Information on the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on patient care and School/University operations. Plus, resources for the Penn Dental Medicine community and alumni.
Patricia Corby, DDS, MS
Associate Dean, Translational Research
Associate Professor of Oral Medicine
Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology
Dr. Corby was trained as a general dentist followed by a specialty and residency in Periodontics and Implants. She then obtained her MS in Biomedical Informatics from the University of Pittsburgh, with focus on clinical informatics and machine learning for clinical genomics. She also completed a postdoctoral program in Molecular Biology and Microbial Genetics from Harvard University and the Forsyth Institute. This inspired an interest in the oral microbiome and its impact on systemic health which continues to this day. Dr. Corby has served as Principal Investigator, Co-Investigator, or Consultant on a number of industry-, foundation-, and NIH-funded projects. She is an experienced clinical trialist, with over 20 years of experience designing and running high-impact clinical research projects. As Associate Dean for Translational Research, Dr. Corby lends her extensive expertise to helping others design, obtain funding for, and operationalize clinical research projects. She has trained and mentored dozens of students and postdoctoral candidates and continues this work at PDM through the Center for Clinical and Translational Research.
Dr. Corby’s major research interests center around supportive cancer care through the prevention and management of the symptoms and side effects of cancer and its treatment. This includes the identification of specific factors (oral health, innate immune response, microbiome crosstalk, genomics) that contribute to oral manifestations of cancer and cancer treatment, and the development of personalized oral care interventions to prevent and manage regimen-related toxicities. Among her current research projects is a large clinical trial to test the impact of oral health on reducing oral mucositis in patients receiving radiation for head and neck cancer, preventing oral infections and ultimately improving quality of life during cancer care. The study represents an interdisciplinary collaboration between PDM and the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine and is funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
In her spare time, Dr. Corby loves producing science-related movies with her son who is a movie director. She also spends time Facetiming with her granddaughter, who is growing into a budding scientist herself
Kira Nightingale, MS, MBA, CCRC
Director, Clinical Research Operations
Kira was first exposed to clinical research as an undergraduate at Gettysburg College while attending a semester-long Biotechnology and Drug Development program in Copenhagen, Denmark. She subsequently obtained her MS in Clinical Research from New York University, followed by her MBA. Her research experience over the past 10 years has covered laboratory work, grant submissions, regulatory affairs, clinical research coordination, and almost everything in between. As Director of Clinical Research Operations, Kira runs the day-to-day operations of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research, ensuring that all projects conducted at the Center are run smoothly, safely, and in compliance with policies and regulations. When not in the office, you can find her reading, playing with her dog Mr. Biscuit, or planning her next travel adventure
Michelle Shuster, MPH, CHES
Clinical Research Coordinator
Michelle is a public health professional with over five years of community-based experience working with low-income and diverse populations. As a Clinical Research Coordinator, Michelle conducts research projects according the study protocol, recruits participants, and is the point person for study-specific regulatory matters. Michelle graduated from Drexel Dornsife School of Public Health with her Master of Public Health. While at Drexel, she worked on several public health research projects, which sparked her interest in research. Prior to joining the Translational Medicine team, Michelle worked in the area of cancer screening and prevention at the American Cancer Society. Her activities included delivering the most effective and appropriate quality improvement strategies and improving access to cancer care. Outside of work, Michelle enjoys traveling, especially to destinations where she can take advantage of her SCUBA certification.
Clinical Research Coordinator
In his role as Clinical Research Coordinator, Matthew is involved in recruitment, screening, informed consent, data collection, study visit conduct, and maintenance of study documents. Matthew graduated from Haverford College with a degree in psychology and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Quantitative Methods and Human Development at the University of Pennsylvania. He has worked in clinical research for over four years, most recently at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where he enrolled over 1000 patients into research studies and managed regulatory needs and follow-up visits. He is passionate about using high quality evidence to inform policy and practice in healthcare and behavioral science, and ultimately seeing the tangible impact that research has on patient outcomes. A fun fact: Matt is a triplet, and lives with both of his sisters in Philadelphia.
