Research and Clinical Excellence Day Spotlights Achievement

Distinguished scholarship and skill in practice were spotlighted at the annual Research and Clinical Excellence Day, Oct. 11 in Cole Hall and Millberry Union gymnasium.

Fifty-six abstracts were submitted for this year’s event: 37 in the predoctoral category, 11 graduate, six postdoctoral/research specialist/visiting scholar, and two research associates.

In this and alternating years, the focus is on clinical excellence, culminating in the Outstanding Clinician Award. This year’s honoree is Joel White, DDS, MS, professor in Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences and holder of the Raymond L. and Mary V. Bertolotti Endowed Chair in Restorative Dentistry. His presentation, “Clinical Excellence: Today and Tomorrow,” focused on best practices and patient expectations in a rapidly changing field.

Recognition came in a double dose for Dr. White: The John C. Greene Society also named him its Mentor of the Year.

Clinical excellence also was the focus of a featured presentation by faculty member Sophia Saeed, DMD: “Using science to inform practice: my approach to patient-centered care.”

“This year’s RCED was special to me,” said Thomas Lang, PhD, associate dean for research. The event’s “warmth and positive energy were reflected in and enhanced by our outstanding speakers, including our keynote speaker, Dr. Sophia Saeed’s valedictory on science and clinical practice, and our Outstanding Clinician Award to Dr. White.”

This year’s keynote speaker was Isabelle Lombaert, PhD, of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry Biointerfaces Institute. Her address focused on “Defining common molecular mechanisms during exocrine gland development.”

As always, the showcase offered rich opportunities for both learning and sharing.

“Research and Clinical Excellence day provided me with an amazing opportunity to be inspired by exciting discoveries, and to share my work with both clinical and research communities,” said Rebecca Kim, John C. Greene Society president and DDS/PhD trainee.

Three students were sponsored this year by a Delta Dental Community Care Foundation grant: William Lee, Junjie Lin and Niloufar Mohajerani. Delta Dental was represented by Karen Robinson, vice president, corporate affairs; and Dr. John Yamamoto, vice president, professional services.

Presentation Winners

First Place Research Associate Category (Tie)
Margot Bacino (mentor: Stefan Habelitz, PhD) and Barry Chan (Yan Zhang, MD, PhD)

Postdoctoral/Research Specialist/Visiting Scholar
Third Place: Minjing Wu, PhD (Ling Zhan, DDS, PhD)
Second Place: Pachiyappan Kamarajan, PhD (Yvonne Kapila, DDS, PhD)
First Place: Jeffrey Van Haren, PhD (Torsten Wittmann, PhD)

Graduate Category
Third Place (tie): Ivy Zellmer, RDH, MS (Elizabeth Couch, RDH, MS) and Christian Santa Maria (Wenhan Chang, PhD)
Second Place: Abby Kindberg (Jeffrey Bush, PhD)
First Place: An Nguyen (Rich Schneider, PhD)

Predoctoral Category
Third Place: Rebecca Lerman and Karissa Yamamoto (Sophia Saeed, DMD, and George Taylor, DMD, MPH, DrPH)
Second Place: Kate Tran (Daniel Bikle, MD, PhD, and Sunita Ho, MS, PhD)
First Place and Ernest Newbrun Award for Research Excellence: Merissa Ferrar (Marshall Stoller, MD, and Sunita Ho, MS, PhD)


The Research and Clinical Excellence Day Committee thanks the following for their generous financial support of the Summer Research Fellowship Program:

Delta Dental
School of Dentistry Dean’s Office
Department of Orofacial Sciences
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences
Department of Cell and Tissue Biology
Buchanan Dental Clinic
Program in Global Oral Health
Program in Craniofacial Biology
AADR Summer Fellowship Program
Associate Dean for Research Student Research Fund
Drs. Deborah and John Greenspan
Dr. Peter Sargent and Dr. Caroline Damsky
The Lee Hysan Fund

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