News and Events

Annual Excellence Day Showcases Clinical Achievements, Research Projects

A student poses with her patient during Pacific Excellence Day.

May  25, 2010

Students and faculty proudly shared their achievements both in the dental clinic and the laboratory during the 10th Annual Clinical Excellence Day and the 12th Annual Pacific Research Day, held jointly on campus May 19. 

Clinical Excellence Day

In the day’s clinical portion, students presented case studies on topics such as removable prosthodontics, complex restorative procedures and aesthetic dentistry, including veneers and implants. Several patients donated their time to come in and display the work of their student dentists, who explained and demonstrated the cases.

“This is a great opportunity for our senior and second-year students to present the cases they’ve been working on throughout the year to our faculty and alumni,” commented Dr. Jessie Vallee, Department of Restorative Dentistry assistant professor and coordinator of Clinical Excellence Day. 

Teams of dental school faculty members reviewed and evaluated students' cases based on oral and physical presentation, case difficulty, preparation and treatment. Winning presentations will be announced during graduation weekend’s Alumni/Graduate Banquet on June 11.

Pacific Research Day

On the research side, students and faculty displayed presentations throughout the clinics on a variety of topics, including the use of lasers in dentistry; how HIV entry can be inhibited; gene therapy for oral cancer; and the genetic basis of cleft lip and palate.

“Research Day has greatly expanded since it started 12 years ago with just seven presentations,” said Dr. Nejat Düzgüneş, chair of the Department of Microbiology. “This is an opportunity for students and faculty to showcase their accomplishments after a year or more of dedicated work.”

In the second annual keynote lecture for the event, Stanford University professor and periodontist, Dr. Jill Helms, spoke to students and faculty about the future of dentistry and regenerative therapeutics. In the well-attended keynote address, Helms discussed tissue regeneration including that of bone and teeth.

In addition to presenting their research, students also competed for prizes, including Senior Research Competition awards and the ADA/Dentsply Award, which allows the student winner to attend the ADA Annual Session’s Student Clinician Research Program in Orlando.

Sponsors of Research Day were Western Dental Services, Procter & Gamble Oral Health, and Johnson & Johnson.

A committee of faculty members selected the winners of these awards:

Senior Research Competition

First Place Award

Chris Galea (with co-authors K. Herchold, B. DeLong, R. Sabino da Silva, R. Rahimian and L. Anderson), Submandibular Vascular and Secretory Responses in Type 2 Diabetic Rats

Second Place Award

Ali Tahbaz (with co-authors M. Tolar, A. Balghonaim, K. Liu, H. Berdichevsky, A. Tarifard, A. SethuMadhavan, J. Leach, M. Christie, M. Petrovska, V. Lee, N. Chandwani and Marie M. Tolarová), Study of Association of Nonsyndromic Cleft Lip and Palate in Philippines and Rfc1 Gene

Second-Year Student Research Competition

ADA/Dentsply Award

Joseph King (with co-authors S. Gebremedhin, K. Konopka, N. Düzgüneş and M. Milnes), “Gene Expression Mediated by Progressively Truncated HIV-LTR Promoters and HIV-Tat: How to Kill HIV-Infected Cells”

Hinman Symposium Award

Arash Abolfazlian and Allison Chin (with co-authors M. Tolar, K. Heetland, A. Balghonaim, K. Liu, J. Zhu, A. Tarifard, M. Christie, H. Berdichevsky, J. Leach, M. Petrovska, V. Lee and M. Tolarova), “Pax9 Gene Polymorphisms and Missing Teeth”

Hinman Symposium Award

Amanda Pinder and Vikram Tiku (with co-authors F. Hakim and J. Vallee), “Isolation, Evacuation, Illumination System: An Alternative to Rubber Dam?”

AADR Meeting Award

Diane Vo (with co-authors K. Polosukhina and S. Highsmith), “Garlic Extract Inhibits S. Mutans Binding to Hydroxyapatite”

AADR Meeting Award

Saoly Benson and Laurie McCullough (with co-authors M. Tolar, T. Mosby, P. Calda, H. Berdichevsky, Jamie Leach, A. Balghonaim, A. Tarifard, A. Sethu Madhavan, K. Liu, Mark Christie and M. Tolarova), “Cleft Lip And Palate And Rfc1 A80g Gene Polymorphisms”

Category Type: Honors and Awards, Dental Issues and Research, Special Events

Contact:  Office of Marketing and Communications, 415.929.6434,