Dear students, faculty, alumni, staff, and friends,
School publications such as this newsletter and our most recent annual report give me the opportunity to reflect proudly upon the school's many accomplishments across its mission-critical areas of education, research and service. As we end the quarter and prepare for the holidays, I hope you take time to reflect upon the ways in which you have contributed to the school's success. We reached many high points during FY 07-08, conducting more than 160,000 patient visits and breaking the "top five" of educational institutions supported by the National Institutes of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Of course, there are more goals to reach and obstacles to overcome in the year ahead, and I encourage you to think about the crucial part you will play. It is clear to me that while we are in the midst of a challenging time for the country, the state and the University of California, we nevertheless have many strengths upon which to draw and much to celebrate. Please join me in doing so.
Dean No-Hee Park, DMD, PhD
School Host Inaugural Research Day
On October 22, 2008 dental and medical school faculty, members of the Jonsson Cancer Center, staff and students gathered for the UCLA School of Dentistry's inaugural research day, the theme of which was "Basic and Translational Research in Oral/Head and Neck Cancer." Dr. Waun Ki Hong of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, a leading authority on head, neck and lung cancers and one of the founders of cancer chemoprevention, delivered a well-received keynote address.
Another highlight of the event program was the faculty symposium moderated by Dr. Anahid Jewett. Drs. David Wong, Cun-Yu Wang, Ren Sun and Mo Kang presented their research, demonstrating the many ways in which UCLA is leading the field of 21st Century dental medicine by advancing the science of salivary diagnostics, fighting oral cancer and the herpes virus, and finding new ways to control the side effects of oral cancer treatment.
A poster competition for dental students and residents brought the day to its successful conclusion with 29 entrants presenting their research. In the predoctoral category, Aasia Rehman (mentor: Dr. Cun-Yu Wang) took first place; Shaoying Lee (mentors: Drs. Hongyu Deng & Ren Sun) took second place, and Anna Kreymer (mentor: Dr. Susan Haake) took third place honors. In the postdoctoral category, Eric Tang (mentor: Dr. Cun-Yu Wang) placed first; Akishige Hokugo (mentor: Dr. Ichiro Nishimura) placed second, and third place went to Cristiane Mengatto (mentor: Dr. Ichiro Nishimura). Congratulations to all the winners!
David Wong to Hold Felix & Mildred Yip Endowed Professorship in Dentistry
Pioneer of saliva test for oral cancer named to dental school's fifth endowed chair
Dr. David Wong, a pioneer in the burgeoning field of salivary diagnostics--the science of using saliva rather than blood or other bodily fluids to diagnose disease--will hold the Felix and Mildred Yip Endowed Professorship in Dentistry effective January 1, 2009.
“I am immensely honored and grateful to Dr. and Mrs. Yip and to the UCLA School of Dentistry,” said Dr. Wong, associate dean of research and director of the Dental Research Institute. “This chair will allow me and my research team to continue to spearhead salivary diagnostics to transform clinical practice in the years ahead.”
The new endowed professorship was established through the generosity of Dr. Felix and Mrs. Mildred Yip, noted philanthropists within the Asian American community in Southern California who have been generous supporters of UCLA and the School of Dentistry.
Implant Innovation Attracts Investors
Dr. Tak Ogawa is finding ways to make dental implants faster, stronger and more accessible
Did you know that 42 percent of Americans age 65 and older are totally edentulous (they have no teeth)? Or that Americans lose an average of 12 teeth by the age of 50? These are the prospective patients Dr. Tak Ogawa had in mind when he set out to improve dental implants, a therapeutic alternative that until now has been beyond the practical and financial reach of many people who could benefit from it. Fortunately, dental implants may be more accessible in the future, not to mention stronger, faster and more "doctor-friendly," thanks to Dr. Ogawa's research. In fact, his techniques (which can be implemented singly or synergistically) may make 100 percent bone-to-implant connection a reality for the very first time (see photo above for what Dr. Ogawa has trademarked as "superosseointegration").
Dr. Ogawa has hit upon two distinct ways to improve implant therapy which have attracted the notice of a commercial enterprise with plans to make at least one of the new technologies clinically available in early 2010. Dr. Ogawa has found that UV light can be used to treat the titanium surface of implants, rendering them more "bioactive"--more likely to attract proteins and bone-making cells and thereby improve implant retention at a faster pace, speeding patient recovery.
