Periodontics Resident Takes Top Spot in Research Competition


From left to rigth: Dr. Joseph Fiorellini, Dr. Kantapon (Tony) Rattanaprukskul, Dr. Esra Sahingur, & Dr. Yu-Cheng Chang

Philadelphia –Penn Dental Medicine periodontics resident Dr. Kantapon (Tony) Rattanaprukskul (GD’23) took top honors for his research as the first place winner of the Balint Orban Memorial Competition, held as part of the recent 109th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Periodontology in Austin, Texas. Named in honor of Dr. Balint Orban, a member of the Academy who was influential in developing the scientific foundations of contemporary periodontics, this competition is open to students currently enrolled in accredited periodontal programs in the U.S. and Canada or those who graduated less than 18 months ago. Eight finalists, selected on the basis of written abstracts, are invited to present oral presentations at each annual meeting.

Dr. Rattanaprukskul won first place in the basic science category for his project titled, “Cellular Senescence in Periodontitis: From Pathogenesis to Therapeutics.” He received a $1250 monetary prize and a plaque of recognition. His research project focused on understanding the aging-related biological events in the oral mucosa and translational studies. The World Health Organization projects that by 2030, one out of every six individuals will reach the age of 60 or above, resulting in more than 1.4 billion elderly worldwide who would potentially be experiencing myriad chronic conditions related to aging. The prevalence of periodontal diseases significantly increases in the elderly reaching more than 70% among those 65 years and older.

Dr. Sahingur and Dr. Rattanaprukskul

“This is the first time that a Penn Dental Medicine student has won the Balint Orban Memorial award,” says Dr. Esra Sahingur, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Student Research.  “We are so proud to see the next generation of clinician-scientists represent our school on the national stage, demonstrating their knowledge and scientific advancements.”

Dr. Rattanaprukskul is currently in the combined DScD/Perio program under the mentorship of Dr. Esra Sahingur.  Dr. Rattanaprukskul has been investigating the role of senescence, one of the hallmarks of aging, in periodontal health and already co-authored two original articles – one in the Journal of Dental Research titled “TLR9 Mediates Periodontal Aging by Fostering Senescence and Inflammaging” (PMID:35918888 ) and the other in the Journal Molecular Oral Microbiology titled “Fusobacterium Nucleatum Triggers Senescence Phenotype in Gingival Epithelial Cells” (PMID:37718958).

Dr. Rattanaprukskul is slated to defend his DScD dissertation at the end of this year. After graduation, he will return to Thailand where he will resume his role as a faculty member at Chulalongkorn University.

“I am honored to receive this prestigious award and I owe a special acknowledgment to all of my mentors, especially Dr. Esra Sahingur, whose guidance has played a pivotal role in shaping me into a strong clinical researcher,” says Dr. Rattanaprukskul. “Attending the meeting which showcased the newest trends and innovations in periodontal research was truly inspiring, and I look forward to future collaborations with my colleagues across the world.”