Professor Sanz, in June 2015 you take over as president of the Osteology Foundation. What is your personal goal for your term of office? Is there anything in particular that you wish to achieve during this time?
Mariano Sanz: The Osteology Foundation was established in 2003 through the vision of Dr Peter Geistlich whose wish it was to develop a platform to link science with clinical practice in Oral Regeneration. He succeeded in gathering a board of highly renowned leaders in research and academia. Under the leadership of Prof Christoph Hämmerle, this organization has continuously grown and has accomplished its mission of promoting research, education and clinical practice in regenerative medicine, with the ultimate goal of benefiting patients worldwide. It is therefore my personal goal to maintain this course and to raise the importance and visibility of the Osteology Foundation worldwide.
Will the Foundation change its strategy, activities or mission?
Mariano Sanz: Over the last 12 years, the Osteology Foundation looks back at some outstanding achievements that everybody associates with its brand. These include the Osteology Researcher Grants, the International and National Symposia and the Osteology Research Academy. We are, of course, set to continue these successful projects, and wherever possible to extend them to other parts of the world, as was the case with the Oral Research Academy that was held in USA last year, and which we also plan to organize in South America and South East Asia in the future.
Moreover, we are planning new activities and we are currently developing an online educational and community platform, which hopefully will make our activities readily accessible and visible throughout the world.
In summary, we shall consolidate our accomplishments, but at the same time open to new technologies and improved communication media with the goal of widening our reach in order to better fulfil our mission.
Where do the biggest challenges lie for the Osteology Foundation in the next few years?
Mariano Sanz: The biggest challenge will be to maintain the high quality research and clinical practice that has always been associated with the Osteology Foundation. Furthermore, we need to foster innovation and creativity to align with the interests and expectations of current and future practitioners so they are interested in linking with the Osteology Foundation as their main source of education in regenerative therapies.
And where do you think the Foundation has to invest more in the future?
Mariano Sanz: Of course, the investment in promoting research, which was characterised over recent years by the significant rise in the number of research grants, must be continued and if possible expanded. Similarly, the quality and visibility of our Osteology Symposia should be enhanced, but one of our priorities is to strive for relevant activities that can be maintained through the year, and this will be accomplished by the online platform we are currently developing and indeed, we shall invest more in the future.
When you look back over the last 12 years, with Christoph Hämmerle as president of the foundation, is there anything in particular you would like to mention, or something special you think Christoph can be particularly proud of?
Mariano Sanz: There is a very high degree of appreciation and gratitude towards Christoph Hämmerle among all members of the Board. In these 12 years he has done a superb job and not only as a result of his vision and work for the Foundation, but also through his personal and social skills has the Foundation become a friendly family of leaders all striving for the same objective - to fulfil the mission of the Osteology Foundation. The internal rules in place for our governance prescribe rotation of members and directives and hence Christoph Hämmerle has to step down for me to take over as president, otherwise I am sure he would have been our president even longer.
Thank you very much, Professor Sanz!
Interview: Dr Heike Fania