Margherita Fontana, D.D.S., Ph.D., holds the position of professor (tenured) in the Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences, and Endodontics at University of Michigan School of Dentistry. After receiving her dental degree from the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV), Caracas, Venezuela, in 1990, Dr. Fontana worked as a research assistant in the Dental Research Institute, Dental School, UCV for two years, while she also worked in private practice.
In 1992, Dr. Fontana moved to the United States to pursue her research interests, and in 1996 she completed a four-year Ph.D. program in dental sciences at IUPUI. She was full-time faculty there until fall 2009, serving as director of the Microbial Caries Model Facility, which is part of the Oral Health Research Institute; director of the Oral Biofilms in Caries Assessment and Management Research Program; and director of Predoctoral Education (Caries Management Program) for the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry. She currently maintains an affiliate position at Indiana University.
Dr. Fontana has always been very involved in teaching (problem-based learning, laboratory, and didactic) in cariology in the D.D.S., postdoctoral, and dental hygiene programs. She is currently co-director of the cariology I and II courses and cariology discipline co-coordinator at the School of Dentistry.
As a principal investigator, Dr. Fontana has received research grants from the National Institutes of Health, the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, the Delta Dental Fund, and private industry. She has lectured as an invited speaker in different countries, being recognized for her work in the field of cariology. She was the first president for the Indiana Chapter of the Hispanic Dental Association, and has been a member for many years of the International Association for Dental Research, the European Organization for Caries Research (ORCA), and the American Society for Microbiology. She was the 2007–08 president of the Cariology Group of the International Association for Dental Research, the 2010–11 chair of the newly approved Cariology Section of the American Dental Education Association, and a fellow in the 2011–12 class of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women. In 2012 she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for her work on caries risk assessment in children.
Dr. Fontana’s clinical research interests relate primarily to caries management in children, including risk assessment, dental sealants, oral biofilms as related to caries development and/or prevention (included in this area: therapies that may affect the biofilm, such as xylitol), secondary caries, caries remineralization, and early caries detection.