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May 07, 2012

Students Present Research Posters at Annual Oral Health Fair

The winners of the basic and clinical sciences research poster presentations with officers of the Vernon J. Brightman Research Society, Tom Zungailia of Dentsply (left), and Dr. Fancis Mante, faculty advisor of the Research Society (right).

The winners of the basic and clinical sciences research poster presentations with officers of the Vernon J. Brightman Research Society, Tom Zungailia of Dentsply (left), and Dr. Fancis Mante, faculty advisor of the Research Society (right).

Philadelphia – On May 1, Penn Dental Medicine’s student research organization, the Vernon J. Brightman Research Society, organized the 21st Annual Oral Health Fair, spotlighting student research projects conducted throughout the academic year. This annual event celebrates Penn Dental Medicine’s long-standing tradition of excellence in student research and features poster presentations by students on their research activities. There were 26 students presenting posters on their basic science and clinical research and 13 students on their projects as part of the Bridging the Gaps community outreach externship.

Each year, all participants in the School’s student Summer Research Program present their work at the Oral Health Fair. Through the Summer Research Program, students work full-time in July and August with a faculty preceptor on a mutually-agreed upon research project.

“Through hands-on research experience, the goal of the Program to aid the development of dental students who want to pursue research-orientated careers in the oral health field by providing an interactive experience with active research faculty,” says Dr. Joseph DiRienzo, Assistant Dean for Student Research and the director of the Summer Research Program. “Presenting posters of their projects, as they would at a professional meeting, is also an important part of the Program.”

The posters were judged by a team of independent faculty members, and this year’s winners in basic science and clinical research include the following:

Matthew Paradisgarten (D’15) received first place for his research with preceptor Dr. Gary H. Cohen, Professor of Microbiology, on a project titled, “Conformational Change of Viral Fusogen gB Probed by Mutagenesis and Fluorescence.” As the first place winner, Paradisgarten will represent Penn Dental Medicine at the ADA/DENTSPLY Student Clinician Research Program as part of the ADA Annual Session in San Francisco, October 2012.

Ben Keyser (D’14) was awarded second place for his research with preceptor Dr. Elisabeth Barton, Associate Professor of Anatomy & Cell Biology, for a project titled “Evaluation of Gamma-Sarcoglycan as a Mechano-Sensor.” Keyer will present his poster at the Hinman Student Research Symposium in Memphis, Tenn., March 2013.

The third place award went to Christine Lama (C’14), who worked with preceptor Dr. Joseph DiRienzo, Professor of Microbiology, on a project titled “Effects of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans on Healthy Human Gingiva.”

The winners within the Bridging the Gaps community externship programs were: Marla Martinez (D’14), awarded first place for her work with South Philadelphia Mexican Outreach; Kruti Patel, awarded second place for her Extreme Health and Fitness Program at South Philadelphia High School; and receiving third place was Colleen O’Neill for her project, “Taking Little Steps Toward Healthy Choices in a Big Kid World,” with the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center.

View a photo gallery from the event on the school’s Facebook page.

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