He also has created a patented chemical reaction to deposit evaporated titanium on implant surfaces which gives rise to nano-sized hemispherical structures (see b&w photo at left) that increase surface area and bonding potential. Both innovations promise to accelerate the implant treatment cycle and, according to Dr. Ogawa, could increase the number of implant surgeries performed in this county from the current one billion annually to two billion per year within the next five years. And, as Dr. Ogawa points out, more surgeries performed will lead to greater economies of scale, lowering the cost of treatment. The innovations also hold promise for other applications of orthopedic implants and tissue engineering for wound healing.
Read the latest issue of UCLA Invents to learn more about Dr. Ogawa's innovations and other UCLA research efforts attracting the attention of the investment community.
New Faculty Grants
Tara Aghaloo has won a $52,000 grant from Medtronic to study the effects of Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 (BMP-2) and Platelet-Derived Growth Factor (PDGF) on ectopic bone formation in rats.
James Crall has won more than $66,000 in funding to partner with the USC School of Dentistry in planning an "Oral Health Baseline Needs Assessment Project" focusing on children in Los Angeles County. The project is funded by the California Endowment, FIRST 5 LA, the California Wellness Foundation and the Annenberg Foundation.
The NIH/NIDCR has awarded Diana Messadi an R25 Oral Health Research Education Grant of more than $647,000 for her work recruiting, mentoring, and empowering the next generation of academic dentists.
Francisco Ramos-Gomez, who joined the faculty in March 2008, has transferred to UCLA more than $600,000 in funding in the form of two NIH/NIDCR awards: an R01 component of a U54 grant for the "Center to Address Disparities in Children's Oral Health" and an R21 Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant for the "San Francisco Maternal and Child Oral Health 'PRIME' Project."
Cun-Yu Wang has won a $1.5 Million NIH/NIDCR R01 grant for his research investigating how immune cytokines promote oral bone loss through IkB kinase.
The NIH/NCI has awarded $1.7 Million in R01 funding to David Wong for the study of the molecular determinants of oral tongue cancer metastasis. Wong also received $75,000 from the IADR and Glaxo SmithKline for "SPITDX: A Universal Platform for Salivary Biomarker Detection." In addition, the NIH/NIDCR renewed the school's T32 training grant for an additional four-year period. The grant, in the amount of $2.7 Million, funds the "UCLA Dentist-Scientist & Oral Health Scientist Training Program." Wong serves as director of the program.
New DDS Curriculum Launches
BY DR. KAREN LEFEVER
A member of the Class of 2012 can. . .
- Describe the bio-psycho-social issues confronting the parents of a newborn with cleft palate.
- Expound upon ethical dilemmas, the history and future of dentistry, and ways to cope with stress.
- Indicate the 12 cranial nerves and the foramina through which they exit the skull.
- Create a wax-up of the oblique ridge on a maxillary molar.
- Speak knowledgably about membrane structures, action potentials, cell injury, T-cells and B-cells, neoplasia and tumor morphology.
The first quarter of our new curriculum has concluded, and it certainly has been a busy and intellectually stimulating one for our 88 new first-year students. Four of the new tracks integrating the basic and clinical sciences are showcased in the dental school's first-year fall curriculum: Growth, Development and Aging; Foundations of Oral & Systemic Disease; Professionalism and Doctoring; and Restoration of Form, Function and Esthetics. The tracks include opportunities for self-assessment, observation and reflection, and case study.
Dr. Edmond Hewlett, director of knowledge management, and I have been conducting periodic focus groups with randomly selected members of the Class of 2012 to gather their viewpoints regarding the opportunities and challenges posed by the new, integrative program. We are gratified to report that students are excited about being the pioneers in our academic reform process. They are certainly to be commended for tackling the challenges of the new curriculum with energy and enthusiasm.
Student News & Events
The Class of 2010 hosted a beach clean-up day (and served tacos to all volunteers) at Dockweiler Beach on July 26, 2008.
