News & Accolades

47th Annual AADR/IADR Meeting

The 47th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Dental Research (AADR) took place on March 21-24, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Twenty-six UCLA pre-doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows, residents, and faculty presented their research. The School of Dentistry’s booth welcomed hundreds of visitors, including Dr. Raul Garcia, immediate past president of AADR/IADR and Dr. Christopher H. Fox, executive director of AADR/IADR. Thank you to the volunteers who helped pass out informational material and field questions about the School’s research training programs, and to Muneeza Irfani, training program coordinator, who organized the School’s presence at the meeting.

Former R90 Trainee Awarded NIDCR Grant

Dr. Taichiro Nonaka, former R90 postdoctoral trainee and current Project Scientist in the laboratory of Dr. David Wong, was awarded the NIDCR Small Grant Program for New Investigators (R03) based on his research work with saliva and salivary gland biology.

Dr. Nonaka received his DDS from Kyushu Dental University and his PhD in Medical Science from Kyoto University. His research interests are in exploring the new functional mechanism of infection- and cancer-associated salivary components. Ultimately, he would like to explain the yet-unknown immunological function of saliva and open up a new field of oral biology.



Dr. Batbileg Bor, T90 Post-Doctoral Alumni, Receives a K99/R00 National Institute of Health (NIH) Pathway to Independence Award

Dr. Batbileg Bor, a former T90 trainee, recently received a K99/R00 National Institute of Health (NIH) Pathway to Independence Award for his research project, which focuses on oral microbial ecology, interaction and pathogenesis. More specifically, he plans to explore the physiological and pathogenic potentials of uncultivable members of the oral microbial community. 

Dr. Bor came to the UCLA School of Dentistry as a postdoctoral researcher after finishing his Ph.D. work at the UCLA Molecular Biology Institute. As a postdoc, the T90 research training program supported his first years’ of training and facilitated his transition from cell biologist to microbiologist. In 2015, received the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Award (F32) from the NIDCR. He is currently at the Forsyth Institute. Congratulations to Dr. Bor. 

Jason Clague, T90 Pre Doctoral Trainee Receives an F31 NIDCR National Research Service Award for Individual Fellowship

Jason is currently in his fourth year of the Biostatistics Ph.D. program and is completing his last year in the T90 research training program. He is a member of Dr. Vivek Shetty’s lab being co-mentored by Dr. Thomas Belin in his own Division of Biostatistics, conducting research in statistical methods applied to dental data sets (effects of methamphetamine and caries experience). His research interests include the application and development of spatial and missing data methods. Jason received an F31 award in Dec 2017 from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research on his research project: “Developing Statistical Methods for Spatial Relationships and Missing Teeth in Oral-Health Research." Jason received his B.A. in Mathematics from NYU in 2012. 

2017 Bi-Annual T90/R90 Meeting

2017 Bi-Annual Meeting for T90/R90The T90/R90 training program’s bi-annual trainee and mentor meeting was held on December 14, 2017. The well-attended event included current and past T90 and R90 Trainees, current DDS/PhD students and faculty mentors. Samantha Chiang, D.D.S and Drake Williams, D.D.S., were invited to share their recent experience and knowledge gained at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)’s  D.D.S/Ph.D. Workshop held on September 2017. 

The current D.D.S./Ph.D. candidates' presentations were followed by a lengthy Q&A session in which career development tips and advice were shared by T90 program post-doctoral alumni and also by faculty mentors, including Dean Paul Krebsbach.


On September 12-14, 2017 the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) hosted a workshop for pre-doctoral dual degree DDS/DMD–PhD trainees at their head office in Bethesda, Maryland.

Two of UCLA School of Dentistry’s T90 DSTP (DDS-PhD) trainees Insoon Chang and Samantha Chiang along with DDS-PhD student Drake Williams, all three NIH F30 Individual Award recipients,  applied for this work shop with many other School of Dentistry DDS-PhD students, and were chosen to attend this invaluable opportunity. The purpose of the workshop was to bring together students who had demonstrated a career goal of becoming dentist scientists, and engage them in activities that would enhance their continued interest in a research career and foster their transition from the predoctoral to the postdoctoral career stage. The workshop provided the participants with opportunities to develop research career skills and sessions to provide networking and mentoring opportunities among their peers, NIDCR program staff and intramural investigators, and a number of NIDCR Advisory Council members. DDS-PhD students from 13 other Schools of Dentistry in our country were chosen to attend the workshop and the attendees from our School found it to be highly useful and educational for them from a professional and future career path perspective.





