In Memoriam: Kenneth Anusavice, D.M.D., Ph.D.

Ken Anusavice, D.M.D., Ph.D.We are saddened to learn of the recent passing of Kenneth J. Anusavice, D.M.D., Ph.D., on September 30, 2021. 

Dr. Anusavice earned his doctoral degree in materials science and engineering in 1970 under Bob DeHoff, Ph.D., and his D.M.D. from the Medical College of Georgia in 1977. He has been an active part of the UF Department of Materials Science & Engineering (MSE) in countless ways over the decades. 

While serving as Director of the Center for Dental Biomaterials at the UF College of Dentistry, he emphasized integrating MSE principles into the development and applications of dental materials. With three out of four faculty members MSE Ph.D.’s and the fourth also an engineering Ph.D., Dr. Anusavice stressed the critical importance of academic discipline integration into the curriculum. Under his guidance, the program would eventually become internationally recognized, drawing students from all over the world to UF to study dentistry and MSE. 

Over the years, several international students studying dentistry earned their MSE doctorates while conducting mechanical and optical properties research in dental biomaterials laboratories. Dr. Anusavice also sponsored dozens of undergraduate and graduate students engaged in dental materials-related research in the MSE department.  

As a UF MSE adjunct faculty member, Dr. Anusavice often collaborated with professors Larry Hench, Ph.D., Tony Brennan, Ph.D., and Chris Batich, Ph.D., and co-advised graduate students pursuing their MSE doctorates with Jack Mecholsky, Ph.D., current associate department chair. The student co-mentoring partnership between Drs. Anusavice and Mecholsky continued for over 20 years. 

Dr. Anusavice impacted the lives of so many graduates by mentoring them, introducing them to outstanding researchers in the field of dentistry and engineering, and consistently challenging them to exercise passion in their research. The students he mentored have continuously excelled in their professional endeavors.  

  • Jason Griggs, Ph.D., was Chair of the Biomedical Materials Science Department and is currently Associate Dean for Research at the University of Mississippi Medical College. In 2020, he received the Regions Bank TEACH (Toward Educational Advancement in Care and Health) Prize. 
  • Alvaro Della Bona, D.D.S., Ph.D., FADM, recently received the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) Wilmer Souder Award in Dental Materials, the most prestigious award given in dentistry. 
  • Kallaya Suputtamongkol, DDS, MSc, Ph.D. is Director of Dental Research at Mahidol University in Thailand. 
  • Jeffrey Thompson, Ph.D., is a faculty and research professor at the College of Dental Medicine at Nova Southeastern University. 
  • Nader Abdulhameed, B.D.S., Ph.D., was recently appointed Director of Research at the LECOM School of Dental Medicine. 
  • Burak Taskonak, D.D.S., Ph.D., became internationally recognized in restorative, aesthetic and implant dentistry. 
  • Thomas J. Hill, Ph.D., teaches material applications to dentists for Ivoclar Vivadent AG, a leading international dental company. 

Dr. Anusavice always encouraged his students to develop their talents and excel to the highest levels. These individuals constitute only a few examples of the success he inspired in his students. 

Dr. Kennneth J. Anusavice will be dearly missed worldwide by numerous colleagues, former students, friends and family. His influence, knowledge and passion for life will live on in all of us. 

The funeral service is scheduled for Thursday, October 14, at Queen of Peace Catholic Church (10900 SW 24th Ave, Gainesville, FL 32607). There will be a visitation at 11 a.m. followed by a service at noon.