Current Trainees

Dentist-Scientist Training Program

Danny Hadaya 

Danny received his B.S. in Biological Sciences from UC Irvine in 2013 and is currently enrolled in the DDS/PhD program. He is in his third year of dental school and in his first year in the Dentist-Scientist Training Program - DSTP (DDS/PhD) as a T90 trainee under Dr. Sotirios Tetradis. His research is focused on bone biology and Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ).  

 

 

 

Samantha Chiang

Samantha received her BS in Chemical Biology in 2011 and is currently enrolled in the DDS/PhD program. She is in her third year in the Dentist-Scientist Training Program - DSTP (DDS/PhD) as a T90 trainee, in the laboratory of Dr. David Wong, conducting research on advancing the scientific frontiers of saliva diagnostics for oral cancer and other systemic diseases. Her primary research interests lie in basic and translational sciences of salivary diagnostics for oral and system diseases.



Paul Yang

Paul received his BS in Biological Sciences in 2009, and MS in Oral Biology in 2015. He is currently enrolled in the DDS/PhD program. He is in his first year in the Dentist-Scientist Training Program - DSTP (DDS/PhD) as a T90 trainee, in the laboratory of Dr. Reuben Kim, conducting research in HPV-mediated Oral Carcinogenesis. His primary research interests lie in discovery of biomarkers that allow fast and efficient oral cancer diagnosis. 

 

Pre-Doctoral

Sarah Al-Hiyari, MS

Sarah received her MS in Molecular Pathology in 2010 and is currently enrolled in the PhD program in the Division of Oral Biology and Medicine. She is in her third year as a Pre-doc in the T90 Research Training program, in the laboratory of Dr. Tetradis and Dr. Pirih conducting research on periodontitis. Her research interest includes combining molecular testing methods into current periodontal studies in order to examine disease progression and eventually, combining this with clinical procedures.

 

Ashley Anne Cass

Ashley Anne Cass - a T90 Trainee

Ashley received her B.S. in Computational and Systems Biology from UCLA in 2011. She is currently in her third year of the Bioinformatics Interdepartmental Ph.D. program and in her first year as a T90 trainee. She is a member of Dr. Xinshu (Grace) Xiao's lab and works on collaborative projects between the labs of Dr. Xiao and Dr. David Wong to characterize and analyze the functions of salivary extracellular RNAs, focusing on biomarker discovery and mRNA cleavage and degradation.

 

Jason Clague

Jason received his B.A. in Mathematics from NYU in 2012. He is currently in his third year of the Biostatistics Ph.D. program and second year as a T90 trainee.  He is a member of Dr. Vivek Shetty’s lab, conducting research in statistical methods applied to dental data sets (effects of methamphetamine and periodontitis). His research interests include the application and development of causal inference methods. 

 

Post-Doctoral

Melissa Agnellom PhD

 Melissa received her Ph.D. in Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics from the University of Southern California in 2015.  She is currently a postdoctoral trainee in Dr. Wenyuan Shi’s laboratory, where she is investigating the microbiology of the oral cavity; specifically focusing on the regulation of virulence factors in the caries-causing organism Streptococcus mutans. 

 

 

John Szymanski, PhD

John received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in September of 2015. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Cun-Yu Wang where his research focuses on the directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells towards osteogenic lineages for bone regeneration.

 

 

Michael Tu, PhD

Michael recieved his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from UCLA in 2015 and is currently a T90 Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. David Wong. Michael’s research centers on the application of electrochemical sensors and computational optimization techniques to translational health research. He is currently engaged in developing a biosensor platform for the rapid detection of oncogenic gene mutations in saliva.  

 

Shannon Liu Rao, PhD

Shannon received her Ph.D. in Biology from Wesleyan University in 2015 and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. David Wong. Shannon’s research interests lie in the basic and translational sciences of salivary diagnostics for oral and system diseases.

 

  

 

 Anna Turabelidze, Ph.D./DDS

Anna received her Ph.D./DDS degree from University of Illinois Chicago in 2013. Her Ph.D was in Oral Sciences and she is a clinical general dentist. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow under Dr. Wong’s mentorship on T90 fellowship. Her research area is wound healing in both basic and translational research levels.