Student, Faculty Research Recognized by AADOCR/IADR


Philadelphia – Penn Dental Medicine students and faculty research was in the spotlight at the recent 2024 IADR/AADOCR/CADR General Session & Exhibition held in New Orleans, March 13-16, with more than 50 student and faculty researchers participating in the scientific program and a number of them recognized with awards.

“It was exciting to have such a strong representation of the School’s research at the general session. Our goal is to make research more accessible for students and grow our community of evidence-based practitioners, future scientists, and academic leaders,” says Dr. Esra Sahingur, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Student Research.

Penn Dental Medicine awardees and student researchers from the 2024 IADR/AADOCR/CADR General Session include the following.

Student Awards

AADOCR Student Research Fellowship

The AADOCR Student Research Fellowship encourages dental students living in the U.S. to consider careers in oral health research. Upon completion of their research projects, recipients present their project at a future AADOCR meeting. Four DMD students were recognized with a fellowship award.

Student Researcher Project Faculty Mentor
Manuel Acuna (D’26) “Investigation of Anti‐Adhesive Biomaterial in Single‐Species and Mixed‐Species Oral Biofilm” Geelsu Hwang, PhD
Kyungjoon Park (D’25) “The Role of NF-kB in Mesenchymal Stem Cells during the Mechanical Force-induced Bone Remodeling” Hyeran Helen Jeon, DDS, MSD, DScD
Lauren Rudolph (D’26) “Evaluation of topical delivery of antimicrobial proteins in chewing gums to neutralize HPV and C. albicans in oral cancer samples” Henry Daniell, PhD
Michael Troka (D’26) “CellStimDL: A Novel Deep Learning Approach to Predict Cytokine Stimulation in Single Cell Omics Data” Dana Graves, DDS, DMSc

AADOCR Hatton Competition

The AADOCR Hatton Competition is designed for young investigators who exhibit potential for a productive career in dental research and is awarded in three categories – junior, senior, and postdoctoral.

Marshall Padilla, a NIDCR T90 postdoctoral fellow within the Center for Innovation & Precision Dentistry (CiPD), Penn Dental Medicine’s collaborative center with Penn Engineering, won first place in the AADOCR Hatton Competition Postdoctoral category. His winning project was titled, “mRNA Lipid Nanoparticles for Next-Generation Oral Cancer Tumor Suppressor Therapy.” Dr. Padilla’s research focuses on developing new materials to enhance the efficacy and safety of biological therapeutics, working in the lab of Dr. Michael J. Mitchell of Penn’s Department of Bioengineering and in collaboration with Dr. Shuying (Sheri) Yang and Dr. Anh Le in Penn Dental Medicine.

 AADOCR Bloc Travel Grant

The AADOCR Bloc Travel Grants support travel for U.S. dental or PhD students, residents, and postdoctoral fellows to the AADOCR/CADR Annual Meeting & Exhibition for presentation of scientific papers.

Jessica Hao (D’26) was awarded a Travel Grant for her abstract, “ZIF-8 as pH-Responsive 5-Fluorouracil Carrier Against oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma” under the mentorship of Dr. Chider Chen from the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and Dr. Fusun Ozer in the Department of Preventive & Restorative Sciences.

Marshall Padilla also received a Bloc Travel Grant.

IADR Consortium of Translational Orthodontic Research (CTOR) Award for Student Excellence in Orthodontics Research

 This award acknowledges excellence in orthodontics research conducted and presented by dental students and graduate students at the IADR General Session & Exhibition.

Sara Ha (D’25) received this award for her research titled, “Histologic Analysis of Bone Remodeling during Maxillary Expansion: Young and Middle‐Aged Mice.”

Faculty Awards

IADR Innovation in Oral Care Award

Jointly sponsored by IADR and Haleon, this competitive award is designed to advance oral care programs directed toward the development of innovative and novel compounds, biomaterials, or devices that can be used ultimately at the public health level.

Geelsu Hwang, Assistant Professor in the Division of Restorative Dentistry, was awarded the Innovation Award for his research. Dr. Hwang’s research is centered on applying engineering principles and tools to understand the pathogenesis of various biofilm-associated oral diseases and to develop therapeutic approaches. His research also includes the dynamic interplay between host and microbes in the context of infectious oral disease. He has published extensively in the area of biofilm research using engineering, biochemical/biophysical, confocal imaging methodologies, and mathematical modeling.

AADOCR Anne D. Haffajee Fellowship

The Anne D. Haffajee Fellowship was created in recognition of Dr. Haffajee’s many contributions to clinical research in Periodontology and Oral Biology and her prominence as a female leader and role model in the field. The immediate goal of this fellowship is to support women researchers at the early stages of their scientific careers. The long-term objective is to increase the representation of women at the higher ranks in science and academia in the field of Oral Biology.

 Dr. Chenshuang Li, Assistant Professor of Orthodontics and Co-Director of Orthodontic Clinic, was recognized for the strength and potential of her research and teaching with this Fellowship.  The primary focus of Dr. Li’s research is the functional investigation of molecules involved in tissue development and regeneration, as well as ligand-receptor binding, signaling transduction, and stem cell biology. Her extensive publications and awards demonstrate her strong clinical and research background, as well as her achievement and passion for pursuing a career as an educator and clinician-scientist. During the AADOCR session, Dr. Li presented a project titled, the “Relationship between Buccal Osteotomy Angulation and Asymmetric Expansion in SARPE.”

