Dental students win CDA honors
At the California Dental Association Student Research Competition in May, Rachel Lee (mentored by Dr. Reuben Kim and at left in the picture) of the Class of 2014 won second place in the DDS-Student Scientific Category while Jaclyn Pak (mentored by Dr. Shane White) of the Class of 2012 won third place in the DDS-Student Clinical Category. Rachel presented "Bisphosphonate Inhibits Expression of Cyclin A2 in Normal Human Oral Keratinocytes." Jaclyn’s poster was entitled “Endodontic Pain Decreases Following Treatment: A Systematic Review.”
Dean's Leadership Institute issues certificates
The 2011 session of the Dean’s Leadership Institute came to a close April 21, 2011 when the fourteen participants presented their personal leadership plans and received their certificates. The leadership class, all students in the school’s doctor of dental surgery program, gathered for 10 sessions this past winter and spring for special presentations on topics as diverse as professional ethics, improving patient satisfaction, strategic planning, entrepreneurship and wealth management.
Dr. No-Hee Park created the Dean’s Leadership Institute in 2004 to recognize the innate talent for leadership exhibited by so many in the student body and to encourage it in preparation for meeting the challenges of the profession—whether in private practice, organized dentistry, academic dentistry, dental science or the entrepreneurial realm. This year, Dr. Park and Dr. Ronald Mito were pleased to have worked closely with Ryan Abelowitz, Amir Chalak, Andrew Huynh, Seth Ichikawa, Shebli Mehrazarin, Audrey Navarro, Tim O'Brien, Tania Ohebsion, Dovi Prero, Marc Rasmussen, Matthew Ronconi, Ryan Redford, David White and Konita Wilks to promote their leadership ability.
Meet Lauren Harrell, a PhD student in biostatistics
A working environment that would enhance interdisciplinary scholarship and result in translational research that improves people’s lives across our communities, our state, and beyond—these were the goals of the architects of the Center for the Health Sciences. Nearly five decades after the building was completed, their original vision continues to be realized. An example is the close research collaboration between Dr. Vivek Shetty, a professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery in the UCLA School of Dentistry, and Dr. Thomas Belin, a professor of biostatistics in the adjacent UCLA School of Public Health. The influence of their long-standing, translational research program is characterized not just by their long track-record of NIH funding but also by its ability to attract exceptionally qualified graduate students.
One such student is Lauren Harrell, one of Professor Belin’s PhD students, who has chosen Professor Shetty’s research for her doctoral dissertation. Using advanced biostatistical approaches, Lauren is developing innovative statistical methodology that will greatly facilitate health research involving the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society. Her research mission is twofold – to develop ways to allow “front-line” dentists to recognize early substance abuse through patterns of dental disease, and to identify salivary stress biomarkers that would allow early recognition and management of psychiatric sequelae of traumatic injury such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
So what attracted Lauren to Dr. Shetty’s research projects in particular? His translational research takes knowledge generated from scientific inquiry and transforms that knowledge into human-centered practices and solutions. “I had originally thought about becoming a physician, but came to recognize, that as a physician, I can influence health only one patient at a time,” Lauren explained. “I am interested in the health issues that affect vulnerable populations in general, and their oral health needs in particular. I realized that as a biostatistician, I can have a broader impact on many more lives and influence public policy.”
Already, Lauren’s research career is blossoming. In April, she was selected to receive the UCLA School of Public Health’s Abdelmonem A. Afifi Fellowship. Named for a former dean of the School of Public Health, the Afifi Fellowship is awarded to those students who have demonstrated scholastic excellence as well as a well-balanced and humanitarian understanding of the field of public health. Lauren is also the recipient of the prestigious Ursula Mandel Fellowship awarded by the UCLA Graduate Division for academic achievement in fields allied to medicine. She also recently received an Honorable Mention in the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program competition. In addition, she has been inducted into Delta Omega, the UCLA chapter of the Public Health Honors Society.
“Lauren is a mature, inquisitive and accomplished student who has elected to pursue a career in academic biostatistics not just for its intrinsic value but also its potential to make a broad-based positive impact on others” said Dr. Vivek Shetty. “She has a brilliant career ahead of her and I am proud to be part of her journey. I am pleased that she finds resonance in research themes central to the dental school and that she will be applying her considerable talents to addressing the disproportionate burden of oral disease in vulnerable populations.”
Stephanie Cappiello to serve as ADA Delegate
Stephanie Cappiello of the DDS Class of 2013 has been appointed as an ADA Delegate for District 11 which is comprised of all six California dental schools. She will represent District 11 and ASDA at the ADA House of Delegates meeting in October 2011 in Las Vegas, NV.
College student newspaper shows interest in high school scientists
On July 11, 2011, UCLA's student newspaper, The Daily Bruin, profiled the high school students who are currently conducting research in the dental school's laboratories. This marks the fourth consecutive summer that the dental school has hosted Los Angeles-area African-American and Latino teenagers who are considering careers in science, dentistry and medicine.
In 2007, UCLA's was the only dental school to win a Biomedical Research Institutions Initiative grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for an innovative program designed to address the lack of diversity in dental science. The funding enables the dental school to implement a two-year pre-college science education program to introduce gifted high school juniors and seniors from disadvantaged backgrounds to careers in oral health and scientific research.
A record nine faculty researchers--Drs. Ichiro Nishimura, Mo Kang, Takahiro Ogawa, Anahid Jewett, Susan Kinder Haake, Ki-Hyuk Shin, Shen Hu, Igor Spigelman and Cun--Yu Wang--offered to mentor 17 students this year. To date, all program graduates have gained admission to college; seven have chosen to attend UCLA. Several of the current summer students and Dr. Marvin Marcus, principal investigator on the grant that funds the unique initiative, are quoted in The Daily Bruin story.
To read the article online, click here.