Winter 2017

Posted on: Tuesday, 12/19/2017

We established our eleventh endowed chair, the Alumni and Friends Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Endowed Chair. Thank you to Drs. No-Hee Park and Howard Park, who led the campaign, and to the other 20 alumni and supporters who helped make this endeavor a reality.

We became part of space exploration history when faculty members, Drs. Kang Ting, Ben Wu and Jin Hee Kwak, traveled to Kennedy Space Center and sent 40 rodents to the International Space Station. The rodents received an injection based on a bone-building protein called NELL-1, which was discovered by Dr. Ting.

We began a pilot program to expand preventive dental care for 500,000 Los Angeles children enrolled in Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid health care program. The UCLA Dentistry-led project is the largest of 15 such programs, which are part of the Medi-Cal 2020 Dental Transformation Initiative. We were also awarded $3.5M to study parent oral health habits to prevent children’s tooth decay.

Lastly, we celebrated the career of Dr. Ronald Mito, Professor Emeritus and former Executive Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Personnel, who retired at the end of June. Dr. Mito, DDS ´76, Hospital Dentistry ´77, dedicated 30 years of his career serving the School in various clinical and administrative capacities.



Decking the Halls

The dental clinic lobby set the stage for the School’s annual Holiday Party on Friday, December 8. Students, faculty and staff came together to enjoy each other’s company and celebrate the year’s accomplishments. Highlights included a student and staff raffle prize drawing and staff’s years of service. In addition, two staff members of the year were acknowledged for their hard work and dedication; Ms. Jane Fransella, the dean’s executive assistant and Ms. Hamida Askaryar, program manager for pediatric dentistry.


Special thanks to Eurodent’s founder, V.J. Lyons, for his company’s generous donation of all of the raffle prizes. Visit our Facebook page to see photos from the event.


Leading the Way

The UCLA chapter of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) sent 10 student representatives to the annual National Leadership Conference in Chicago over the weekend of November 17, 18, and 19. Attendees joined 600 other dental students and professionals from around the country to learn about organized dentistry, leadership skills, professional and personal development, and more.


Student representatives pictured, Sachi Mehrotra (D3), Anthony Chen (D3), Lisa Jolly (D3), Beshoy Eskandar (D3), Sara Hannoodi (D3), Elianne Vazquez (D1), Jessica Chiang (D1), Stella Dong (D1), Kevin Bibera (D2), and Vania Chan (D2). Anthony Chen served as national ASDA videographer throughout the event, and Sachi Mehrotra served as a speaker at the conference.

Providing Service to the Community

Nearly a dozen pre-doctoral students and a supervising faculty member attended the 6th Annual Diabetes Expo in the city of San Fernando. The volunteer group provided dental services, including oral health information, oral screenings, and fluoride varnish applications to nearly 60 expo attendees at this community service event. This outreach event was another great example of spreading oral health awareness and providing public service to the greater Los Angeles community.


Students pictured, from left to right: Shanelle Shahery, Blake Colling, Sarah Darst, Andre Cataluna, Kevin Schlang, Hilary Tate, Garrett Worsey, Armen Agahi, Delaram Salamati, Clark ("Cubby") Taylor, James Grant and faculty member, Dr. Esteban Bonilla.


Funding for Regenerative Medicine


Dr. Alireza Moshaverinia, assistant professor of prosthodontics, was awarded nearly $200,000 in research funding from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine under their Discovery Inception program. Dr. Moshaverinia was the only UCLA researcher, and his project was one of only 14 projects across the state to receive funding in this cycle. His project, "Gingival mesenchymal stem cells as a novel treatment modality for periodontal tissue regeneration”, shows promise to have a big impact on the field of stem cell research but needs additional funding to advance it to the next level of development. More details…

Recognizing Excellence


Dr. Francesco Chiappelli, professor of oral biology, was named an Overseas Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. There are currently 100 Fellows, who are drawn internationally from the medical and dental professions and branches of the psycho-biological sciences. Dr. Chiappelli is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and serves as the Special Assistant to the UCLA Vice Chancellor for Graduate Education.

Bringing Tech to Dentistry

Researchers, Drs. Rami Beshai ´15, Joan Pi-Anfruns, and Kumar Shah recently received a $50,000 NSF Innovation Corps grant, for a software application they developed that helps dental students and post-graduate residents in the treatment planning process of their dental implant cases.

The team’s software also placed first in the research track at the “Code for the Mission” competition – an annual App competition organized by the Office of Information Technology at UCLA. The competition came with a $5,000 prize. More details…


Years of Service: 20 years or more in 2017

Roynel Beckford

Faculty Group Dental Practice

20 yrs  on 06/01/2017

Michelle Felix

Faculty Group Dental Practice

20 yrs  on 10/01/2017

Susan Kim

Center for Oral/Head & Neck Oncology Research

20 yrs  on 12/01/2017

LaWenda Parker

Oral Radiology

20 yrs  on 03/01/2017

Paul Silva

Faculty Group Dental Practice

20 yrs on 12/01/2016

Elva Lopez

Faculty Group Dental Practice

25 yrs  on 09/01/2017

Scot Kawano

Continuing Education Program

25 yrs  on 11/01/2017

Paul Chao

Knowledge Management

25 yrs  on 12/01/2017

Connie Steppes

Students Affairs

25 yrs  on 12/01/2016











Staff New Hires: November - December


Working Title

Hire Date


Carla Ramos

Ryan White/Chart Auditor


Oral Biology & Medicine

Katryn Heise

Coordinator of Alumni Relations


Dean's Suite, Alumni Affairs

Monique Ceja

Patient Biller


Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Kelly Settle

Administrative Specialist


Orthodontic Clinic

Mochi Li

EH&S Specialist


Administration, Environmental Health & Safety

Lizeth Nevarez

Group Practice Administrator


General Clinic

Welcome Katryn Bowdle Heise, our new Coordinator of Alumni Relations, to the School of Dentistry family. Katryn came from the University of Colorado Denver, where she worked in Recruitment and Summer Programs. She recently moved to Los Angeles when her husband accepted a position at the LA Philharmonic. She has a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies/Outdoor Leadership from Sonoma State University and a Master's Degree in Higher Education Student Affairs and Leadership from the University of Northern Colorado. Katryn's experience includes programming, experiential learning, facilitation, and community building. She is looking forward to building connections among alumni, students, faculty, and staff here in the School of Dentistry.