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IU School of Dentistry appoints director to lead new dental informatics group


INDIANAPOLIS – Former University of Pittsburgh faculty member Thankam Thyvalikakath has been appointed to the Indiana University faculty to develop and lead a dental informatics core group initiative for the School of Dentistry.

As core director, she will focus on creating and maintaining a program that is designed to pursue missions associated with research, teaching, information technology service and clinical care. The core’s primary objective is to enhance patient care through improved data capture and documentation and phenotyping of electronic health records data.

“Dr. Thyvalikakath’s extensive training both in dentistry and biomedical informatics makes her an ideal candidate to lead the dental school’s new core, which will strive to develop collaborative research relationships with the school’s existing research programs as well as other informatics-related efforts on campus,” Dean John Williams said.

Thyvalikakath joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine’s dental public health department in 2006. During her tenure there she also held secondary appointments in the medical school’s biomedical informatics department and at the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

She earned her Ph.D. degree in 2012 from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She also holds a dental degree, certificate in clinical research and master’s degree in biomedical informatics from the University of Pittsburgh as well as a dental degree from the University of Kerala, India, and a master’s degree in oral and maxillofacial surgery from the University of Calicut, India. She has held several postdoctoral positions and fellowships in the U.S., Germany and India.

Thyvalikakath has served as a principal investigator, co-investigator or consultant on several National Institutes of Health grants; she recently completed a four-year NIH National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research project as the principal investigator whose research team studied the implementation and evaluation of a risk assessment tool for periodontal disease.

In addition to her directorship, Thyvalikakath will also teach predoctoral and graduate students in her capacity as an associate professor in the dental school’s restorative dentistry department.