Research Day Showcases Scientific Talent
Student and faculty investigators presented more than 100 research projects during the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC Research Day event held Feb. 10 at the Galen Center.
The studies, conducted by students and faculty of the Ostrow School of Dentistry as well as the divisions of biokinesiology & physical therapy and occupational science & occupational therapy, covered an array of subjects.
From craniofacial development and oral disease to public health, biomechanics and lifestyle redesign, the Ostrow School of Dentistry is an unparalleled leader in diverse research fields, said Yang Chai, associate dean of research at the school.
“Given the breadth and depth of research topics carried out by our faculty, there are tremendous opportunities for our students to be involved in the research project of their choice,” Chai said. “This research experience provides our students a competitive advantage in their professional futures.”
The event’s keynote speakers were Mary MacDougall, holder of the James R. Rosen Chair of Dental Research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Jack Turman, director of the USC Center for Premature Infant Health and Development.
MacDougall shared her team’s investigations into the genetics of tooth abnormalities as well as her efforts to encourage dental students to get involved in academia. Turman told the story of how he gathered the talented team for the Center for Premature Infant Health and Development.
Randolph Hall, vice provost for research advancement, delivered welcoming remarks at the event, highlighting the Ostrow School of Dentistry’s unique approach to celebrating research. He also praised the school’s success in the growth of its funded research, noting that it has had the highest percentage increase in research funds compared to other USC schools due to several American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants it has been awarded in recent months.
With the approval of 19 of its 55 proposals, the school also has enjoyed the second-highest American Recovery and Reinvestment Act award success rate among all USC schools.
Students presenting their studies at Research Day shared thoughts on how conducting research has impacted their education and perspectives.
“It gives me a better idea of how newer treatment approaches work and how to better address needs in an ever-changing environment,” said dental hygiene senior Darlene Griffin. She and three of her classmates studied the relationships between certain viruses and periodontal disease.
Jill Campbell-Stewart, a Ph.D. candidate in biokinesiology and physical therapy, said that she kept her history of clinical practice in mind as she conducted research on the recovery of movement in stroke victims.
“As a clinician, conducting research allows you to better understand what exactly your patients need,” she said.
The Ostrow School of Dentistry is a world-renowned research powerhouse, and it has long been and will continue to be an influential force in the future of health and health care delivery, said dean Avishai Sadan.
“Our research activity not only brings tremendous pride to all of us here at USC, but also has immeasurable value for humanity,” he said. “Along with producing many of the best clinicians in the world, our student and faculty investigators continually discover and apply the knowledge that greatly advances how patients are treated.”
Research Day Winners
USC Stevens Institute for Innovation Award
Advanced Specialty Resident
1st: George Abichaker
2nd: Suanhow Howard Foo
Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy (Exercise Science and Musculoskeletal Biomechanics)
1st: Kristen Stearns
2nd: Liang-Ching Tsai
Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy (Neural Control and Motor Behavior)
1st: Poster 30
2nd: Poster 28
Graduate Postdoctoral Trainee
1st: Megan Chang
2nd: Jennifer Downey
Graduate Predoctoral Candidate
1st: Chider Chen
2nd: Marcelo Freire
Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
1st: Leah Stein
2nd: Sook-Lei Liew
Undergraduate DDS student (Basic Science)
1st: Khine Htet
2nd: Yi-An Chiang
Undergraduate DDS student (Clinical Science)
(The winner of this award also receives the ADA/Dentsply Student Clinician Research Program travel grant.)
1st: Sandeep Potdar
2nd: Lawrence Fung