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Feb. 25, 1943 – Dec. 5, 2013

Russell J. Nisengard, of Williamsville, a professor at the University at Buffalo Dental School for 40 years and associate dean for 17 years, died Thursday in Buffalo General Medical Center after a long illness. He was 70.

Dr. Nisengard, a lifelong resident of Buffalo, earned a doctorate in dental surgery with a specialty in periodontics from the University at Buffalo School of Dentistry and a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University at Buffalo School of Medicine.

He became a professor at UB’s School of Dental Medicine in 1970, and an associate dean in 1993, and retired in 2010. Dr. Nisengard, who also served as the school’s interim dean from 2000 to 2002, was named a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor and Educator of the Year by UB dental students. Dr. Nisengard was the co-founder of Immco Diagnostics, a reference laboratory founded in 1971, which specialized in pioneering research into autoimmune diseases.

He was awarded the William Gies Award from the American Academy of Periodontology and was nationally and internationally recognized for his research into the immunology and microbiology of periodontal disease. He also authored numerous research articles, chapters and textbooks in periodontology.

Dr. Nisengard was a member of Temple Beth Zion, American Academy of Periodontology, and International Association for Dental Research.

His first wife, Paula, died in 1997.

Survivors include his wife, Elaine Rubenstein; a daughter, Jennifer; a son Michael; and a stepsister, Iris Yohi.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. today in Temple Beth Zion, 805 Delaware Ave.