Message from the Dean
Dear students, faculty, alumni, staff, and friends,
This summer will be remembered for joyous celebrations, including our 41st graduation ceremony, as well as incredible achievements, such as the realization that the School booked its largest amount of total research funding to date during fiscal year 2007-2008.
However, this is also the summer that the world of academic dentistry lost one of its most earnest champions: Dr. Paul Goldhaber. I am so happy that Dr. Goldhaber was able to travel to UCLA in June to give our graduates the benefit of his experience as they start the next chapter of their lives. In honor of his wonderful example, please take pride in the activities published in this newsletter, both personal and professional, and enjoy this summer to the fullest.
Dean No-Hee Park, D.M.D, Ph.D.
Endowed Endodontics Chair Filled
At the beginning of Dr. Mo Kang's career he received the Endodontic Educator Fellowship award from the American Association of Endodontics Foundation which implemented that grant program in response to the critical shortage of endodontic educators. Six years later, Dr. Kang is the first dental school professor to be named to the Dr. Jack A. Weichman Chair in Endodontics which was created by generous donors Dr. Jack and Geraldine Weichman to likewise support the teaching and research activities of an academic endodontist.
A former dental school faculty member, Dr. Weichman, together with his wife, also created the Weichman Endodontic Clinic. A pioneering endodontist who switched careers to serve as an arbitrator/mediator in Los Angeles-area courts (where he is still active today), Dr. Weichman has been a member of the School's Board of Counselors since 2001. Read the full story at UCLA Today Online to learn more about the Weichmans' philanthropy and Dentistry's newest endowed chairholder.
A Banner Year for Research
Nearly $15 Million in funding booked in 07-08, and one investigator makes nationwide list of researchers with 8 or more NIH grants
The UCLA School of Dentistry's research enterprise has just closed the most successful period in School history as measured by the total amount of contract and grant funding received from all sources during a fiscal year. More details regarding "the year in research," including an analysis of grants by funding source and institution, will be published this fall in the 2007-2008 annual report.
In other research news, the journal Nature (Volume 452, March 2008) reported that 22 individuals are supported by eight or more NIH grants, and that Cun-Yu Wang, D.D.S., Ph.D., professor and chair of oral biology and medicine at the UCLA School of Dentistry, belongs to this extremely well funded group. Dr. Wang is the only UCLA faculty member, one of only three scientists in the University of California system, and the only dental school researcher nationwide to be included on this list.
New Grants at Close of FY 07-08
Mo Kang has been awarded a 5-year K02 award from the NIH/NIDCR in the amount of $486,000 to study phenotypic and genetic effects of antiretroviral therapy on human oral epithelium.
Renate Lux also has received funding from the NIH/NIDCR. Her award is a two-year R03 grant totaling $144,000 which will support her research on the biofilm architecture of subgingival plaque.
Neal Garrett has received a one-year, $30,000 grant from the Albert & Elaine Borchard Foundation and the International Conference on Oral and Facial Rehabilitation.
Lab Goes Green
Can a dental school laboratory serve as the eco-conscious role model for an entire institution? Dr. Nishimura and the Weintraub Center for Reconstructive Biotechnology aim to find out
"About a year ago, Professor Ichiro Nishimura and his colleagues had a crisis of conscience. At the Weintraub Center for Reconstructive Biotechnology, where they do groundbreaking work to rebuild the faces of people maimed by illness, injury or birth defects, the researchers were used to thinking of their mission as noble and beneficial. But they weren't as happy about their role in the environment, Nishimura said." Continue this story. . .
Students Provide Valuable Community Service
Community service to the people of California, the nation and the world is an integral part of the mission of the UCLA School of Dentistry–one that faculty, staff and students work diligently to fulfill throughout the year.
Participation in community service provides dental students with opportunities to try on their new roles as oral health educators and practitioners, make a difference in the lives of others, and have fun!
In fact, many of our students enjoy community service so much they go way above and beyond the call of duty: an impressive 82% of the Class of 2008 exceeded the required units of service credit. Of course, fourth-year students are not the only ones who are active. Dental students of all years are joined by residents and even UCLA pre-dental students in service activities from Inglewood to Tijuana.
On May 3, third-year dental students Kristen Lowe and Steve Ruso, instructors in the Basic Dental Principles course for pre-dental students, spent a Saturday afternoon at the Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Mall where, under faculty supervision, the students proved oral hygiene instruction to parents and kids of all ages. This was just one of more than six community health fairs in which the School of Dentistry participated in the last quarter of academic year 2007-08.
Class of 2008 Celebrates Commencement
Dr. Paul Goldhaber, dean emeritus of Harvard University School of Dental Medicine, gave an inspirational keynote speech at the 2008 commencement ceremony held June 1 in Royce Hall. Many longtime faculty described his last public address as the most moving keynote of any UCLA dental school graduation exercise they had attended.
The School graduated 98 new dentists in June! Thirty seven of these talented new professionals plan to enter a specialty program, another 22 will pursue advanced training in general dentistry, one will continue in the Ph.D. in oral biology graduate program, and the remainder plan to enter private practice.
In addition, the School of Dentistry awarded 44 residency certificates and 14 advanced degrees in oral biology–2 Ph.D.s and 12 M.S. degrees were conferred this year. We wish all our graduates the best.
More Spring Celebrations
Commencement 2008 was the capstone event of a spring full of celebrations for the fourth-year dental students.
On May 22, 2008, twelve members of the Class of 2008 were honored with alumni membership in the Omicron Kappa Upsilon dental honor society. Congratulations are due to Kevin Andrus, Austin Tung, Daniel Nelson, Nga Natalie Nguyen, Paul Field, Shelby Padua Lapiad, Jacob Cragun, Cristen Dismuke, Jared Martin, Raquel Ulma, Bryan Houlberg, Morris Poole, and Sean Michael Young. In addition, third-year dental student Kevin Andrus received the prestigious Kramer Award.
May 30, 2008 marked the awards ceremony and senior banquet in honor of the Class of 2008 which was was held at the beautiful Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades.
Dental Students Step into Politics
On March 10 and 11, 2008, seven UCLA dental students attended the American Student Dental Association's annual Lobby Day in Washington D.C. Andrew Read-Fuller, Susan Um, Gil Ivry, Melissa Bailey, Tal Masserman, Will Trevor, and Eddie Surger lobbied for dental issues regarding access to care, the rising costs of dental education, and methamphetamine use among teens. On Capitol Hill, they met with representatives Diane Watson and Elijah Cummings and with the aides of representatives Henry Waxman and Maxine Waters, providing them with a firsthand opportunity to see the legislative process in action.