News and Events

Students Showcase Research at AADR Annual Meeting

Dr. Krystyna Konopka and research assistant Senait Gebremedhin.

April  13, 2010

Eleven representatives from the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry recently travelled to Washington, D.C., to participate in the leading scientific gathering for oral, craniofacial and dental research in the United States. The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) Annual Meeting, held March 3-5, brought together scientists and students from across the nation. Participating Dugoni School students included DDS Class of 2010 students Jennifer Fountain, Chris Galea, Kiri Herchold and Grace Lim; and DDS Class of 2011 student Shawn Kim.

Fountain, an AADR Student Research Fellowship recipient, presented studies supervised by Dr. Nejat Düzgüneş, chair of the Department of Microbiology, on the use of cell-penetrating peptides to enhance gene delivery to oral cancer cells as a means for gene therapy of oral cancer. Fellow students Galea and Herchold presented a poster on "Submandibular Salivary Flow and Vascular Reactivity in Type 2 Diabetic Rats," a study supervised by Physiological Sciences Chair Dr. Leigh Anderson, which also included the collaboration of Dr. Roshanak Rahimian from University of the Pacific's School of Pharmacy.

Kim presented his studies, supervised by Professor of Microbiology Dr. Krystyna Konopka, on immune responses of oral epithelial cells to the periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis. A poster on the enhancement of adenoviral vector-mediated gene delivery to oral cancer cells was presented by Lim, whose research was supervised by Düzgüneş.

Other presenters included Department of Microbiology Research Associate Senait Gebremedhin, whose project focused on the use of cationic polymers for gene delivery to oral cancer cells that are resistant to lipid-mediated transfection; and Research Associate Michael Yee, who investigated the production of interleukin-18 by macrophages in response to P. gingivalis. The latter is a joint project with Professor of Periodontics Dr. Tamer Alpagot. Konopka also presented her research on the susceptibility of Candida biofilms to histatin-5 and fluconazole.

Other participants at the meeting included Professor of Orthodontics Dr. Shelly Baumrind, who gave a presentation on the study "Glenoid Fossa Displaces Backward and Downward During Growth", and Dr. Bill Carpenter, chair of the Department of Pathology and Medicine.

"It is important for our students to participate in the AADR Annual Meeting not only to present their research, but to get feedback and to be exposed to the other research going on in this field." said Düzgüneş. "I am very pleased with the level of student interest in research at the Dugoni School of Dentistry and the dedication of the faculty who supervise the students."

Research opportunities present valuable learning experiences for students attending dental school. Research enhances the students' experience, furthers the mission of the Dugoni School of Dentistry, and builds assets for postgraduate programs. The research experience also encourages students to become dental educators. For example, Dr. Matt Milnes, a 2003 graduate who received an AADR Student Research Fellowship, is now an adjunct member of the Department of Microbiology and is supervising a student research project on gene therapy for HIV.

The American Association for Dental Research is a non-profit organization with more than 4,000 members in the United States. To learn more about AADR visit:

Category Type: Dental Issues and Research

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