Resident Spotlight: Elias Exarchos ENG 15 DMD 19 PERIO 22 named Zanni Scholar

For Elias Exarchos ENG 15 DMD 19 PERIO 22, the path to periodontics started a decade ago – he just didn’t know it at the time.

After completing a degree in biomedical engineering at BU’s School of Engineering in 2015, he found himself at a crossroads, and had to decide whether to pursue a career in engineering or to apply to medical or dental school.

“My father, uncle, and aunt were all dentists, so I was exposed to it at a very young age, and it seemed fun and I always did like to work with my hands,” Exarchos said.

“Nowadays, dentistry kind of combines medicine, engineering and art in a way so I decided to go for it. I’m glad I did, because I enjoy it very much, and it checks all my boxes.”

Exarchos graduated from the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine in 2019, and then continued his education in the school’s Advanced Education Program in Periodontics, where he was recently named the school’s second Zanni Scholar.

The scholarship is funded by the late Dr. Oreste Zanni PERIO 76, who bequeathed an endowment of $1.5 million to sustain an annual merit-based scholarship for a postdoctoral resident admitted into the school’s periodontics program.

“I was shocked when I heard the news,” Exarchos said. “It’s an honor, and I’m so grateful for the support toward my education.”

“It did have a big impact on me, because it allows me to focus more on my studies and worry less about my financial burdens. It does push me to do the best I can, to prove myself worthy to the faculty on the scholarship committee.”

Exarchos was first drawn to periodontology during his predoctoral studies at GSDM.

“Periodontology stood out—it seems to be evolving and changing the most,” he said. “There’s kind of been a critical shift in periodontology, where it’s gone from a subtractive to an additive approach. We’re not only able to treat periodontal disease. We’re able to save teeth that previously would have been deemed hopeless, we can regenerate bone and soft tissues, and we can address not only the functional needs of our patients, but also their cosmetic needs. And we can do this utilizing digital dentistry and the new technologies that are continuing to evolve. Research in the periodontology field is also constantly changing.”

When it came to deciding where to go for his postdoctoral education, the choice was easy. “I’d fallen in love with BU,” he said. “I’ve been here almost 10 years, and I’ve met many of the students and faculty….I knew it would be a good place.”

As a periodontology resident, Exarchos spends his time in the Postdoctoral Periodontics Patient Treatment Center  and participating in research activities.

“Every day is different,” he said.  “I’ve been keeping busy—I’ve learned that you get out of it what you put into it so I am staying in contact with patients and faculty, trying to manage my time.”

In the future, Exarchos said that he’d like to someday own his own practice—and give back to the next generation of dental students. “I’d also like to teach part time,” he said, “Maybe at BU—I’ve been here for years, why not keep it going?”