Research Grants Awarded to Dual-Degree Trainees

Current T90 DDS/PhD candidate, Ms. Samantha Chiang, was recently awarded an F30 grant by NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. The F30 grant program is available to students in dual degree programs and works to increase the pool of highly trained physician-scientists and other clinician-scientists in the biomedical research workforce.

Samantha Chiang: has completed her DDS training in 2016 and is now full time in Dr. David Wong’s laboratory at the UCLA School of Dentistry – Center for Oral/Head & Neck Oncology Research pursuing her doctoral research training exploring the role of saliva non-coding RNA in wound healing. This novel and impactful topic was her discovery during her initial four years of research training in the laboratory. She was productive, published two papers, a co-author JBC and a first author Biotechnique paper.

UCLA Presence Strong at the 2017 IADR/AADR Meeting and Exhibiton

On March 21 through 25, IADR/AADR held their 95th General Session & Exhibition and 46th Annual Meeting, respectively, in the beautiful city by the bay, San Francisco. The Canadian Association of Dental Research (CADR) Meeting was also held in conjunction with the other two meetings.

The UCLA School of Dentistry had 39 participants presenting at the IADR/AADR/CADR Poster and Oral presentation sessions. During the exhibition, thousands of delegates heard compelling presentations from UCLA dental students, pre-doctoral students, post-doctoral researchers, and residents.

These same individuals also volunteered at the UCLA Booth during the tradeshow portion, which was staffed by Muneeza Irfani, T90/R90 coordinator. Information provided at the booth included DDS admissions, our preceptorship program, residency programs, and our T90/R90 research training program.

Postdoctoral Scholar Receives Funding to Detect Gastric Cancer

Dr. Karolina Kaczor-Urbanowicz, a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. David Wong’s lab, received an award from Debbie’s Dream Foundation for Gastric Cancer Research for salivary biomarker development for gastric cancer detection. The funding from the foundation is administered by the American Association for Cancer Research – the largest and most respected cancer research organization. She is the first dentist known to have won this prestigious award. Karolina received her dental degree from Poland and obtained her orthodontics certificate and PhD from Hebrew University.

2017 Bi-Annual T90/R90 Meeting Welcomes Dean Paul Krebsbach

2017 Bi-annual Meeting

The UCLA School of Dentistry held its bi-annual T90/R90 mentor and trainee meeting on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. The program’s director, Dr. David Wong, led the meeting and was assisted by program coordinator, Muneeza Irfani, who presented updates and important program-related news.

Dean Paul Krebsbach was the guest speaker and gave an insightful presentation on his professional and personal experiences. Dr. Krebsbach’s inspiring speech contained many personal and professional anecdotes from his own experience as the director of the T32 training program at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry to his professional growth in academia. Many of our esteemed program faculty mentors, current trainees, and program alumni were in attendance. The bi-annual event provides a wonderful opportunity for trainees to network and gain insight into research and academia from our faculty mentors and the dean.

T90 Trainee Receives Coveted Hatton Award

Congratulations to Ms. Insoon Chang, who completed her five year DSTP (D.D.S./ Ph.D.) appointment on the T90 program and is now a PhD student researcher in the laboratory of  Dr. Cun-Yu Wang.

Insoon placed second in the senior category of the 2016 American Association of Dental Research (AADR) prestigious Hatton award. Her research focused on the epigenetic repression of autophagy, a destructive cellular mechanism, and how this mechanism may be a novel solution for chemo-resistance in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. She will go on to compete in the IADR Unilever Hatton Awards Competition to be held at the IADR General Session & Exhibition in Seoul, Korea on June 21, 2016. We are proud of the achievements of our T90 program alumni.

