Penn Dental Student Takes First Place in Innovation Competition


Third-year Penn Dental Medicine student Ola Adel Farrag (D’21) presenting at the Shils Stars Dental Student Competition.

Philadelphia – Third-year Penn Dental Medicine student Ola Adel Farrag (D’21) has been recognized for her innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, taking first place in the third annual Shils Stars Dental Student Competition.

Presented by the Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to innovation in health care, the Student Competition included submissions from U.S. – and Canada-based dental students who pitched their ideas, innovations, and inventions to a panel of judges led by Stanley M. Bergman, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Henry Schein, Inc. Farrag took the top prize for her “P-File”, a design for a new endodontic file.

“You don’t need to be a genius to become an inventor, you just need to observe things happening around you, and let your creativity lead you. When an idea strikes you, never let it go no matter how simple it could seem,” says Farrag, who said her idea for a new design of an endodontic file came to her while assisting in the School’s endodontic clinic. She sees potential for her file helping to solve a challenge in retreatment cases.

“This was such an exciting event and a memorable experience. Winning the competition is just the beginning,” she adds. Farrag has applied for a patent in the U.S and Egypt and for international protection and is currently working on manufacturing and testing the prototype.

“Our event is an exciting opportunity for health care entrepreneurs to motivate, educate, and engage with one another in a mission to advance innovation in oral health,” said Steven W. Kess, President of the Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund’s Board of Directors. “From our competition showcasing young entrepreneurs to the recognition of social entrepreneurs who help expand access to care, Dr. Shils’ legacy lives on in elevating the contributions of the next generation of health care leaders.”

Other student winners in the competition included Michael Schiappa, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, taking second place for an oral capnography accessory; Dr. Supontep Teerakanok, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, in third place for fabrication of novel orthodontic cement; and Fareed Tareen, New York University College of Dentistry, in fourth place for an invisible needle syringe.

The Student Competition was held in conjunction with the Shils Entrepreneurial Fund’s 17th annual awards ceremony, which took place this year at New York University College of Dentistry on October 16.