Spring 2018

Wide World of Dentistry

Student research runs the gamut at the longstanding poster session.

By Helene Ragovin

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Marsha Robinson, D20, with her poster presentation at Bates-Andrews Day on March 7. Photo: Anna Miller

Joyce Ganas, D20, with Michael Thompson, assistant dean of academic affairs. Photo: Anna Miller

Assistant Professor Colette Catalino and Zamone Sawyer. Photo: Anna Miller

Anne-Marie Vu, D19, and Professor Ronald Kulich. Photo: Anna Miller

If you stopped to talk with any of the scores of students who packed the fourteenth and fifteenth floors of the School of Dental Medicine during Bates-Andrews Day, the school’s annual research fair, you could have learned about topics as diverse as HPV vaccines, sleep apnea appliances, drugs to treat dry mouth, and elderly patients who suffer from depression.  “We’re not just fixing teeth, but preserving overall health,” said Trish Dang, D20.

Dang and  Sang Joon Lee, D19, examined vaccination rates for human papillomavirus (HPV) among young Hispanics. HPV infection is related to the development of a type of oral cancer, and raising awareness of the vaccine is something dentists should be thinking about, Dang said. Public health projects like theirs joined clinical studies, dental materials research, basic science, and educational research.

Most of the participating students had received research fellowships that allowed them to work with faculty mentors on their chosen subjects; many of them went on to present their work at the American Association for Dental Research and American Dental Education Association annual sessions.  “It’s a nice opportunity to practice presenting their posters before they do it in front of a national audience,” said Eileen Doherty, director of predoctoral student research.

Named for two early dental school alumni and professors, George Bates, D1889, and Robert Andrews, D1875, Bates-Andrews Day has roots stretching back to 1935. Even as recently as twenty years ago, when Doherty came to the dental school, Bates Day was a fairly modest affair that filled a couple of small seventh-floor classrooms. This year, it occupied most of the spaces on the school’s uppermost floors, with ninety-five students presenting seventy-eight posters, and fifty faculty judges.

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