May 23, 2022

The recently expanded Pearls of Wisdom series features Rena N. D’Souza, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D., Director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). In this Pearls’ video, Dr. D’Souza responds to the question, “What do you consider to be success?”

Dr. Rena D’Souza is deeply committed to NIDCR’s mission — to improve dental, oral, and craniofacial health — and believes the institute plays a key role in how oral health care is delivered. Dr. D’Souza oversees NIDCR’s annual budget of more than $485 million, which supports basic, translational, and clinical research in areas of oral cancer, orofacial pain, tooth decay, periodontal disease, salivary gland dysfunction, craniofacial development and disorders and the oral complications of systemic diseases.

Prior to becoming NIDCR’s director, Dr. D’Souza served in the position of Associate Vice Provost for Research for the University of Utah and as Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Education for the Health Sciences. Dr. D’Souza has been a principal investigator on multiple NIH and other federal grants since 1987 and has published 150 peer-reviewed journal papers and book chapters.

Since 1985, she has served as a volunteer dentist for women in need and people struggling with homelessness in Salt Lake City, Dallas, and Houston.

The Pearls of Wisdom online series of short videos aims to inspire, motivate, and inform individuals at all stages of their biomedical careers, with a particular focus on women in STEMM fields. Produced and funded by the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH), it features prominent scientists and physicians at NIH and beyond – many from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups–sharing words of wisdom, perspectives, and advice to current and future women scientists. 

The Pearls of Wisdom series is located on the redesigned NIH “Women in Science” website, which describes the history of the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers and provides information on the working group’s subcommittees, supported programs, grants, career development resources, NIH diversity resources, and career flexibility initiatives.