April 6, 2018

Dr. Michael Baldwin named UW Magnuson Scholar

Dr. Michael Baldwin, a 2015 University of Washington dental graduate who is also completing work on a PhD in oral biology at the UW, has been named a UW Magnuson Scholar for 2018-19.

Dr. Baldwin at Computer with skullDr. Baldwin is one of six annual recipients – one from each of the university’s Health Sciences schools – selected for the $30,000 award, which is one of the UW’s highest. Recipients are chosen for their academic performance and potential contributions to research in the health sciences.

His PhD dissertation project is titled “The Causes and Consequences of Midfacial Hypoplasia in the Yucatan Minipig” and is mentored by Dr. Susan Herring and Dr. Zi-Jun Liu of the School of Dentistry’s Department of Oral Health Sciences.

“I am very grateful and honored to receive this award,” Dr. Baldwin said.

His career goal, he said, is to be a dentist-scientist in the fields of craniofacial biology and orthodontics. Specifically, he hopes to be a professor of orthodontics and plans on specializing in orthodontics after completing his PhD.

“Over the course of my career, I hope to improve our knowledge about how to prevent and better treat craniofacial malformations; train exceptional, highly qualified scientists and clinicians; and help advance dental education and research,” he said.

Dr. Baldwin’s research focuses on midfacial hypoplasia, a condition characterized by underdevelopment of the upper jaw, nose, and cheek bones.

The primary mechanism of this condition is not well understood, he said, but its effects can be life-threatening, including impaired breathing and feeding. Current treatments are limited to invasive surgeries that have only mixed success.

“The goal of my research is to use a novel animal model, the Yucatan minipig, to better understand, treat, and even prevent this condition in humans,” he said.

Dr. Baldwin, who received his BS in business management at Brigham Young University in 2011, practices general dentistry in the Seattle area while pursuing his studies. He was previously recognized for his research with the International Association for Dental Research Craniofacial Biology Award in 2017, American Association of Oral Biologists Award in 2015, and the American Dental Association Warner-Lambert Research Conference Award in 2013.

He is president of the American Dental Education Association’s UW chapter for students, residents and fellows, and also volunteers as a dental provider at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission and the South Sound Free Dental Day event.

“Dr. Baldwin’s selection as the 2018-19 Magnuson Scholar is well deserved,” said Dr. Douglas Ramsay, Chair of the Department of Oral Health Sciences. “I am very impressed with Michael’s ongoing research in craniofacial biology, which will advance our understanding of facial growth, a topic of obvious importance to the field of orthodontics.”

The Magnuson Scholars program commemorates the late Sen. Warren G. Magnuson of Washington, a leading advocate of biomedical research who played a key role in establishing the Medicare, Medicaid, and the National Institutes of Health. He is also the namesake of the UW’s Magnuson Health Sciences Center.