Student & Postdoc Presentations

Among the abstracts presented by students and postdocs at the 2024 IADR/AADOCR/CADR General Session were the following:

Student Researcher Project Mentor
Manuel Acuna (D’26) Investigation of Anti‐Adhesive Biomaterial in Single‐Species and Mixed‐Species Oral Biofilm Geelsu Hwang, PhD
Lindsay Fisher (D’25) Effects of Aging on Mechanical Force‐Induced Bone Remodeling: MicroCT Analysis Hyeran Helen Jeon, DDS, MSD, DScD
Steven Fredeen (C’22, D’25) Experimental Validations of VFEM Models for PVZ and PVLD Crowns Yu Zhang, PhD
Angelina Ge (D’26) Adolescent Receptiveness to Dentist Involvement in COVID‐19 and HPV Vaccination Katherine France, DMD, MBE
Sarah Greenberg (D’26) State Policies and Population Factors in Dental Vaccination Involvement Katherine France, DMD, MBE
Simran Grewal (D’25) Effects of Exosomes Released by GMSC‐Derived NCSC‐Like Cells on Macrophages Qunzhou Zhang, PhD
Sara Ha (D’25) Histologic Analysis of Bone Remodeling During Maxillary Expansion: Young and Middle‐Aged Mice Hyeran Helen Jeon, DDS, MSD, DScD
Jessica Hao (D’26) ZIF‐8 as pH‐Responsive 5‐Fluorouracil Carrier Against Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Chider Chen, PhD and Fusun Ozer, DMD, PhD
Nina Iradi (D’25) Diurnal Rhythm is Associated With Opioid Use After Third‐Molar Extraction Katherine N. Theken, Pharm.D., Ph.D.
Charlotte Lenes (D’25) Investigating the Role of Pro–Inflammatory Fibroblasts in Periodontitis and Peri–Implantitis Kang I Ko, DMD, DScD
Drew MacElroy (D’25) Modulation of a. Actinomycetemcomitans (Aa) and Cdt Induced Inflammation in Macrophages Kathleen Boesze-Battaglia, PhD
Ryan Noseworthy (D’25) Probing Interfacial Strength and Crack Resistance of Novel Composition‐Gradient Zirconia Yu Zhang, PhD
Teny Odaimi (D’25) 3D Printed Polymers in Dentistry and Their Clinical Applications Eva Anadioti
Lauren Rudolph D’26 Dextranase, Mutanase, and Lipase Chewing Gum Enzymatic Biofilm Suppression Henry Daniell, PhD
Arjun Sandhu D’26 Oral Health Quality of Life (OHQoL) in People With HIV (PWH) and Depression Temitope Omolehinwa, BDS, DScD, DMD
Stefanie Wyszkowski (D’26) Comparative Analysis of Full‐Arch Abutment‐Level Implant Impressions Julián Conejo, DDS, MSc
Abdulaziz Alshahrani (GD’24) Optical and Mechanical Properties of Speed Sintered Yttria Stabilized Zirconia Yu Zhang, PhD
Maram Bawazir (GD’25) Modulation of Mast‐Cell‐Activation by Small‐Molecule MRGPRX2 Inhibitor; Implication for Periodontitis Hydar Ali, PhD
Marwa Bawazir (GD’24) Damage Tolerance and Microstructure of Dental Ceramics Yu Zhang, PhD
Tahir Hamza (GD’25) Serum Cytokines in Periodontal Health, Disease & Post‐SRP Flavia Teles, DDS, MS, DMSc
Afnan Khalifah (GD’25) The Role of PERK Haplotypes in Periodontal Inflammation and Depression PWH on ART Kelly L. Jordan-Sciutto, PhD
Dana Mominkhan (GD’24) A Novel Clinically Relevant Multi‐Species Biofilm Model of Endodontic Infections Flavia Teles, DDS, MS, DMSc
Hong Huy Tran, Postdoc Targeted Biofilm Treatment Using Magnetic Microcapsule Collectives Hyun (Michel) Koo, DDS, MS, PhD
Zhi Ren, Postdoc Selenomonas Sputigena Motility Mediates Supragingival Biofilm Spatial Structure Hyun (Michel) Koo, DDS, MS, PhD and Kathleen J. Stebe, PhD
Marshall Scott Padilla, Postdoc MRNA Lipid Nanoparticles for Next‐Generation Oral Cancer Tumor Suppressor Therapy Shuying (Sheri) Yang, MD, MS, PhD and Anh D. Le, DDS, PhD
Rahul Singh, Postdoc Chewing Gum Delivery to Prevent or Treat Oral Diseases Henry Daniell, PhD
Zhenting Xiang,  Postdoc Candida Albicans in Dental Plaque: Unveiling Fungal Traits in the Tooth Niche Hyun (Michel) Koo, DDS, MS, PhD
Mousa Younesi, Postdoc A Vascularized Mouth‐on‐a‐Chip Model to Study Microbe‐Host Interactions Dongeun (Dan) Huh, PhD and Hyun (Michel) Koo, DDS, MS, PhD


Penn Dental Medicine offers postgraduate training in all the dental specialty areas as well as Master of Science in Oral Biology, Master of Advanced Dental Studies, and Doctor of Science in Dentistry degrees. In addition, the School’s advanced graduate degree programs include a Master of Oral Health Sciences for both DMD track students and non-U.S.-trained dentists. Additionally, we recently launched a Master of Science in Oral and Population Health. You can learn more about our advanced graduate degree programs and research at Penn Dental Medicine here.