Annual AADR Meeting and Exhibiton Held in Los Angeles for 2016

The 45th Annual Meeting & Exhibition of the American Association of Dental Research (AADR) welcomed 3,000 attendees. The meeting took place on March 16th through the 18th in downtown Los Angeles at the LA Convention Center. Participants of the meeting and exhibition included research scientists, academicians, dentists and dental students—all working in the field of dental, oral and craniofacial research. Approximately 54 research posters and oral presentations were presented at the meeting from members of the UCLA School of Dentistry community with two of our very own trainees winning the coveted AADR Hatton award.

We were able to showcase the dental school's academic and research programs at our booth, which was visited by thousands of AADR delegates with questions on post graduate research, D.D.S. admissions, Preceptorship programs and dental residency programs. Our booth was staffed by our T90 Coordinator, Muneeza Irfani along with dental students, post-doctoral researchers and international visiting research volunteers who provided useful recruiting and programmatic information to AADR delegates.

The dental school also hosted a tour of its academic and clinic buidlings, which attracted over 39 delegate attendees and was well managed by the Center for Oral/Head & Neck Oncoloy Research staff and volunteer dental students. Tour attendees were able to visit our research laboratories and attended an informative presentation by the Dean of our School Dr. No-Hee Park.

2016 T90 Bi-Annual Mentor/Trainee Meeting

The Office of Research held their bi-annual T90 and R90 Mentors and Trainees meeting on March 15, 2016. Dr. Sotiris Tetradis, a T90 Steering Committee Member and Faculty Mentor, led the meeting where program updates were provided by Muneeza Irfani, the T90/R90 Coordinator. Two distinguished guest speakers, Dr. Jason Wan, Director of the Mineralized Tissue Physiology Program at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and Dr. Jason Merritt, Associate Professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry at the Oregon Health and Science University, presented to the group.

Dr. Merritt provided insight into potential career paths that awaited the trainees. He spoke from his own professional experience and because he’s a former pre- and post-doctoral trainee and was also awarded the T32 training grant award. Dr. Wan gave invaluable information on NIDCR research funding opportunities for students, pre-doctoral, post-doctoral and independent researchers. Both speakers presented valuable information to the trainees and their mentors.

T90 Bi-Annual Mentor/Trainee Meeting

2015 Bi-Annual Meeting

T90 and R90 Trainees and Mentors met for their Bi-annual meeting on Wednesday, October 14, 2015. The meeting was well attended with current and past trainees and mentors. The Program Director, Dr. David Wong provided encouragement and advice to current and past trainees for career and professional growth. A Faculty Portrait Presentation was done by Dr. No-Hee Park, Dean of the School of Dentistry. He gave an inspirational message through his informative presentation to all T90 and R90 trainees of courage and fortitude based on his own professional career as a successful research scientist and a renowned academician.
 Group photo at Bi-annual meeting in 2015

T90 Post Doc Dr. Batbileg Bor Received the NIDCR F32 Award

Dr. Batbileg Bor joined Dr. Wenyuan Shi’s lab in 2014 as a postdoctoral researcher, after graduating from the UCLA Molecular Biology Institute in Margot Quinlan's lab. In Dr. Shi’s lab, the T90 research training program supported his first years’ training and facilitated his transition from cell biologist to microbiologist. Based on his initial studies, he applied for the F32 fellowship at NIDCR and was recently awarded the fellowship. His project focuses on oral microbial ecology, interaction, and pathogenesis. More specifically, he is looking at the yet-to-be cultivated oral bacteria and their interaction with their host. Exploring interaction between uncultivated human microbe and their host is a research field in its infancy.

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) "Research Training and Career Development Branch" Officials Visit with T90 and R90 Trainees

Past and present pre and postdoctoral trainees supported by the UCLA Institutional “NIDCR Research Training and Career Development Award (T90/R90)” met with Dr. Lynn King, Ph.D., Chief, Research Training and Career Development Branch, NIDCR, Dr. Leslie Freiden, Ph.D, Extramural Training Officer, Research Training and Career Development Branch, NIDCR and Diana Rutberg, Chief, Grants Management Branch, Division of Extramural Activities, NIDCR during their visit to UCLA School of Dentistry on June 16, 2015. Two T90 trainees received independent research funding were highlighted during the visit. Dr. Anna Edlund received a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award and current T90 DSTP trainee Dr. Insoon Chang received a F30 fellowship. The visit was very helpful and well received by all trainees as they were able to gain knowledge of training and career award opportunities and career development options.