Expanded Research and Clinical Excellence Day Celebrates Discovery Across School, and Beyond

Group of award winners
Top finishers in the UCLA School of Dentistry Research and Clinical Excellence Day Poster Competition, at the D.D.S., Resident/Master's, and Ph.D./Postdoc levels.
March 1, 2024

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A full-day program at UCLA’s Kerckhoff Grand Salon and Ackerman Grand Ballroom on Wednesday, Feb. 28, enabled the UCLA School of Dentistry and wider scientific communities to learn about oral health care innovation happening in both the laboratory and patient clinics. Two keynote speakers and expanded award opportunities for Bruin scholars punctuated an expanded Research and Clinical Excellence Day 2024 that also included presentations from campus partners and a vendor fair.

Following opening remarks from Associate Dean of Research Yvonne Hernandez-Kapila and Dean Paul Krebsbach, UCLA’s Vice Chancellor of Research Roger Wakimoto delivered his “State of University Research” address, highlighting increased funding, new partnerships, and support systems to help researchers navigate the campus’ vast infrastructure.

Representatives of several invaluable collaborators with the School then took the lectern, including UCLA’s Research Information Systems, Clinical and Translational Research Center, Environmental Health & Safety, and Life Sciences Business Development.

Transitioning to scientific discovery, UC San Francisco’s Dr. Joel White presented a lightning talk on powerful applications of artificial intelligence in the dental clinic, while several School of Dentistry faculty members did the same on topics ranging from childhood caries to tissue and bone regeneration.

“I think our morning session really set the tone for the day’s theme of collaboration,” Dr. Hernandez-Kapila said. “We are grateful for so many partners – at UCLA and further afield – joining us to share their expertise.”

After attendees fueled up at lunch, it was time for complementary keynotes spanning both oral health research and clinical dentistry. UC San Francisco Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery Dr. Tamara Alliston presented her findings on Osteocytic Mechanisms of Bone Fragility and Joint Disease, while School of Dentistry Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Dr. Tara Aghaloo meticulously described Bone Therapeutics: Translational Findings with Clinical Applications.

Seats in Kerckhoff’s Grand Salon were at a premium as UCLA D.D.S. students and postgraduate researchers filed in to support peers who earned top marks in the poster competition held Feb. 21. Fourteen research and clinical scholars presented their findings, with awards then announced in three categories: 1) Dental Students, 2) Master’s Candidates/Residents/Trainees, and 3) Ph.D. Candidates/Postdoctoral Fellows, as judged by faculty volunteers recruited by the Research Advisory Committee. Please see the complete winners’ list below.

Adding some fun to the afternoon, Senior Associate Dean Sotirios Tetradis played quizmaster and led the audience in an app-based trivia game, Kahoot!, to test their knowledge of the presented subject matter.

Festivities transitioned to the Ackerman Grand Ballroom as all 53 Research and Clinical Excellence Day participants were invited to display their posters and explain findings, while attendees were also encouraged to visit the tables of vendors BISCO Dental, Straumann, Thermo Fisher Scientific, UCLA Environmental Health & Safety, and the UCLA Library. Light bites, camaraderie, and raffle prizes closed the program.

“The future of scientific discovery is alive and well in Westwood,” Dr. Hernandez-Kapila said. “Expanding this annual event to highlight best practices and case studies in UCLA Dentistry clinics, alongside peer-reviewed research, is a winning formula that we intend to replicate for years to follow.”

Research and Clinical Excellence Day 2024 Poster Competition Winners

Scholarly LevelCategoryPositionNamePoster TitleMentor(s)
D.D.S. StudentsBasic researchFirstJoycelyn B. ChenNisin-loaded Solid Lipid Nanoparticles Enhance Anticancer Activity Over Free NisinYvonne L. Kapila, Pachiyappan Kamarajan, Allan Radaic
D.D.S. StudentsBasic researchSecondLucas PengMicrobial Communities in Endodontic Infections Renate Lux
D.D.S. StudentsBasic researchThirdCaitlin NeapoleCalifornia School Nurses' Competency in Recognizing Common Dental DiseasesVinodh Bhoopathi
D.D.S. StudentsClinicalFirstYujue (Sandy) WangAI-driven CBCT for Canine Impaction Prediction: Enhancing Predictive-Capabilities in DentistryKarolina Kaczor Urbanowicz and Yan Wang
D.D.S. StudentsClinicalSecondMelody KaplanA Retrospective Study of Failure Indirect Restorations in the Predoctoral ClinicMitra Simanian and Sheila Yaghmai
D.D.S. StudentsClinical ThirdKevin TongSurvey of CAMBRA in the UCLA Dental Student General ClinicSean Mong
Master’s Candidates, Residents, and TraineesBasic researchFirstJoey ZengSupercharged NK Cell Cytotoxicity on Well- and Poorly- Differentiated Hepatocellular CarcinomaAnahid Jewett
Master’s Candidates, Residents, and TraineesBasic researchSecondAhana GoswamiIL-23 is Highly Expressed in Pulp-Exposed MRONJ Lesions in MiceReuben Kim
Master’s Candidates, Residents, and TraineesBasic researchThirdMauricio RubioOrai1 Channel Regulates the Stemness of Dental Pulp Cells (DPCs)Ki-Hyuk Shin
Master’s Candidates, Residents, and TraineesClinicalFirstMasooma RizviGuided Bone Regeneration and Management of PTFE Membrane ExposureYusuke Hamada and Michael Whang
Master’s Candidates, Residents, and TraineesClinicalSecondAndrew Paige Comparison of Conventional and Automated Cephalometric Analysis using Cone-Beam Computed TomographySanjay Mallya
Master’s Candidates, Residents, and TraineesClinical ThirdSomyung JiHarnessing Artificial Intelligence to Teach Caries DetectionSanjay Mallya
Ph.D. Candidates and Postdoctoral FellowsBasic researchFirstTimmie BrittonThe Respiratory Enzyme Complex Rnf is Vital for Metabolic Adaptation and Virulence in Fusobacterium NucleatumHung Ton-That
Ph.D. Candidates and Postdoctoral FellowsBasic researchSecondMinje KangBone-Targeting Lysophosphatidic Acid-Based Liposomal Nanocarriers: A Novel Approach for Osteoporosis TreatmentMin Lee
Ph.D. Candidates and Postdoctoral FellowsBasic researchThirdNaseim ElzakraCortical Canal Remodeling in Medication-Related Osteonecrosis of the JawSotirios Tetradis