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School of Dental Medicine

News at One Kneeland: November 2017

Wednesday, November 22, 2017
News from Tufts Univeristy School of Dental Medicine
Mikenah Vega, D18, takes STAT News inside the simulation clinic in this 360 vid, featured at Boston’s HUB Week.

Wide Open

Mikenah Vega, D18, takes STAT News inside the simulation clinic in this 360 video, featured at Boston’s HUB Week. Watch the video.

Grants awarded to Tufts Dental faculty member

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded two grants this fall to Pamela Yelick, AG89, professor in orthodontics and director of the Division of Craniofacial and Molecular Genetics. Yelick was awarded a $3.65 million R01 grant from the NIH, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Her project is “Bioengineered composite alveolar bone-tooth constructs for tooth regeneration.” This award will support studies to fabricate bioengineered whole teeth and alveolar bone as a future therapy for human tooth and craniofacial reconstructions.  Yelick also received a $450,000 R21 award from the NIH, the Center for Health and Human Development, and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Skin Diseases for her project “Novel Zebrafish models for human fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP).” Yelick recently attended the FOP Drug Development Forum in Sardinia, Italy, where she was awarded an International FOP Association 2017 Competitive Review Grant for her zebrafish studies.  These studies, which were initiated by Melissa LaBonty, a Tufts Sackler School PhD candidate, will be conducted in collaboration with Edward Hsiao at the University of California, San Francisco. 


Making decisions in orthodontics

The dental school was proud to host the annual Dr. Herbert I. Margolis Lecture on Orthodontics on September 29. The guest lecturer this year was David Musich, clinical professor of orthodontics at the University of Illinois and the University of Pennsylvania. He presented “Decision-Making in Orthodontics” for more than 70 participants.

Tufts community members attend leadership institute

The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) recently announced the ADEA Leadership Institute Class of 2018. Among the participants are Natalie Jeong, D97, DG00, assistant professor of periodontology, Tracy de Peralta, D95, and O. Field Farrior, D08. The institute is a yearlong program designed to support the nation’s most promising individuals at academic institutions in becoming leaders in dental and higher education.

Perio hosts visitors from Japan

A group of 29 dentists from Japan came to the dental school on September 12 to tour the facility and hear several lectures. Yumi Ogata, DI15, DG11, assistant professor in periodontology, hosted the group, who were mainly members of the Evidence-based Periodontology and Implantology Course (EPIC) at Tufts. Several professors and Ph.D. students from Nihon University School of Dentistry and Tokyo Medical and Dental University also participated. Samantha Yamamoto, assistant clinical professor in periodontology, Hideo Yamamoto, DI93, DG90 instructor in periodontology, Yong Hur, DI12, DG08, assistant clinical professor in periodontology, and Ogata provided lectures to the group.

Faculty member received funding for scleroderma work

The National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) awarded a grant to Celdara Medical for the research project “Complex 3-dimensional in Vitro Human Skin Tissue Models for Scleroderma.” Jonathan Garlick, professor in diagnostic sciences and director of the Division of Cancer Biology and Tissue Engineering, is in collaboration on the project.

Staff and faculty updates

  • Yun Saksena, DI00, associate professor of comprehensive care and director of predoctoral clinical education, is leaving the dental school on November 30 to accept a position as associate dean of for education at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Dentistry, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • Carroll Ann Trotman was appointed the associate dean for faculty development in September. Trotman, professor and chair of orthodontics, will provide oversight of the dental school’s faculty development programs, and work with faculty and department chairs to ensure opportunity and mentoring among the faculty.
  • Charlene Mazetis started at the end of July as a dental assistant in public health and community service.
  • Katelyn Racine started in the middle of August as a patient registration assistant in clinical affairs.
  • Elizabeth Costa was promoted to practice manager for advanced general dentistry in late August.

Mission to the Dominican Republic

The Hispanic International Mission (HIM), led by Aidee Herman, associate clinical professor in periodontology, traveled to the Dominican Republic August 12-20. The group spent the week in the province of Samana providing free dental care. The group included 17 delegates, including dentists, hygienists, and students. They provided care to 638 patients and performed 1,075 procedures. Delegates included Zuzana Mendez, DI08, DG97, clinical instructor in public health and community service, Lagina Bickham, D92, volunteer faculty member in public health and community service, and Quyen Tran, D10.

