Student Research Day 2015


Philadelphia — Penn Dental Medicine turned the spotlight on student research with its annual Student Research Day. Held May 14, students shared their research activities with the Penn Dental Medicine community through an afternoon of poster presentations. A total of 93 posters were presented, featuring 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.

“This day showcases the activities of our students in advancing the profession by gaining new knowledge as it relates to delivering clinical care, radiology, medically complex cases, community outreach, and the laboratory, reinforcing that the crown jewel of Penn Dental Medicine has always been and continues to be our student body,” says Dr. Kathleen Boesze-Battaglia, Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Director of the research honors program, who extends a special thanks to the students of the Vernon Brightman Research Society, who organized Student Research Day.

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 from the Summer Research Program included the following:

  • Souren Hajjar received first place for a research project on a niche environment for cancer stem cells with faculty preceptor Dr. Anh Le of the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery/Pharmacology.
  • Catherine Campbell was awarded second place of a study titled, the “Relationship between MKR mice lacking IGF-1 receptors in masseter muscle and impacts on craniofacial bone growth” with faculty preceptor Dr. Elisabeth Barton, formerly of the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology.
  • The third place award went to Yoojin Rhee for a project titled, “The Effect of Depression on Expression of the Cell Cycle Protein E2F1 in the Central Nervous System” with faculty preceptor Dr. Kelly Jordan-Sciutto of the Department of Pathology and Dr. Cagla Akay Espinoza.

The winners within the Bridging the Gaps community externship program were: Brittany Gragg, awarded first place for her project, Promoting Positive Oral Health Habits; Abby Yavorek, awarded second place for From Tots to Flower Pots: Summer Camp at Francis Myers; and tied for third place was Sierra Van Der Dries for Earth’s Keepers: Urban Farming in Southwest Philadelphia and Jasmine Mohandesi and Corey Toscano for their work with Ready, Willing, and Able.

Awards were also presented for excellence in radiology to students Betty Yip, Amy Patel, and Caroline Heidt. As award winners they will attend the AAOMR Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Sept. 29- Oct. 3, 2015.

And as a way to advance ongoing research for junior researchers and students, Penn Dental Medicine launched a new initiative last year, the AADR Travel Awards, which enable the recipients to attend the annual IACR/AADR meeting. This year recipients, who will attend the meeting in Los Angeles, March 16-19, 2016, include: Philip Chang, Riddhi Desai, Souren Hajjar, Kristine Fu, Yoojin Rhee, Nishat Shahabuddin, Kyung jin Lee, Je Dong Ryu, Parul Sangwan, and Jeff Zhang.

All students participating in Student Research Day also submitted an abstract for inclusion in an abstract booklet – view booklet >>

View photos for the 2015 Student Research Day >>