Mildred C. Embree, DMD, PhD

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Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Dental Medicine

Dr. Mildred Embree is a dentist scientist specializing in temporomandibular joint and musculoskeletal biology and diseases, stem cells and regenerative medicine.

Dr. Embree graduated magna cum laude from the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC with double B.S. degrees in Biochemistry and Chemistry and minors in Biology and English. She received her DMD and PhD in Cell Biology from the Dental Medicine Scientist Training Program at the Medical University of South Carolina. For her PhD training, Dr. Embree was awarded a fellowship though the NIH Graduate Partnership Program. She completed her PhD graduate work at the NIDCR in Bethesda, Maryland focusing on extracellular matrix and osteoarthritis. Upon completion of her graduate training, Dr. Embree was recruited as an Assistant Professor at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and completed her post-doctoral training in the field of regenerative medicine. In 2014 Dr. Embree was promoted to tenure track Assistant Professor of Dental Medicine and now serves as Principal Investigator of the Laboratory of TMJ Biology and Regenerative Medicine. 

Dr. Embree has received numerous awards and recognitions for her research accomplishments and assumed leadership roles in the dental science community. Upon doctoral graduation, Dr Embree received the NIDCR Summer Student Dental Award, MUSC Most Outstanding Student in Dental Research Award, MUSC Most Outstanding Biologist Award, and MUSC Distinguished Graduate Award Finalist. As a post-doctorate scientist, she also received New Investigator Award at the First International Conference on Dental and Craniofacial Stem Cells, AADR 1st Place Hatton Award, IADR 1st Place Hatton Award, and various travel awards. Dr. Embree has also taken on leadership roles and has served on national committees, including the NIH Physician Scientist Workforce Committee and the AADR Hatton Awards Committee.

Dr. Embree has received multiple research grants including F30 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, K99/R00 Dentist Scientist Pathway to Independence Award, and Columbia University Provost's Small Grants Program for Junior Faculty who Contribute to the Diversity Goals of the University.

Dr. Embree is dedicated to fostering scientific development of dentist scientists through the mentorship of dental students and development of dual degree dental curriculum. Many of her students have received travel grants and awards, including 1st Place in Birnberg Research Day and Hatton Award Finalist. 

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • DMD, PhD, 2010 Cell Biology, Medical University of South Carolina

Honors & Awards

2014    Columbia University Faculty Diversity Award

2011-  NIH Clinical Loan Repayment Program Award, NIDCR 

2013   Invited Speaker on NIH/NIDCR Trainee Day Discussion Panel, AADR, General Session, Seattle, Washington

2012   1st Place Hatton Award Senior Basic Science Category, IADR General Session & Exhibition, Iguazu Falls, Brazil

2012    Co-chairperson for Dental Tissue Engineering, IADR General Session & Exhibition, Iguacu Falls, Brazil

2012    1st Place Hatton Award Post Doctoral Category, AADR General Session, Tampa, Florida

2011    New Investigator Award, First International Conference on Dental and Craniofacial Stem Cells, New York, New York

2010    Distinguished Graduate Award Finalist, Medical University of South Carolina, College of Graduate Studies

2010    Most Outstanding Student in Dental Research Award, Medical University of South Carolina

2010    Most Outstanding Oral Biologist Award, Medical University of South Carolina

2008    Bloc Travel Grant Award, AADR General Session, Toronto, Canada

2008    Invited Chairperson for TMJ Development, Pathology, and Properties, IADR General Session, Toronto, Canada

2007   1st Place Oral Presentation Eric B James Award, PhD VI Session MUSC Student Research Day, Charleston, SC

2006   TMJ Association Travel Grant for Best Abstract, TMJ Association of America, Bethesda, MD

2003    National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Summer Dental Student Award, Bethesda, MD

2002    Outstanding Senior in Biochemistry, College of Charleston

2002   Chemistry and Biochemistry Departmental Honors, College of Charleston

2002    Honors College Graduate, College of Charleston

2002    American Institute of Chemists Foundation Award


Dr. Embree conducts cutting edge research in both an academic and clinical setting with the goal of translating basic science into clinical practice. Dr. Embree's laboratory focuses on TMJ biology and disease, stem cells and stem cell-based cartilage and bone regeneration.  Dr. Embree and her team use a combination of stem cell/molecular biology methods and clinical questions in shaping the direction of scientific projects.  Overall, Dr. Embree's research endeavors are geared toward improving the current treatment modalities for patients with TMJ and musculoskeletal diseases. 

Research Interests

  • stem cell biology
  • cartilage biology
  • craniofacial growth and development
  • TMJ biology
  • osteoarthritis


Source: NIDCR, NIH (R00)                                     

Role:  Principle Investigator

Title: Regenerative Strategies to Treat TMJ Injuries and Diseases

Funding Period: July 1, 2014-June 30, 2019

Source: Columbia University Provost Faculty Diversity Award                                  

Role: Principle Investigator

Title: Developing Strategies to Treat TMJ Diseases

Funding Period: May 1, 2014-May 1, 2015

Source: NIDCR, NIH (1 K99 DE022060-01A1)                                                 

Role: Principle Investigator

Title: NIDCR Dentist Scientist K99: Improve TMJ Regeneration Strategies

Funding Period: July 1, 2012-June 30, 2014


Jul 1 2014 - Jun 30 2019


Mar 23 2018 - Mar 22 2019


Sep 25 2009 - Aug 31 2013