Man who jumped from Center City parking garage was head of Penn periodontics

A man who jumped to his death Monday from a Center City parking garage was identified Wednesday as a Harvard-educated professor in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine.

Dr. Ricardo Teles, 50, had just become chairman of the school’s Department of Periodontics on Aug. 15.

Ron Ozio, director of media relations for the university, confirmed Wednesday that Teles was the man who took his own life Monday.

Police on Monday said a man jumped about 9:50 a.m. from a parking garage onto the 1400 block of Race Street, and several people said they witnessed it. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

James Garrow, a spokesman for the city’s Medical Examiner’s Office, said Tuesday that Teles’ death was ruled a suicide.

Camera icon Penn Dental
Ricardo Teles

Before joining Penn Dental, Teles, a native of Brazil, taught at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry starting in August 2014 and became vice chairman of its Department of Periodontology in 2015, according to an Aug. 15 news release by Penn Dental announcing his appointment.

He was board certified in periodontology, the branch of dentistry that deals with diseases of the supporting structures of the teeth, and in dental-implant surgery.

From 2003 to June 2014, he worked as a clinical instructor in periodontics at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, from which he received a doctorate in oral biology and a certificate in periodontology, the Harvard school said.

During that period, he was also a faculty member at the Cambridge, Mass.-based Forsyth Institute, an independent research group specializing in oral health, and he remained affiliated as a senior research investigator. The institute said in a statement Wednesday that it “extends its deepest sympathy to his family and the many close colleagues that he leaves behind.”

Teles’ wife, Flavia, is an associate professor in Penn Dental’s Department of Microbiology, having also joined the school in August.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.