Skip to content

Generous gift leads to Eugene Natkin Endowed Professorship

Dr. Eugene Natkin and his wife, Marylee Natkin, attending a School of Dentistry event.
Dr. Eugene Natkin and his wife, Marylee Natkin, attending a School of Dentistry event.

The UW School of Dentistry and the Department of Endodontics are proud to announce the establishment of the Eugene Natkin Endowed Professorship in Endodontics. This professorship, made possible by a generous $500,000 gift from Dr. Natkin’s wife, Marylee Natkin, will enhance the School of Dentistry’s ability to recruit and retain faculty in the Department of Endodontics. It is meant to honor her late husband, who was the pioneer of the Endodontics program at the UW.

The new endowment will help fuel the career of an endodontics professor who cares for students and teaching in the same way that Dr. Natkin did. The endowment will support the holder’s activities, including those that engage students and the dental community, in topics related to education, patient care, and scholarly activities in endodontics.

Dr. Lindsey Yap
Dr. Lindsey Yap has been selected as the first recipient of the Natkin Professorship.

The first recipient of the Natkin Endowed Professorship is Dr. Lindsey Yap. Dr. Yap earned her Master of Science in Dentistry (MSD) and Certificate in Endodontics from the University of Washington Graduate Endodontics Program in August 2022 after which she joined the faculty in the Department of Endodontics as Assistant Professor, her current role. Dr. Yap is a member of the American Association of Endodontists, the American Dental Association, American Dental Education Association, and the Seattle King County Dental Society.

Dr. Yap has been exceptional in her role as an assistant professor to this point, and has the desire to continue to grow as a teacher. She embodies the spirit and passion for education and the field of endodontics that Dr. Natkin showed throughout his 50 years with the School of Dentistry.

After earning his DDS from New York University in 1957, Dr. Eugene Natkin became the first endodontics graduate at the UW School of Dentistry in 1962. When endodontics became a separate department at the School in 1967, he was named the specialty program’s first chair and held the post until 1980. Dr. Natkin passed away on September 21, 2020 at his home in Seattle at the age of 88.

Affectionately called “Dr. Geno,” he made his mark in the department with superlative pre-doctoral and postdoctoral teaching programs. He collaborated with a behavioral psychologist to create innovative, self-instructional predoctoral syllabi, which set an instructional template that remains in use to this day.

“Dr. Natkin was a friend of all who had the honor to know him,” said Dr. James Johnson, the current Chair of Endodontics. “His stories and delightful sense of humor made every conversation with him a unique experience. He was an icon, and the man who built and maintained the excellence and reputation that the Endodontics Department at the University of Washington enjoys worldwide.”

Dr. Eugene Natkin
Dr. Eugene Natkin

Known as the “teacher of teachers”, Natkin was an inspirational presence within the School of Dentistry for five decades, particularly in the Endodontics department. In 2001 he received the first Bruce R. Rothwell Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest faculty recognition, while accumulating eight “outstanding instructor” awards along the way from predoctoral students.

“Dr. Natkin played a major role in setting the course of endodontics education and building our Department of Endodontics into one of the world’s great dental specialty programs,” said former Dean Gary Chiodo. “His influence will continue to be felt, and he will be sorely missed.”

The School of Dentistry thanks Marylee Natkin for her generous donation and establishment of the professorship. Dr. Eugene Natkin will always be remembered as the University of Washington’s pioneer in endodontics, and through the Natkin Endowment, his legacy will be honored, and his impact felt, for years to come.