Student Awards

Posted on: Wednesday, 10/21/2015

UCLA ASDA Shines Bright

The UCLA ASDA Chapter received two prestigious awards at the 2015 ASDA Gold Crown Awards, one for Ideal ASDA Chapter and the other for Best Newsletter. The chapter also earned awards for Outstanding Website Design & Usability and first place in the Predental Recruitment Incentive.  

In addition, Jeremy Chau received the National Delegate of the Year Award. This award is selected by the executive committee from chapter leaders at all 65 ASDA chapters, and is presented to the individual that demonstrates personal dedication and outstanding achievement on behalf of ASDA and its local chapter members.

Congratulations to the UCLA ASDA Chapter on such an impressive showing at the Annual Session. Your accomplishments and recognition are well deserved. Photo credit: Caught in the Moment Photography.

First Ever Dental Student Becomes a Tillman Scholar

Tigon Abalos, Class of 2016, was awarded a highly coveted Pat Tillman Scholarship. Annually, the Pat Tillman Foundation awards 60 military veterans and their spouses academic scholarships. She is the first ever dental student to become a Tillman Scholar in the foundation’s history.

In addition to completing graduation requirements, Tigon has carved out time in her busy schedule to help veterans' access dental care through a program she co-founded, Operation Bruin Smiles, which subsidizes dental care for veterans and foster youths. As a veteran herself, she has made this program a priority and, after graduation she plans to apply to VA hospital residency programs, and hopes to secure a position as a dentist in the VA hospital system while continuing her service in the Reserves.


T90 Research Trainee Awarded for Building Bridges

Jason Clague, a T90 pre-doctoral trainee, received a Travel Award from the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research. The travel award, named the NIDCR "building bridges" Association for Psychological Science Convention Travel Award, is intended to connect two research communities, psychology and oral health, which do not traditionally interact.  

Jason presented a poster investigating the relationship between frequency of dental visits and the dental self-image of the methamphetamine-using patients. If such a relationship could be established, it would enable dentists to use concerns about the patient's dental appearance as triggers for brief motivational interventions and referral to specialty drug treatment.

2015 DDS Graduate Receives One of Five Delta Dental Awards

Recent DDS graduate, David Lindsey ’15, received one of five F. Gene Dixon Student Leadership Awards from Delta Dental of California. Each award comes with a grant totaling $12,500 and is meant to recognize graduating dental students who demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities.

Delta Dental established the awards in 1977 in honor of Dr. F. Gene Dixon, the first chief executive officer of Delta Dental of California, which is now part of the largest dental benefits delivery system in the country. 


Improving Oral Health in Veterans

Brian Lehigh

Brian Lehigh, Class of 2016, received funding from the Chancellor’s Office/Healthy Campus Initiative (HCI) for Operation Bruin Smiles, a program he co-founded through the UCLA American Student Dental Association Veterans Services Committee. Operation Bruin Smiles was established to help improve veterans’ access to oral healthcare and oral hygiene instruction. The funding was used for Disposable screening kits and for the costs of printing a poster presentation at the HCI Symposium.

 In addition to the funding Brian received for his program, he was also a 2015 recipient of a $5,000 Dental Trade Alliance Foundation Scholarship award.

Energizing the Dental Public Health Pipeline

Eugen Kim

Eugen Kim, Class of 2016, placed first for the Predoctoral Dental Student Merit Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Dentistry at the American Association of Public Health Dentistry Special Merit and Student Awards Presentation at the 2015 National Oral Health Conference. She presented her poster, titled: “Energizing the Dental Public Health Pipeline at the Grassroots Level,” at the conference’s General Poster Session. A special thank you to Drs. Kathryn Atchison and Diana Messadi for their guidance and assistance with the application process.



