Letty Moss-Salentijn, DDS, PhD

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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)

Honors & Awards

Fellow Royal Microscopical Society

Fellow American College of Dentists,2001

Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching,2008