Marta has over a decade of experience in healthcare, with the last seven years focused on supporting clinical research operations. Marta is originally from Slovakia, where her love of mathematics and physics led her to study mechanical engineering. As Clinical Manager, Marta leverages her attention to detail, precision, and scientific mind to managing the flow of research visits and participants and ensuring that all aspects of clinical operations are executed in according to protocol. Never one to sit idle, Marta is fluent in four languages, is a self-taught accordion player, and is pursuing her single engine pilot’s license.
Rosa Urbina is a native from Allentown, Pennsylvania where she spent eight years exploring a variety of roles in the dental field including administrative, clinical, and research. As Program Coordinator, Rosa is responsible for managing all Center activities and ensuring that the administrative aspects of the program run smoothly. She is both a certified medical interpreter and a certified court interpreter and is proud to serve the Hispanic community with her skills and expertise. Rosa is currently pursuing her degree in healthcare management while working full-time, and she is known throughout the school for her infectious smile and enthusiastic greetings. She enjoys adventuring into different cities and trying new cuisines and can always be counted on for a great restaurant recommendation.
Jana Yablonski, RDH
Research Dental Hygienist
Jana is a Registered Dental Hygienist with over ten years of dental experience in private practice. She received her dental hygiene training at Rowan College at Burlington County in southern New Jersey, where she grew up. Jana’s ability to build meaningful relationships with her patients has made a tremendous impact, allowing her to provide personalized care and education on the oral-systemic connection. She is a strong believer in the importance of continuing education and keeping abreast of the newest techniques and technologies, which led to her interest in dental research. At the Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Jana obtains dental measurements and provides oral care interventions for study participants. Jana is excited to be at the forefront of setting new standards for oral care. Jana loves to travel, and spends her free time exploring the outdoors, practicing yoga, and obsessing over her dog.
Senior Research Manager
Lynn is a member of the Teles Lab and is an integral part of the Center’s operations. She graduated from Southeastern Massachusetts University with a degree in Medical Technology and has always worked in a health care-related field. Lynn has worked in dental research for over three decades, focusing on the microbiome of the oral cavity and how it relates to both oral and systemic diseases. She is responsible for supervising the day-to-day activities of the lab and serves as a mentor and trainer for students who are seeking advanced dental degrees. As a member of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research team, she develops laboratory processes, drafts lab manuals and associated documents, and performs the hands-on work necessary to ensure the efficient and compliant collection, processing, and storage of specimens collected for clinical research projects. In her spare time, Lynn enjoys baking cookies, crossword puzzles, and a good Hallmark Movie.
Clinical Research Coordinator (Radiation Oncology, PSOM)
Amberly graduated from Suffolk University in Boston, MA with a degree in Biology and minor in Chemistry. She was exposed to translational research in Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania as a summer research fellow after her junior year. This experience led her to continue pursing research in Radiation Oncology as a Clinical Research Coordinator and Research Assistant in Dr. Gary Kao’s and Dr. Jay Dorsey’s lab working on circulating tumor cell (CTC) analysis. Amberly serves as an important liaison between the Center and Radiation Oncology, performing recruitment, screening, informed consent, data collection, and maintenance of study documents for the ARMOR Trial. Her inspirations are to further her education in medicine focusing on women’s health and health disparities and serving underserved minority communities. Fun fact: Amberly is a proud member of the Cape Verdean (islands off the West Coast of Africa) community. She also enjoys playing soccer, fashion, and listening to a variety of podcasts from comedy to true crime.
Dennis Sourvanos, BSDH, DDS
Dr. Sourvanos is an Advanced Graduate Dental Education Resident concurrently pursuing a Doctor of Science in Dentistry (DScD) and specialty certificate with the Department of Periodontics. Prior to joining PDM, he completed his BS in Dental Hygiene (BSDH) and Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degrees from the University of Southern California. Through his academic research with the Department of Periodontics and as an active member of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Dr. Sourvanos aims to enhance evidence-based oral healthcare and dental medicine. As a periodontal resident, his research interests are currently focused on the development of novel biotherapies for hard and soft tissue regeneration. He considers it a privilege to contribute to research that has the potential to positively impact the quality of life of his patients. Apart from research, Dr. Sourvanos enjoys several genres of DSLR Digital Photography.