomaterials testing while at UNC.  His early efforts in securing research grants and his uncanny ability to effectively publish the findings resulted in significant benefits for both the scientific and the practicing dental communities.  This impact was substantial not only for the School of Dentistry and the State of North Carolina, but also for the emerging credibility of biomaterials testing throughout the United States.  

In 1983, Dr. Leinfelder accepted the Joseph Volker Endowed Chair in the School of Dentistry at the University of Alabama where he also became the Chair of the Department of Biomaterials.  He guided the school's biomaterials research and teaching efforts for many years before he retired from the UAB faculty in 1994.

Throughout Dr. Leinfelder's academic career he has been repeatedly cited for his leadership role in clinical research, biomaterials scientific testing, and evidence-baseed dental practice.  His ebullient personality, boundless energy, and passion for good science have made him a sought-after expert around the world during the last 40 years.  His leadership has truly transformed the landscape for biomaterials research.  He has published more than 200 papers on restorative materials, contributed to three textbooks, and has lectured extensively nationally and internationally.  In recognition of his outstanding achievements, Dr. Leinfelder received the Academy of Operative Dentistry's George Hollenbeck award for outstanding research contributions and the American Dental Association's Norton M. Ross award for excellence in clinical research.

He is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Alabama and Adjunct Professor at the University of North Carolina.  Since retirement from academic dentistry, he has moved back to Chapel Hill, North Carolina and maintains a dental consulting company.  He is an active participant in the Department of Operative Dentistry's biomaterials research program and continues to teach on the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Dr. Leinfelder also is a sought-after continuing education speaker who lectures extensively around the world.  He is a primary consultant to many major dental materials companies nationally and internationally.

Dr. Leinfelder has dedicated his life to biomaterials research.  The impact of his expertise has been beneficial to dental biomaterials researchers and dental practitioners alike.  The hallmark of his research has been that it always addressed pertinent issues of direct importance to clinical dentistry.  Due to his efforts, vital and practical information has been generated that has fostered the development and use of many dental restorative materials.  His historic contributions and the special association he has maintained with UNC is the reason that the Department of Operative Dentistry has initiated the "Karl F. Leinfelder Endowment Fund for Biomaterials Research."  Please join us in celebrating the many contributions of Dr. Leinfelder by supporting this vital initiative.

Requirements for Future Leadership in Operative Dentistry and Biomaterials Research

Why develop endowment funds?  Departments, Schools of Dentistry, and Universities primarily conduct research with little or no support from state dollars.  Research monies come from grants, contracts, and gifts.  The UNC Department of Operative Dentistry research activities include support from all three sources but require gifts to grow and to continue to lead far into the 21st century.  During the early 1990s the Department honored Dr. Clifford Sturdevant with an Endowed Fund for Clinical Research for his vision and leadership.  Part of that vision included Dr. Sturdevant's hiring Dr. Karl F. Leinfelder as the Department's first Director of Clinical Research over 30 years ago.  Now, the Department is honoring Dr. Leinfelder for his contributions, leadership, and success in biomaterials research by establishing a fund in his name that will foster continued research in this field.

Endowed funds provide a growing source of future funding based on dividends and interest of the invested gift.  This perpetual source guarantees a level of support for research activities well into the future that is independent of fickle changes in the availability of grants and contracts.    This money will provide a resource for activities such as student and faculty research, laboratory renovations, new equipment, computer support, and other biomaterials-related needs that directly affect our research success.

The projected goal.  The initial goal for the Karl F. Leinfelder Fund for Biomaterials Research is $100,000.  Individual faculty members from the Department of Operative Dentistry have already donated $20,000.

Ways to participate in the Endowment Fund.  Below is a brief summary of the ways you may contribute to the Karl F. Leinfelder Fund:

Gifts of Cash:  Gifts of cash offer a convenient, tax-deductible way of giving.  Checks should be made payable to the "UNC Dental Foundation -- Leinfelder Fund – 2149" and mailed to the Dental Foundation of North Carolina, Inc., UNC School of Dentistry, Campus Box 7451, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7451.

Securities, Real Estate, and Personal Property:  Under current tax law, donors can reap significant tax benefits through gifts made of appreciated securities, real estate, or personal property.  Please contact the Dental Foundation of North Carolina, School of Dentistry (919-966-4563) for stock transfer instructions, property gifts, or more information regarding tax benefits.

Donor Recognition:  The following levels of giving are recognized by the University and School of Dentistry through the Chancellors' Club:  a gift of $2,000 per year qualifies the donor for membership in the 1793 Society; a gift of $5,000 per year is recognized through the Carolina Society; and a gift of $10,000 or more per year places the donor in the Chancellors' Circle.