First-year Dental Student Receives Mortar Board Fellowship

First-year Dental Student Receives Mortar Board FellowshipDaniel Citron, a first-year dental student, received a fellowship from the Mortar Board National Foundation. He was one of eight other Mortar Board members to receive a fellowship, which is meant to assist members in financing their graduate studies. He is a 2014 summa cum laude graduate of San Diego State University and served as a member of the award-winning Jane K. Smith Cap & Gown chapter of Mortar Board.

Since 1942, $750,000 has been granted to help Mortar Board members pursue their advanced degrees. Annually, members are chosen to receive these highly-competitive fellowships based on a demonstrated record of academic excellence, strong recommendation, scholarship promise and Mortar Board involvement. 



DDS/PhD Candidate Recognized for ONJ Research

DDS/PhD Candidate Recognized for ONJ ResearchDrake Williams, a DDS/PhD candidate, won first place in the Junior Category of the American Association for Dental Research Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Hatton Award. His research project, titled "IL-36 Mediates Osteonecrosis of the Jaw-like Lesion Development in Mice", showed the Interleukin 36 family of pro-inflammatory cytokines is highly expressed in mice with medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ)-like lesions. The project also showed that disrupting the signaling pathway of IL-36 leads to complete healing and prevents the development of MRONJ-like lesions in mice. The study shows great potential for development of therapeutic agents to combat MRONJ.

Drake also received an American Association for Dental Research Student Research Grant. Titled, "Examining serum chemistry in patients with medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw", the project shows that development of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ)-like lesion leads to an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines both in the blood and in tissues of mice. He hopes to continue studying the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in human patients with medication-related ONJ. Currently, there are no established methods for clinicians to determine which patients are likely to develop MRONJ, and serum profiling of pro-inflammatory cytokines could potentially lead to identification of these individuals. 

Drake is being mentored by Dr. Reuben Kim, an Associate Professor in the Section Restorative Dentistry. 

ORAD Residents Win Big at Annual Meeting

ORAD Residents Win Big at Annual MeetingOral and Maxillofacial Radiology residents, Drs.Kaycee Walton and Ruchi Ahuja, both received an award at this year’s meeting of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (AAOMR). 

Dr. Kaycee Walton, a second year resident, received the Albert Richards Research Award, which is designed to assist postgraduate students in conducting applied research in Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology. Her project entitled, "Radiographic appearance of ONJ in oncologic vs osteoporotic patients” will be performed under the mentorship of Dr. Sotirios Tetradis. This is the second time in the last four years that a UCLA resident has received this award.

Dr. Ruchi Ahuja, a first year resident, received the DENTSPLY Rinn Clinical Award, which is given to the best poster presentation at the meeting, for her report on “The Silent Sinus Syndrome”. This is the fourth consecutive year that a UCLA resident has been selected to receive this award.

Recognizing Research Accomplishments

  • Two UCLA pre-doctoral students presented their research at the 2015 CDA Presents Table Clinic and Poster competition in Anaheim and did UCLA proud! Edwin Eshaghzadeh '18 won second place in the Scientific Category Table Clinic, and Eric Chen '16 won second place in the Community Category Table Clinic.

  • Dong Keun Lee, a postdoctoral scholar in Dean Ho’s lab, was selected as one of the recipients of the Chancellor's Award for Postdoctoral Research.  The award recognizes his research and its impact, and Dong Keun as a valued member of UCLA’s academic community. He was recognized at the Postdoctoral Scholars Reception & Awards Ceremony.

  • Suk Yun Li, an undergraduate student researcher, was awarded a “Dean’s Prize” at the UCLA 18th Annual Science Day Symposium for her research work in Dr. Shen Hu’s lab. 

  • UCLA’s National Student Research Group (NSRG) was the winner for the best local research group newsletter. NSRG is a student-run organization whose main purpose is to foster an environment in every dental school whereby students interested in enriching their dental education through research are encouraged to do so. UCLA was recognized at the AADR National Student Research Group Student Meeting and Awards Ceremony during the IADR/AADR/CADR General Session in Boston.