In appreciation for his outstanding work as an orthodontic educator, the AAO’s Society of Educators recognizes Dr. Sarandeep Huja in this Educator Spotlight.

Dr. Huja initially received his dental and orthodontic training from the Government Dental College and Hospital, Bombay, India. From 1993-2001, he received a dental degree from University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry, his master’s degree at Marquette University; and his PhD and orthodontic certificate from Indiana University. Dr. Huja’s PhD work was under the mentorship of Dr. David Burr from the Department of Anatomy and Dr. W. Eugene Roberts in the Department of Orthodontics at Indiana University.

Prior to joining the Medical University of South Carolina faculty as a professor, Dr. Huja was a faculty member at the Ohio State University, working under the mentorship of world-renowned orthodontist and educator, Dr. Katherine Vig. He then served in several positions at the University of Kentucky, including Division Chief of Orthodontics. Dr. Huja became the Dean of the Medical University of South Carolina School of Dentistry in 2017. He has served as advisor for both PhD and Master graduate students and has taught orthodontics and bone biology to dental and graduate students. His students have been recognized with national awards on projects related to tooth movement and implant adaptation biology.

Dr. Huja has served as principal investigator for research funded by grants from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the National Institutes of Health, as well as corporations and foundations. His research interests include bone remodeling, osteoclast biology and adaptation to physical forces. Dr. Huja is also the recipient of the prestigious B.F. Dewel Memorial Biomedical Research Award from the AAO Foundation. His many volunteer roles have included serving on the AAOF Planning and Awards Review Committee (PARC), of which he is the current chair.

In preparation for this spotlight, the Society of Educators collected comments from orthodontists who have worked closely with Dr. Huja. Hear what they had to say below:

  • “My journey to becoming an orthodontic educator began in 2013 with an orthodontic externship at the University of Kentucky, under the exceptional guidance of Dr. Huja. The impact Dr. Huja had on my career and personal development cannot be overstated. His mentorship is the cornerstone of my academic success and the inspiration behind my passion for giving back to students. His humility in accepting praise only further underscores the depth of his character and dedication. In reflecting on the journey, it is clear that Dr. Huja’s mentorship has not only shaped me into the professional I am today but has also instilled in me a lifelong passion for mentorship. I aspire to impact my students as profoundly as Dr. Huja did.”
  • “Dr. Huja was a significant influence on my journey as an orthodontist in the United States. I was an orthodontist from India and new to the education/cultural system here in the USA. Dr. Huja and his wife helped me to feel at home in a new country and made the program feel like home away from home. Dr. Huja continued to support me until I was ready to stand on my own. He also taught me the importance of punctuality – which is being five minutes early not late. I always describe him as a ‘coconut’ – strict on the outside but caring like a mother on the inside. Thank you Dr. Huja for teaching us what it is to be a good teacher!”
  • “Dr. Huja embodies the qualities of an exceptional mentor: dedication, expertise, and a genuine commitment to fostering growth in others. His guidance has extended far beyond the confines of the classroom, offering invaluable insights and support at every step of my journey. Whether navigating complex clinical cases, delving into research endeavors, or navigating the intricacies of academia, Dr. Huja has consistently been a source of inspiration and encouragement. One of the most remarkable aspects of Dr. Huja’s mentorship is his ability to tailor his guidance to meet each mentee’s unique needs and aspirations. He recognizes that mentorship is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, but a dynamic relationship built on trust, respect, and mutual learning. Dr. Huja has helped me chart a course that aligns with my passions and ambitions by taking the time to understand my strengths, weaknesses, and professional goals. Moreover, Dr. Huja’s mentorship extends beyond individual interactions, permeating the fabric of our orthodontic community. His dedication to fostering a culture of collaboration, innovation, and excellence has inspired countless colleagues and students to strive for greatness. Through his leadership and mentorship, Dr. Huja has cultivated a legacy of excellence that will continue to shape the future of orthodontic education for generations to come.”

To learn more about the Society of Educators (SOE) all orthodontic educators are invited to attend the SOE Ravindra Nanda Educational Leadership Conference on Friday, May 3, in New Orleans, in conjunction with the 2024 Annual Session.