Irwin D. Mandel, dentist and dental researcher, was born in Brooklyn, New York on April 9, 1922, the son of Samuel and Shirley Mandel. He received his BA from City College in 1942, and graduated from the School of Dental and Oral Surgery (now the College of Dental Medicine) of Columbia University in 1945.
With the exception of two stints in the Navy Dental Corps (1945-46 and 1952-54), Mandel spent his entire career at Columbia. He began as a research assistant in 1946, and gave up his part-time private practice in 1968 to devote himself full-time to research and teaching.
An expert in salivary chemistry, Mandel founded and served as first director of the Division of Preventive Dentistry at Columbia, the first such department in the country. He also served as the founding director of the Center for Clinical Research in Dentistry, and as the dental school's Associate Dean for Research before attaining emeritus status in 1992. Mandel also made major contributions in the area of immune systems research, and in particular to HIV/AIDS studies.
Mandel authored 225 scientific articles and 18 books or book chapters and served as a consultant and research mentor on several projects. He was Chief Dental Advisor to Consumers Union and its publications, a position he held for nearly 50 years. He was also a consultant and spokesperson for the American Dental Association, Associate Editor of the Journal of Dental Research, and a grants reviewer for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. He was an active writer and reviewer for the Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health (2000), and served as the preventive dentistry consultant to NASA's manned mission to Mars project.
A past president of the American Association for Dental Research, Mandel received numerous awards, including the Award for Leadership in Periodontology from Tufts University (1971); the International Award from the University of Connecticut (1979); the first Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Dental Research from the American Dental Association (1985); the Jarvie-Burkhardt International Award given by the New York State Dental Association (1990); and the Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Public Health Dentistry (1991).
Mandel also received the honorary degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa) from Columbia University in 1996. He also held honorary degrees from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (1981) and the University of Göteborg, Sweden (1994).
Mandel died on May 26, 2011, in Montclair, N.J.
Information for this note taken from obituaries produced by the New York Times and the College of Dental Medicine.