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When one thinks of inventors, one doesn’t usually think of dentists. But then again, former Winnipegger Dr. Lorne (Larry) Golub is not a typical dentist.

The State University of New York Distinguished Professor of Oral Biology & Pathology at Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) at the NAI’s Sixth Annual Conference of the NAI in Boston in April in recognition of 55 United States patents and 104 international patents he holds in the development of medicines to promote oral health and to treat chronic inflammatory and collagen-destructive diseases.
According to the NAI, election as an “NAI fellow” is a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated “a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society.” Golub notes it is rare for a dental academic such as himself to be thus recognized.
“The honor and distinction of Dr. Golub being named an NAI fellow is well-deserved,” said Mary Truhlar, DDS, MS, Dean of the School of Dental Medicine, at the induction ceremony. “His research has led to monumental discoveries that have translated into great medical advances for treating patients with oral health conditions and inflammatory diseases. Additionally, Dr. Golub’s decades of devotion to dental medicine, education and research at Stony Brook sets him apart as one of our most esteemed and accomplished colleagues and faculty members.”
Larry Golub is another of the many individuals who grew up in our Jewish community in the storied North End who has gone on to great things. A St. John’s High School graduate (1957), he says that he was originally attracted to dentistry because several of his friends, including Drs. Marvin Kohn and Arnold Kapitz, had enrolled in the then brand new University of Manitoba College of Dentistry.
“I was in the second graduating class in 1963,” he says.
“From the beginning, I was drawn to the research side,” he says. “Collagen,” he explains, “is a major part of every tissue in the body. Collagen degeneration is a primary cause of (the inflammatory condition known as) periodontitis (better known as gum disease) which has been a principal focus of my research.”
After graduation from the University of Manitoba, Golub pursued post-graduate studies in Periodontics at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, including advanced research training at the Harvard Medical School, and Mass. General Hospital, in Boston. He returned to Winnipeg in 1968, where he served for five years as an associate professor in the College of Dentistry at the University of Manitoba, working with such other well-known dental professors as  Dr. Sam Borden and Dr. Israel Kleinberg - who was one of the four original department heads at the College of Dentistry, and where he is credited with establishing study areas in biochemistry, physiology and oral biology.
In 1973, SUNY opened a new dental school – the Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine – and Golub was recruited to serve on the faculty. “The new school’s faculty included many of my fellow Harvard grads,” Golub says. “But a major factor in my decision to go to the States was the amount of research that would be available to me in the United States. In Canada, I was able to secure National Research Council grants of $16,000 a year. In my first year at the new school in New York, I was able to obtain ten times that amount of money in research grants from the National Institutes of Health.”
Golub’s principal discovery in combating periodontitis was the development of a drug called Periostat (which he first patented in 1983). Periostat, which was originally manufactured by Johnson and Johnson, is used by clinicians internationally as a systemic adjunct for the treatment of chronic inflammatory, and bone-destructive periodontal disease.
Another drug that he has developed based on his research, Oracea®, is used to treat chronic inflammatory skin disease and is primarily prescribed by dermatologists. The two medications, as well as others that he and his researchers are working on, have shown the potential for treating a variety of other systemic inflam-matory/collagenolytic diseases including dermatitis, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular and lung diseases.
Next March, Golub will be receiving one more award: the Gies Award as “outstanding dental educator”. The Gies Award honors individuals and organizations that exemplify the highest standards in oral health and dental education, research and leadership in the United States.
At 76, Golub says that he is not done yet. “I feel fine and still look forward to going into work every day.”

Also receiving a Gies Award in March will be the Alpha Omega dental fraternity for its Alpha Omega - Henry Schein Cares Holocaust Survivors Oral Health Program, a public-private partnership established to help vulnerable Holocaust survivors with access to oral care. The program was launched in January 2015, in nine American and Canadian cities. The Alpha Omega dental fraternity Winnipeg chapter signed on to the program in 2016.
As Dr. Allan Finkleman notes, the Alpha Omega Fraternity was founded over 100 years ago in response to racism and anti-Semitism at that time. Today, there are over 100 chapters in ten countries. The Winnipeg chapter, Finkleman adds, was formed 52 years ago and has a membership of 55, the majority of whom are Jewish. Meetings are held four or five times a year with the highlight being an annual memorial lecture in December in memory of fraternity members who have passed away over the course of the year.
“We support a number of charitable endeavours,” Finkleman notes, including the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre, the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, Siloam Mission, Christmas Cheer Board, the Canadian Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism and the local College of Dentistry.
Finkleman and his fellow fraternity leaders, Drs. Gary Hyman and Jack Lipkin, are very excited that the Jewish National Fund has chosen the fraternity to be the honoree at next June’s annual Negev Gala, in recognition of the fraternity’s good works. As its project, Finkleman reports, fraternity members have chosen to contribute funds raised from the Gala towards the construction of a dental clinic in Israel which will specialize in treating severely handicapped adults and children.
The clinic will be part of the ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran Rehabilitation Village, located in Israel’s southern region. ALEH Negev is the only facility of its kind in Israel, and is being studied by experts from around the world as the paradigm of excellence in rehabilitative care.
“We believe that dental care is very important,” says Gary Hyman. “This is a very exciting project for us.”
Finkleman and his wife, Linda, were recently in Israel where they visited ALEH Negev and met ALEH’s founder and current chair, Major General (Reserve) Doron Almog, whose severely disabled son, Eran, was the first ELAH resident in 2007. (He unfortunately passed away shortly after moving into the facility.) Finkleman says that he was able to provide some input into the dental clinic’s design.
To help kickstart the Winnipeg fraternity’s campaign, Finkleman, Hyman and Lipkin approached former Winnipegger Gerald Niznick, a fellow graduate of the University of the Manitoba College of Dentistry, who pledged $50,000 and promised another $50,000 if the Winnipeg chapter could raise an equal amount. (Niznick will also be honoured at the Gala.)
“We have a foundation and pledged $25,000 from the foundation and challenged our members to pledge an equal amount,” Finkleman says. “We reached and exceeded our target. We were able to present a cheque for $50,000 to Ariel Karabelnicoff (the JNF’s local shaliach) and Jessica Cogan (the local JNF president) at a meeting to kick off the Negev Gala campaign.”
Finkleman reports that the total cost to build the clinic is in the range of $1.5-$2-million. A South American benefactor is contributing $1 million toward the project, Hyman notes.

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