For the second year in a row, UCLA dental students won the Crest/Oral-B ASDA Community Dentistry Awards. They learned the news at the ASDA national meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona in late August 2008. ASDA Community Service Chair Nancy Chen '10 wrote the group's award-winning essay. In other great news, students also won "Ideal ASDA Chapter" awards for their publication of an outstanding newsletter, The Diastema News, and for their implementation of automatic chapter enrollment. Finally, congratulations are also due to Eddie Surger '09 who won the District 11 (it includes all five CA dental schools) Delegate of the Year Award.
On October 18, 2008, Latinos for Dental Careers awarded $1,000 scholarships to Jeffrey Garcia (UCLA undergraduate), Veronica Gonzalez '10, Oscar Gutierrez '11, Valerie Majano '10, and Monica Pardo '11.
The students hosted a successful ASDA Exhibitors' Fair on November 5, 2008. They attracted an estimated 300 visitors, and thanks to donations from 43 vendors they were able to distribute more than $2,000 in prizes to students.
In early November, UCLA students traveled to the Hispanic Dental Association's annual meeting in Arizona for a contest with 27 other dental schools. They brought home first-place honors-- an "Orgullo Award"--in recognition of their involvement with and devotion to the lower income community in Greater Los Angeles.
On Saturday, November 15, 70 students as well as faculty and staff gathered in the UCLA Dental Center for our quarterly Clinic Pride Day (which, this time around, also included a clean-up effort in the recently refurbished Jim and Peggy Schaefer Student Lounge). The ASB Cabinet organized the event, which attracted a record number (27) first-year students.
Once again this year, UCLA dental students made a huge contribution to the health fair at the Santa Monica Civic Center Thanksgiving dinner. Under the leadership of ASDA Community Service Chair Vincent Van ’10, 32 students came to the aid of 300 traditionally underserved and very appreciative people by providing oral hygiene instruction and products and making referrals for free and low-cost dental services. Faculty support was provided by Drs. Mo Kang, Reuben Kim, Karen Lefever, Michelle Rappeport, and Carol Bibb, with help from Dr. Charles Avila, a Class of 1998 alumnus. Everyone who participated agreed that this event is a great way to celebrate the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Tis the Season...for Holiday Parties and Staff Recognition
On December 5, 2008 the dental school family gathered in the clinic lobby for breakfast, student and staff raffles, and important end-of-year announcements. Hearty congratulations are due to Rochelle Bache, the dental school's "2008 Supervisor of the Year," and Bradley Chin, "Outstanding Staff Member of 2008."
The annual holiday get-together also served as an opportune occasion to recognize longstanding UCLA employees for their years of service. Four employees--Estella Luzanilla, Joseph Martinez, Harvey Nakashima, and Moira Stovall--were recognized for 20 years of service. Three staff members--Victoria Sandoval, Becky Lopez-Piraino, and Sandie Ferrer--have served UCLA for a quarter of a century. Maria Correa has given 30 years of employee service to UCLA. And the ultimate thank you goes to Susan Gerski who has spent four decades at UCLA.
Students and staff wish to thank the Dental-EZ Group for generously providing the dental equipment, personal electronics and other terrific raffle prizes.
Hearts with Hope Provides Oral Health Care to Peruvian Children
Dr. Eric Sung journeyed to Peru along with two UCLA dental students, a resident and a staff member for an unforgettable experience--for them and for the kids they treated
Dr. Eric Sung first traveled to Peru in 2007 at the request of his friend and Hearts with Hope founder the UCLA pediatric cardiologist Dr. Juan Alejos. Moved by his experiences, Dr. Sung shared them others at the School of Dentistry, then found himself joined by Ariella Pessah '10, Magnolia Becker '09, resident Dr. Andrea Henderson and staff member Jenny Ramos on his return visit to the country in September 2008. Although initially conceived to focus on aiding Peruvian children with heart problems, Hearts With Hope today incorporates a significant oral health component to address the dental needs of both pediatric cardiology patients and otherwise healthy children in the underserved South American nation.
During their two weeks in the country, the volunteers were met with pressing oral health challenges at every site from Cuzco to Arequipa. They saw hundreds of children in orphanages, schools and makeshift clinics. They performed extractions, applied fluoride sealant, gave oral health instruction, and donated clothes and toys to the kids, many of whom, even those as old as 8, had never seen a dentist. "They just don't have what we have here," explained Jenny Ramos. Added Ariella Pessah, "I was impressed by the bravery of the children of Peru. They were so thankful to receive dental care and so cooperative during intense dental procedures."