Menu UF Health Home Menu

Faculty Spotlight

OWellington Rody, Jr., D.D.S, M.S. joined the department of Orthodontics at the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry (UFCD) in 2012. Dr. Rody earned his D.D.S from Federal University of Espirito Santo (Vitoria-Brazil) in 1991, and completed his orthodontic certificate program at Catholic University of Minas Gerais (Belo Horizonte-Brazil) in 1996.In 2000; he received his M.S from the University of Washington (UW), in order to enhance his academic background and maximize his potential as a faculty member. While pursuing his degree, Dr. Rody worked on a project designed to determine how osteoclasts are recruited during orthodontic tooth movement. Using a rat model, he established that the primary site for recruitment was the alveolar marrow spaces adjacent to sites of periodontal ligament compression. In recognition of his academic performance, Dr. Rody received two major awards at the UW: the Graduate School Merit Recruitment Award in 1998, and was selected as the University of Washington’s School of Dentistry’s Magnuson Scholar Award recipient in 1999. This award was established to honor the memory of a U.S. Senator from the state of Washington, who helped establish the National Institute of Health (NIH).

In 2000, Dr. Rody returned to Brazil where he established a successful private practice. Although happy with his achievements as a clinical orthodontist, it became clear that he was an academic-oriented dentist and missing scholarship opportunities. His pursuit for excellence in academia, he embarked upon a full-time academic career in 2008, when offered a position as an Assistant Professor in the Division of Orthodontics, at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg MB, Canada. He received a three-year teaching fellowship from the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), which gave him enough protected time to initiate a research program. Specifically, he was able to receive training in proteomic techniques both locally and at the NIH. In addition, he was able to obtain funding from Canadian foundations to carry out pilot research projects that studied the expression of markers in oral fluids to monitor bone remodeling, inflammation and root resorption.

Dr. Rody’s goal is to develop a career as a patient-oriented translational researcher in the diagnosis and treatment of mineralized tissue disorders, bridging the gap between bench research and clinical investigation, with the ultimate goal of identifying and developing diagnostic and therapeutic molecules/panels. At UFCD, Dr. Rody has been integrated into a team of clinicians, basic scientists and associated staff to further develop his research. For the past three-years he has been able to secure intra and extra-mural funding from industry, the NIH and the American Association of Orthodontists Foundation (AAOF) to support his research. Dr. Rody hypothesizes that the cells that resorb bone (‘osteoclasts’) and the cells that resorb dentin (‘odontoclasts’) have distinct markers that would allow for distinction between their activities during mineralized tissue remodeling in vitro and in vivo. This hypothesis is currently being tested by a combination of genetic, biochemical and cell biology techniques. Dr. Rody’s team believes that this unbiased and innovative approach represents the first attempt to streamline the discovery of biomarkers associated with bone remodeling and root resorption, fulfilling an important need in the fields of orthodontics, periodontics, pediatric dentistry and endodontics to name a few.

In addition to his research program at UFCD, Dr. Rody is also actively involved in clinical teaching of orthodontic residents, where he has received above average ratings in his evaluations. His academic efforts and service to orthodontics are well recognized by his peers; he has received several awards, which include: the 2012 Willie and Earl Shepard Orthodontic Faculty Development Award, and the 2015 B. F. Dewel Memorial Research Award, designations given by the AAOF to the most meritorious applicants.