Student Research Day 2013


Award winners and members of the student-run Vernon J. Brightman Research Society.

Philadelphia – Penn Dental Medicine’s Student Research Day, held May 9, turned the spotlight on student research, community service, and the honors programs as students presented posters on projects conducted throughout the past year. This was the first year for a combined event that featured the work of students within the Vernon J. Brightman Research Society (VBRS), who participated in the school’s summer research program; those who took part in the community-based Bridging the Gaps externship, and those students in the school’s honors degree programs in research, community health, and clinical care.

VBRS is a student-run organization that promotes interest and participation of predoctoral students in both basic and clinical oral health research; the school’s summer research program is a competitive program in which students engage in a basic laboratory or clinical research project full time during July and August with a faculty preceptor. Bridging the Gaps (BTG) is an interdisciplinary program that teams health care and social service students with the provision of health-related services to underserved and economically disadvantaged populations at sites throughout the region. And, the competitive honors degree programs enable exceptional students to earn a DMD degree with honors in three areas — research, clinical dentistry, and community health.

Students from all three programs presented poster displays on projects conducted throughout the past year and also submitted abstracts included in an abstract booklet.

“Making a poster presentation to give students an experience similar to a professional meeting, is an important part of all of these programs, so we were pleased to combine those presentations into one event this year,” says Dr. Kathleen Boesze-Battaglia, Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Director of the research honors program.

A total of 86 posters were presented, including 15 VBRS members and summer research program participants, 13 from Bridging the Gaps, and a total of 58 from the three honors programs. The event was held in the Fonseca Gardens behind the school’s Robert Schattner Center, where students shared highlights of the projects with fellow students, faculty, and staff.

The posters from the school’s summer research program and Bridging the Gaps were judged by a team of independent faculty members. This year’s winners in clinical and basic science research include the following:

  • Kang I. Ko (D’15) received first place for his research with preceptor Dr. Dana Graves, Professor, Department of Periodontics, on a project titled, “Diabetes Reduces Mesenchymal Stem Cells through Altering Apoptosis and Proliferation.” As the first place winner, Ko will represent Penn Dental Medicine at the ADA/DENTSPLY Student Clinician Research Program as part of the ADA Annual Session in New Orleans, October 31 – November 3, 2013.
  • William S. Konicki (D’15) was awarded second place for his research with preceptor Dr. Carolyn Gibson, Professor, Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, for a project titled “Inheritance of Amelogenesis Imperfecta and Modifier Genes in Transgenic Murine Models.” Konicki will present his poster at the Hinman Student Research Symposium in Memphis, Tenn., October 25-27, 2013.
  • The third place award went to Snow Feng (C’14), who worked with preceptor Dr. Christopher Lengner, Assistant Professor, Animal Biology, Penn Veterinary Medicine, on a project titled “The Effect of Musashi Expression on Self-Renewal and Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells.”

The winners within the Bridging the Gaps community externship program were: Wenting Guo (D’15), awarded first place for her work with the College of Physicians of Philadelphia on its program for high school students focused on education and prevention of sexually transmitted infections and violence; Eunice Chay (D’15), awarded second place for her work at HIAS and Council Migration Service of Philadelphia, facilitating health and life skills meetings for recently resettled Sudanese refugee women; and receiving third place was Laurel Lee (D’15), for her project at Earth’s Keepers, Inc., an urban farm in Southwest Philadelphia where she worked with high school students to grow, harvest and sell fresh organic produce, and led discussions and hands-on exercises related to nutrition, food sovereignty, health, cooking, and guidance counseling.

View a photo gallery from Student Research Day 2013 >>