Dr. Adeyinka Dayo Named Inaugural TORCH Scholar by National Dental Association Foundation, Colgate-Palmolive


Dr. Adeyinka Dayo

Philadelphia – Penn Dental Medicine faculty member Dr. Adeyinka Dayo has been recognized by the National Dental Association Foundation and Colgate-Palmolive as the inaugural recipient of their Trailblazers in Oral Health Research Scholars of African Heritage (TORCH) fellowship. The TORCH program seeks to attract and develop young researchers of African heritage with the goal of increasing representation and participation in oral health research in both academia and industry, and in turn, ultimately advance the impact of oral health science on communities of color. Selected for their contributions to the field and their promise for making future contributions, recipients receive a stipend, mentorship, and professional development programs as well as industry exposure through Colgate.

“As an African-American clinician-scientist, I understand the gravity of the global impact of health disparities and the importance of translational clinical research in bridging the gap,” says Dr. Dayo. “I’m honored to be part of this program, because it will provide me the tools which I need to further refine my research and dedicate my time to establish possible radiographic links between vascular calcifications and comorbidities, most especially diabetes – a condition affecting over 34.2 million U.S. adults.”

“Dr. Dayo has such dedication to research and translating that into the clinical care of patients,” says Dr. Pat Corby, Associate Dean of Translational Research at Penn Dental Medicine, who has been among Dr. Dayo’s mentors at the School. “She is very deserving of this important award.”

Originally from Nigeria, Dr. Dayo, Assistant Professor of Oral Medicine, has been part of the School’s faculty since 2019, after obtaining her Master’s in Dental Science and Certificate in Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology from the University of Texas Health, San Antonio in 2018. Presently, she is a 2022 DMD candidate within the Penn Dental Medicine advanced standing students program, which enables foreign-trained dentists to earn their degree.

Dr. Dayo began her dental career at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Nigeria, earning her B.D.S. in 2003 and completing postgraduate specialty training in oral medicine in 2013. Her interest in diagnostic dentistry and community service was ignited during her one-year mandatory national service as a new graduate dentist in Nigeria. She served in the lower income communities and was exposed to health disparities and inequality in health services. She understood first-hand, the need for access to dental specialty care for the underserved and was able to carry out a community-based dental awareness program for which she got a national commendation. Her early research at that time was focused on early diagnosis of disease, using polymerase chain reaction and thin blood slides to detect the role of herpes simplex virus and malaria parasite infections in erythema multiforme, the results of which formulated a treatment protocol for those patients.

Upon her relocation to the United States in 2013, Dr. Dayo continued in the field of diagnostic dentistry and early detection of diseases. Using Photothermal radiometry and modulated luminescence (PTR-LUM), she was able to detect a sensitivity of 80% in detection of early/ recurrent caries lesions and conclude on its usefulness as an adjunctive measure in caries detection. Her specific goal is to develop diagnostic strategies using CBCT volumes to identify biomarkers of early diagnosis. Subclinical calcifications that are critical in the evaluation of stroke risk (Calcified carotid artery atheromas- CCAA) or other comorbidities can be detected as incidental findings in imaging modalities, finding a trend in occurrence of vascular calcifications and comorbidities is a vital ground for research. “Medial arterial calcification is one such incidental finding that could potentially serve as a biomarker for diabetes,” explains Dr. Dayo.

Currently, she plans to conduct an ethically guided retrospective chart review, as well as design new prospective clinical trials with broad collaboration, to establish the link between medial arterial calcification, diabetes, and periodontal bone loss. The World Health Organization (WHO) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG target 3.4) aims to reduce by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) through prevention and treatment. “NCDs kill about 40 million people annually with approximately 70% of deaths globally,” says Dr. Dayo. “Hence, sensitive biological predictive markers for early detection of these disease conditions will contribute toward achieving the goal of reduction in mortality rate from NCDs. It will be a privilege for me to be able to contribute in this way to help reduce the global burden of diabetes.”