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00001665-201201000-0000400001665_2012_23_6_thaller_craniofacial_1editorial< 21_0_2_0 >Journal of Craniofacial Surgery© 2012 Mutaz B. Habal, MDVolume 23(1)January 2012p 6Craniofacial Biology Over One Century[Special Editorials]Thaller, Seth R. DMD, MD, FACS, FAAPFrom the University of Miami, Miami, Florida.Received March 8, 2011.Accepted for publication April 3, 2011.Address correspondence and reprint requests to Seth R. Thaller, DMD, MD, FACS, FAAP, University of Miami, Miami, Florida; E-mail: author reports no conflicts of interest.This editorial serves as my reflections on and introduction to a person whose abilities, contributions, and work over the last century I have great respect for —Dr Bernard G. Sarnat. I can say that Dr Sarnat is a giant surgeon in our beloved specialty. This special issue theme in The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery is dedicated to that plastic surgeon who had changed our thinking and approach to the clinical problems we face by looking into the basic elements in craniofacial biology. Dr Sarnat who is rapidly approaching his centennial birthday has graciously shared with his fellow plastic surgeons his exceptionally sustained and prolific career. To quote a brochure from The Sarnat Symposium for Geriatric Care, “Everything Old Is New Again!” This has, for me, a very personal association with Dr Sarnat. When I had the pleasurable opportunity to be Dr Henry Kawamoto’s fellow, I had great enthusiasm to embark on multiple basic science research projects. I would come up with an idea, and Henry would say, “why don’t you seek out and discuss the inspiration with Dr Sarnat.” Then I would take my “innovations” to my Yoda. Dr Sarnat would humbly tell me about the experiment he had completed many years prior and would forward me his comprehensive paper on the subject. This was never a discouraging encounter. Instead, it was educational because through our discussions, Dr Sarnat would lead me to the development of a related project that would further elucidate a question in the field of craniofacial biology. I have been fortunate now through my ensuing years in academia; this cherished relationship has endured and allowed me to withdraw innumerable times from his bank of knowledge.This remarkable individual was born and reared in Chicago to immigrant parents. To the betterment of our specialty, he successfully followed and succeeded in our American dream. His educational odyssey began at The University of Chicago where he was awarded a BS and an MD. He then went off to LA County Hospital for his internship. He returned to Chicago and The University of Illinois Dental School where, after 3 years, he obtained both his DDS and an MS in histology. While a student, he came under the mentorship of the most prominent cadre of researchers in the field of craniofacial biology and development. This included such luminaries as Drs Schour, Noyes, Brodie, and Hine. In addition, during this University-of-Illinois period, Dr Sarnat initiated his illustrious research career in earnest. His exhaustive endeavors in the laboratory led to milestones in elucidating the growth and development of the craniofacial skeleton and the dentition. Dr Sarnat was one of the original investigators to apply the use of Alizarin Red stain to confirm the arrangement of dental and bone growth.His momentous studies in the field of craniofacial biology and development relate to such matters as snout growth, mandibular growth and development, bony evolution, and the influence of skeletal sutures on eventual craniofacial maturation.In time, he was to impart this astonishing experimental knowledge with his fellow plastic surgery colleagues. With these data, he published somewhere more than 200 articles. These formed the foundation for the ultimate clinical initiation of the pioneering discipline of craniofacial surgery. On a personal note, I followed a similar unique educational course of obtaining my MD before completing dental school. In fact, I believed I had completed a rather unique educational journey, only to discover that Dr Sarnat had achieved this educational paradigm many years prior. More importantly, my father who received his dental training at The University of Illinois often spoke glowingly of Dr Sarnat and the group of this very group of teachers. During our conversations with Dr Sarnat detailing his University-of-Illinois-dental-school years, I always felt that I was also able to share and I actually touch my father’s educational encounters. On numerous occasions, my dad would speak in admiration of Dr Sarnat and his fellow researchers at The University of Illinois Dental School. This was a crucial bond that we could always share.After his dental training, Dr Sarnat embarked on his “formal” plastic and reconstructive surgery instruction. Initially, he completed an oral and maxillofacial surgery residency at Cook County Hospital. Then he received his plastic surgery preparation in St. Louis with the legendary Dr Vilray Blair and colleagues. After a number of trips and temporary stops between the Midwest and the West Coast, Dr Sarnat finally settled down in Beverly Hills. There he set up his permanent roots and eventually raised his family. At the same time, he also entered into the clinical practice of plastic surgery. It is important to note that this corresponded to the early formative years of our specialty. Dr Sarnat embarked like any other young clinician on a broad-based plastic surgery practice incorporating the full breadth of the field.Dr Sarnat’s contributions extend way beyond his vast impact on craniofacial science and biology. He has innumerable involvements in both general education and humanitarian endeavors. These include such extensive initiatives as The Sarnat Symposium for Geriatric Care: A Fresh approach to Senior Care at the Los Angeles Jewish Home. This provided a platform for innovators in this filed to communicate their experiences to improve the care of this important part of our community. Then there is the endowed fellowship on Jewish Studies at Brandeis University and the professorship in craniofacial biology at University of California, Los Angeles.The personal and academic accomplishments are substantial. I am not sure that a single centennial edition of any Journal will ever fully embody such a complete life. Especially one characterized by compassion, charity, and kindness not to be overshadowed by its noteworthy gifts to the advancement and understanding of craniofacial biology and science and its everlasting role in the development and acceptance of the distinct field of craniofacial surgery.Craniofacial Biology Over One CenturyThaller, Seth R. DMD, MD, FACS, FAAPSpecial Editorials123