Christian S. Stohler, DMD, DrMedDent

  • Professor of Dental Medicine
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Christian S. Stohler, DMD, DrMedDent, received his DMD degree from the University of Bern, Switzerland, where he also earned a doctoral degree and obtained certificates in oral and maxillofacial surgery and subsequently in prosthodontics.  

From 2013 to 2024, he served as dean of the Columbia College of Dental Medicine and is currently on the faculty. From 2003-2013, he was the dental dean at the University of Maryland. From 1979-2002, he held several positions at the University of Michigan, including professor at the School of Dentistry, research scientist at the Center for Human Growth and Development, director of research at the School of Dentistry, and professor and chair of the Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences. While at Michigan, he was named the William R. Mann professor and held the Roy & Natalie Roberts endowed chair.  He was a member of the NIDCR Board of Scientific Counselors from 2000-2005, and chaired the Board from 2005-2008. 

Awards and recognitions include the Schweitzer Research Award, recognition awards from the NDA, Pierre Fauchard Academy, the Orthodontic Education and Research Foundation, the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Michigan, the Horace Wells Merit Award, honorary Professors from Sichuan University, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Visiting Academician, The Academy of Medicine, Singapore and Kuwait University, Distinguished Speaker, National University of Singapore as well as an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree from Nippon Dental University.


Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Dental Medicine

Administrative Titles

  • Dean, College of Dental Medicine
  • Senior Vice President for Dental Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • DDS, 1974 University of Bern, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Switzerland
  • DrMedDent, 1975 University of Bern, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Switzerland
  • Certificate in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, 1977 University of Bern, Switzerland
  • Certificate in Prosthodontics, 1979 University of Bern, Switzerland

Committees, Societies, Councils

  • 2005: Member, Pierre Fauchard Academy
  • 2003: Member, Academy of General Dentistry
  • 2003-2013: Member, Anne Arundel County Dental Society AACDS
  • 2003-2013: Member, Baltimore City Dental Society
  • 2003-2013: Member, Maryland State Dental Association MSDA
  • 2003: Member, National Dental Association NDA
  • 2003: Member, American Dental Association ADA
  • 2001: Member, Society for Neuroscience
  • 1999: Member, American Association Advancement of Science
  • 1979: IADR/AADR

Honors & Awards

  • 2015-2018: OKU Vice President, President, Past President, National Supreme Chapter
  • 2013: Recognition Award, National Dental Association
  • 2013: Honorary Doctor of Philosophy, Nippon Dental University
  • 2012: Orthodontic Education and Research Foundation, Merit Award
  • 2011: Visiting Academician, The Academy of Medicine, Singapore
  • 2011: Special Appreciation Award, Pierre Fauchard Academy
  • 2010: Jerome M. and Dorothy Schweitzer Research Award
  • 2010: Honorary Professor, Sichuan University
  • 2010: Visiting Professor, Kuwait University
  • 2009: Distinguished Speaker, National University of Singapore
  • 2009: Horace Wells Award of Merit
  • 2009: Honorary Member and Award of Merit, Horace Hayden Society
  • 2009: University of Michigan, School of Dentistry, “Distinguished Service Award”
  • 2009: Israel Shulman Award, Maimonides Society
  • 2009: Honorary Professor, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • 2008: Recognition Award, National Dental Association NDA
  • 2008: Honorary Member, Southeastern Academy of Prosthodontics
  • 2007: Honor Award, Pierre Fauchard Academy
  • 2005: Fellow, American College of Dentists (FACD)
  • 2004: Honorary Professor, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia
  • 2003: Honorary Member, American Academy of the History of Dentistry
  • 2003: Honorary Member, Baltimore Association of Dental Surgeons
  • 2003: Honorary Member, Maryland Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
  • 2003: Fellow, International College of Dentists (FICD)
  • 2002-2003: Dr. Roy and Natalie Roberts Endowed Professor
  • 2005-2008: NIH-NIDCR Board of Scientific Counselors, Chair
  • 2000-2005: NIH-NIDCR Board of Scientific Counselors, Member
  • 1997-2003: Dean William R. Mann Endowed Professor
  • 1994-1995: President, Association of University TMD and Orofacial Pain Programs
  • 1993-1994: President, IADR/AADR Neuroscience Group
  • 1989: Chi Chapter OKU Dental Honors Society


The absence of consistent end organ abnormalities in many chronic pain syndromes triggered Dr. Stohler to the search for mechanisms that explain their clinical presentations. Contributions focus on the dissection of their complex and individually variable symptom expression, notably those involving head, neck and back muscles using model systems, delivering experientially-matched, sustained deep muscle pain. The work established the effect of deep pain on touch sensation, agonistic and antagonistic muscle function, and shed novel light on the degree to which the CNS shapes clinical severity. 

Using functional molecular imaging, he and his colleagues showed that the level of activation of mu-opioid neurotransmission in sustained pain contributes significantly to individual pain sensation and affect. Subsequently, his group demonstrated that both opioidergic and dopaminergic neurotransmission and genetic variants influencing their function further modulate clinical pain and emotional states, contributing to the increasing body of knowledge of genetic variants modulating clinically observable phenomena. The group was the first group to show placebo-induced activation of opioid neurotransmission in brain regions, including the rostral anterior cingulate, orbitofrontal and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, anterior and posterior insula, nucleus accumbens, amygdala and others with some of these regions overlapping with those involved in pain, affective regulation and motivated behavior. With heightened pain-stress sensitivity being thought to confer risk for a host of health conditions, the team reported that a putatively functional genetic variant is associated with greater striatal dopamine release during pain. Overall, the scientific contributions show that inter-individual differences affect the CNS response to environmental challenges and thereby contribute to a person’s resilience or vulnerability to stressors, such as pain.

Selected Publications

For a complete list of publications, please visit Google Scholar.