Estephan J. Moana-Filho, DDS, MS, PhD

Assistant Professor


Office Address

6-320d Moos Tower
515 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States


Assistant Professor


Residency, University of Minnesota School of Dentistry (TMD/Orofacial Pain, Advanced Clinical Training Program in TMD and Orofacial Pain), 2008
PhD, University of North Carolina School of Dentistry (Oral Biology), 2014
DDS, Bauru School of Dentistry, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1997
MS, University of Minnesota School of Dentistry (Dentistry), 2010

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Awards & Recognition

Paper of the year award 2016

Paper awarded: Moana-Filho, E. J., Bereiter, D. A. and Nixdorf, D. R. (2015). "Amplified Brain Processing of Dentoalveolar Pressure Stimulus in Persistent Dentoalveolar Pain Disorder Patients." J Oral Facial Pain Headache 29(4): 349-62. Received at the 12th Annual Dental Research Updates from the U of M on March 4, 2016.

Patrick M. Flood Leadership Award 2013
Nominated by students and faculty/staff associated with the UNC Oral Biology PhD program and reviewed by a faculty committee.

AAAS/Science Program for Excellence in Science Nomination 2013
Award: 2-year sponsored membership in AAAS (the American Association for the Advancement of Science)/Science.

Freedland Advanced Dental Education Fellowship 2012
Award: $4,800. Awarded by the Dental Foundation of North Carolina. Chapel Hill, NC.

Financial aid grant 2012
Award: 700 euros and meeting registration fee. Awarded by the IASP Financial Aid Working Group to partially fund attendance of the 14th World Congress on Pain in Milan, Italy.

Member Induction 2008
Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

Financial aid grant 2007
Award: $500. Awarded by thesis advisor Donald Nixdorf, DDS, MS, to partially fund attendance of the 13th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping.

Scholarship 2007
Award: $200, meeting registration fee plus travel and hotel expenses. Awarded by Steering Committee of the “Essentials of Pain Management: Principles and Practice” program to attend its 2-day course and the 26th Annual Scientific Meeting of the
American Pain Society.

First place in monograph category 1997
Award: $910. Awarded by the “Johnson & Johnson Incentive to Oral Health Research Prize” [Portuguese – Prêmio Jonhson & Johnson de Incentivo à Pesquisa em Saúde Bucal].
Monograph title: Fluoride Varnishes - Assistant in Prevention of Tooth Decay [Monograph in Portuguese - Vernizes Fluoretados - Auxiliar na Prevenção da Cárie Dentária].

Professional Associations

  • Society for Neuroscience 2012-Present
  • American Pain Society 2013-Present, 2007-2008
  • International Association for the Study of Pain 2012-Present
  • International and American Association for Dental Research 2009-Present
  • Organization for Human Brain Mapping 2009-2010
  • Brazilian Dental Association 2002-2005


Research Summary/Interests

My career goal is to identify brain mechanisms involved in the transition from acute to chronic Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) pain. This will support the development of improved prognostic markers and individualized treatment strategies, leading to reduction of health care costs and improvement of patients’ quality of life.

In order to achieve those goals, I use psychophysics and neuroimaging methods to measure somatosensory function and its related brain mechanisms in patients suffering from orofacial pain (OFP), with a focus on chronic TMD pain.

Orofacial pain conditions including temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and persistent dentoalveolar pain disorder (PDAP); Multimodal MRI-based neuroimaging; Psychophysics; Systems neuroscience.

Research Funding Grants

Principal Investigator 2018 - Present

Project: Brain Connectivity Patterns in Chronic Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

NIH Pathway to Independence Award (Parent K99/R00) 09/01/2020 – 08/31/2023

Grant Number: R00DE027414

Project Title: Brain Connectivity Patterns in Chronic Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Agency: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research