Publications and presentations

  • Marjan Askari, D09, assistant clinical professor in pediatric dentistry, and Stanley Alexander, DA75 a volunteer faculty member in pediatric dentistry, published the textbook Atlas of Orthodontic Case Reviews in September.
  • Aidee Herman, associate clinical professor in periodontology, spoke on June 26 at the 7th Symposium in Dental Careers at Boston University on the topic "Prevalence of global leadership service in U.S Dental Schools."
  • Irina Dragan, DG15, assistant professor in periodontology, published “The role of varicella zoster virus in the development of periapical pathoses and root resorption: A systematic review,” along with co-authors from the University of Belgrade in Serbia. The primary investigator was Aleksandar Jokovlejevic from the University of Belgrade.
  • Carole Palmer, AG69, NG69, professor of comprehensive care and head of the Division of Nutrition and Oral Health Promotion, gave a presentation at the Advancing Nutrition Training and Research for Medical Students, Residents, Fellows, Attending Physicians and Other Clinicians Workshop on September 8 in Bethesda, Md. She worked with co-presenters Marsha Schofield, director of nutrition services coverage at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Rose DiMaria-Ghalili, associate professor at Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions. The presentation was “Competencies in team-based care: Inter-professional approach.”
  • Aidee Herman, associate clinical professor in periodontology, presented “Correlation between oral squamous cell carcinoma and human papillomavirus (Oral STDs)” at the Los Angeles Dental Meeting on September 15. During her time in Los Angeles, she was interviewed by a local Spanish-language television show “Truinfo Latino.”
  • The Department of Periodontology sponsored four predoctoral student members of the Tufts Periodontal Study Club to attend the Tufts Periodontal Alumni Conference and the subsequent Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Periodontology in Boston. Kevin Campbell, D18, Mei-Yee Chan, D19, Nari Park, D19, and Sarah Chung, D18, were able to attend the meetings.
  • Pamela Yelick, AG89, professor in orthodontics and director of the division of craniofacial and molecular genomics, was an invited speaker at the Penn Stem Cell and Regenerative Dentistry Conference, which took place October 20-21. Her talk was “Using human dental pulp progenitor cells to regenerate alveolar bone and teeth.”
  • Yelick was also the keynote speaker for the Hinman Student Research Symposium held on November 3-5 in Memphis. Her talk was “Using human dental pulp cells to regenerate alveolar bone and teeth.”
  • Nevin Zablotsky, D74, DG77, presented “Tobacco, nicotine addiction and your patients” at the American Dental Association Meeting in Atlanta on October 21. He co-presented with Sharon Clough, manager of preventive health activities at the American Dental Association.

New SAC chair selected

The dental school’s Staff Advisory Council (SAC) elected a new chair and co-chair at their September meeting. Brian Fitzpatrick, materials financial analyst, and Sean Hopkins, program coordinator in academic affairs, will serve as chair and co-chair respectively.

Awards and honors

  • Kevin Gureckis, D76, was named the Texas Dentist of the Year by the Texas Academy of General Dentistry during the Lone Star Dental Conference in Austin on September 22.  
  • Elizabeth Betances, D18, received the 2017 Dental Trade Alliance Foundation Dental Student Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded every year to a student with an established commitment to academic excellence and community service.

Alumni volunteer in Jerusalem

Two dental school alumni spent a week volunteering in Israel in September at the Trudi Birger Dental Clinic in Jerusalem. Stuart Merle, D73, his wife Gayle Ann Merle, and Bruce Wyman, D73, took part in the trip. The volunteer opportunity was organized through Dental Volunteers for Israel (DVI), which provides free dental care and oral health education to thousands of needy children in Israel every year.

Spotlight on Innovation event

The 2nd Annual Spotlight on Innovation event took place on October 18. The social event for dental school faculty members was hosted by the Teaching and Learning in an Environment of New Technology (TALENT) Committee.

Tufts former staff member passes away

Billiejo Rogers-Ryan, a former lead patient registration assistant in clinical affairs, passed away on October 10 after a lengthy illness. Ryan was an employee at the dental school from 1988 to 2015; her position at the dental school was her only position, and she was much loved by residents, faculty members, staff and patients. See Ryan’s obituary.