The Department of Oral Biology was the first of its kind in North America and reflects the longstanding philosophy that dental education at the University of Manitoba should include a strong science base provided by academic staff specifically committed to the undergraduate dental and dental hygiene programs. This approach fosters not only the teaching of material relevant to dentistry and dental hygiene, but serves to integrate the sciences into the various clinical programs. Associated with this philosophy was the concept that such committed faculty would also foster Faculty research that would support a graduate program in Oral Biology, as well as provide research and teaching expertise for the clinical graduate and post graduate programs.
The concept of providing basic science teaching dedicated to the Faculty of Dentistry resulted in the establishment of the Sections of Biochemistry, Physiology and Oral Pathology shortly after the Faculty was opened in 1957.
In 1962, the first Msc graduate program in Oral Biology was established and this was followed in 1963 by the formation in the Faculty of the first PhD program in Oral Biology in the world.
In 1973, the Faculty of Dentistry was reorganized into four departments and the Sections of Biochemistry, Physiology and Oral Pathology were amalgamated into a single Department of Oral Biology with the mandate to provide the basic science teaching in the Faculty.
The present Department of Oral Biology includes 14 individuals with expertise in anatomy, biochemistry, cell biology, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology and physiology . The current Department is responsible for the basic science teaching in the undergraduate dental and dental hygiene programs, as well as the graduate and postgraduate dental specialty programs of the Faculty of Dentistry.
The Department also undertakes research in a wide variety of health related projects and contributes to the administration of the Faculty and the University.