Letty Moss-Salentijn, DDS, PhD

  • Edward V. Zegarelli Professor of Dental Medicine (in Anatomy and Cell Biology)
Profile Headshot


From 1966 – 1968 I was a member of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Utrecht (Netherlands). I have served on the faculty of Columbia University since 1968, where in addition to my current administrative activities, I teach in several courses for medical and dental students as well as residents. My principal teaching contributions are in the courses Human Development, and Oral Histology, Growth and Development. In recent years I have been involved in the development of new media applications to enrich the teaching of courses for which I am responsible. I have pioneered several teaching innovations, including the conversion of the traditional microscopy laboratory into an interactive virtual exercise, lecture podcasting, and live videorecording of lectures.

My research is at the microscopic-anatomical and light microscopic levels of observation and is centered around qualitative and quantitative analyses of size, shape and structure of skeletal elements, Much of my work has focused on aspects of the Functional Matrix theory, which was developed originally in Dr. Melvin Moss' laboratory. After I joined the faculty, Dr. Moss and I worked in a shared laboratory and worked on the effects of the functional matrix on fetal and postnatal cranial growth. In addition to our shared projects (e.g. logarithmic growth patterns of the skull; finite element analysis of skull growth) my efforts were concentrated on the growth of cartilages: growth plates in long bones and synchondroses in the skull. Experimental methods included denervation experiments , 3-D analyses of chondrocytic columns in growth plates, computer-based analyses of random growth patterns of the clones that gave rise to the columns, and a combination of kinematics and chondrocytic clone patterns.A secondary focus of my research was the description of particular structural characteristics of dental tissues: enamel, dentin and pulp, comparative odontogenesis and salivary glands.

Academic Appointments

  • Edward V. Zegarelli Professor of Dental Medicine (in Anatomy and Cell Biology)

Administrative Titles

  • Vice Dean for Curricular Innovation and Interprofessional Education, College of Dental Medicine


  • Dutch
  • French
  • German

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • DDS, 1967 Dentistry, University of Utrecht Faculty of Medicine (Netherlands)
  • PhD, 1976 Histology and Embryology, University of Utrecht Faculty of Medicine (Netherlands)

Committees, Societies, Councils

University Committee to Reform the Academic Calendar,1970-1971
Committee on Higher Degrees (Anatomy),1971-1974
Committee on Instruction (Curr. Comm) (CDM),1968-1973
Committee on Instruction (CDM),1981-1994
Biomedical Subcommittee (Chair)1991-1994
Curriculum Committee(CDM) (ex officio),1994-2016
Committee on Instruction(CDM),2016-
Curriculum Committee (P&S) (ex officio),1994-2008
Curriculum Education and Policy Committee (P&S),2009-
Fundamentals Curriculum Subcommittee (P&S),2009-
Long Range Planning Committee (CDM),1980-1982
Admissions Committee (CDM),1980-1990
Second Year Class Committee (CDM),1970-1989
First Year Class Committee (CDM),1989-1994

All Class Committees (CDM) (ex officio),1994-2016

Academic Progress Committee (CDM) 2016-

Executive Committee (CDM),1981-
Committee on Appointments and Promotions (CDM),1984-1994;(Chair) 1985-1994; (ex officio)1994-2012
Steering Committee MA program Dental Sciences (Chair)1986-
Columbia University Senate,1991-
Senate Faculty Affairs Committee,1991- ;(Co-chair),2008-
Senate Education Committee,1992- ;(Chair) 1995-2008;(Co-chair) 2008-
Senate Executive Committee,1993-1995;1997-
Presidential Strategic Planning Commission,Columbia University,1992-1993
Steering Committee, Self-Study Accreditation (CDM),(Co-Chair),1994-1995
Steering Committee, Self-Study Accreditation (CDM),(Co-Chair),2001-2002
Steering Committee, Self Study Accreditation (CDM),(Co-Chair), 2008-2009
Provost's Task Force, Teaching Resource Center,1994-1995
Columbia University Academic and Strategic Planning Subcommittee,1995-1996
Accreditation Evaluator, Site Visitor - ACHE Middle States Association,1996-
Provost's Intellectual Property Policy Committee,2000
Educational Resources Council CU Medical Center,2004- ERC Co-Chair, 2013-
Provost’s Steering Committee, Self-Study Accreditation(Columbia University),2004-2006;,2010-2012
Updated Classroom Committee (Columbia University),2008-2009
Garvey Academy – Committee for Educator Development, 2008-2010
Faculty Academic Tracks Committee (P&S), 2008-2012
Professional Development Advisory Group (P&S),2008-2010
Teaching methods and skills planning committee,Institute for Faculty Development (AMSNY),2008-2010
Search Committee for Director of the new University Center for Teaching & Learning,2015

Committee on Test Construction,Anatomical Sciences, National Board Examinations, A.D.A.,1975-1980
Member, Scientific Advisory Panel, Journal of Endodontics,1979-1985

Secretary, Kappa (Columbia University) Chapter of Sigma Xi,1980-1987
President, Kappa (Columbia University) Chapter of Sigma Xi,1987-1989,1998-1999
President, Epsilon Epsilon Chapter of Omicron Kappa Upsilon,1986
Member, Board of Directors,,American Bureau for Medical Advancement in China,1999-2003


Professional organizations and societies

American Association of Anatomists
American Association of Clinical Anatomists
American Association of Physical Anthropologists
Nederlandse Anatomen Vereniging
International Association of Dental Research (Craniofacial Biology Group)
Nederlandse Vereniging voor Periodontologie
Harvey Society
American Society of Biomechanics
American Dental Education Association
American Dental Association
New York Academy of Dentistry

Honors & Awards

Fellow Royal Microscopical Society

Fellow American College of Dentists,2001

Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching,2008


Global Health Activities

I have developed and maintained academic partnerships with dental schools in the countries that are referenced and I have coordinated faculty and student exchanges with the partner schools.