Information and resources on coronavirus (COVID-19)
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
Eugene Ko, DDS
Deputy Director, Clinical Research Operations
Assistant Professor of Clinical Oral Medicine
As Deputy Director, Clinical Research Operations with the Center for Clinical & Translational Research, Dr. Ko supports the leadership of the Center in managing a team of translational scientists to design, validate, and execute translational plans for the growing portfolio of Penn Dental Medicine research. In addition, he provides direct mentorship to the School’s faculty and students on clinical and translational research.
Since 2018, Dr. Ko has been Assistant Professor of Clinical Oral Medicine at Penn Dental Medicine. A graduate of Columbia University, College of Dental Medicine, Dr. Ko was trained in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology at New York Presbyterian-Columbia University, followed by a Clinical Research Fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Prior to his appointment at Penn Dental Medicine, Dr. Ko was a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, School of Dentistry.
Dr. Ko’s research interests are centered on the the advancement of oral health through translational research and novel medical devices and technologies.
Director, Clinical Research Operations and Compliance
Marta has over 16 years of experience in healthcare, with the last ten 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 Director of Clinical Research Operations and Compliance, Marta leverages her attention to detail, precision, scientific mind and analytical skills to developing and implementing innovative solutions and processes to improve efficiencies and overseeing numerous projects and clinical research activities. 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.
Michelle Shuster, MPH, CHES, CCRC
Associate Director, Regulatory Services and Coordination
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 Program Manager
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.
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.
Research Dental Assistant
Renee has been involved in the field of dentistry for over twenty years. Her experience and passion for patient care has driven her to gain the knowledge and ability to join the research team. Renee studied at Philadelphia University, and received her CDA certificate from Delaware Valley Academy for medical and dental assistants. As a Dental Assistant, she is responsible for making sure that all procedures run smoothly and that our dental professionals have the materials and support they need. Renee also specializes in Infection Control, and makes clinic cleanliness and safety her top priority. When not working, Renee enjoys cooking, baking and spending quality time with her beautiful family.
Yuan Liu, DDS, MS, PhD
Yuan holds a DDS, MS, and PhD from West China College of Stomatology. She joined the PDM family as a postdoctoral researcher in 2014, and became a Research Associate in May 2020. Before joining PDM, she served as Vice Director of Pediatric Dentistry at her alma mater. Over the years, she has developed a keen interest and passion for understanding the pathogenic mechanisms of dental caries, especially early childhood caries. At Penn Dental Medicine, Yuan continues to advance the knowledge in the field of cariology on two well-defined fronts: Disease Mechanisms and Therapeutic Approaches. She has authored over 40 scientific articles in top-tier journals, including Nature Communications, PNAS, Science Robotics, ISME J, ACS Nano, Biomaterials, PLoS Pathogens, and Journal of Dental Research. Her research contributions were recognized by various awards including AADR Hatton Awards and IADR Women in Science Promising Talent Award. Recently, Yuan has been recognized for her research as a 2021 recipient of the Colgate Award for Research Excellence (CARE), which focuses on discovering the new role for fungal infection in the etiopathogenesis of severe early childhood caries, while identifying potential fungal biomarkers associated with caries severity. At the same time, she has been working on low-cost biotechnology- and nanotechnology-based approaches to precisely target cariogenic biofilms. Outside of work, Yuan enjoys playing Chinese checkers and cooking with her daughter. She also loves traveling and playing Chinese zither.
Cheryl O’Donnell-Flynn, RDH, PDHP
Research Dental Hygienist
Cheryl has over 40 years’ experience in dentistry and started as a dental assistant. She has experience in hospital-based dental residency programs and private practice. Cheryl earned her certificate for dental assisting at CCP and her Associate’s degree in Dental Hygiene from Manor College; she is also a licensed public health dental hygiene practitioner. Cheryl currently attends the University of Pennsylvania and will graduate with her Bachelor of Arts in Applied Arts and Sciences in the Spring of 2021. Her passion for providing the best patient care and her integrated approach to treating the whole person makes her uniquely qualified to work in Translational Research because it merges oral health with overall physical health. During her free time, Cheryl enjoys traveling, cooking, reading, and spending time with her husband and three sons. Her family also includes a boxer dog named Tigerlily and kittens named Duchess and Figaro.
Kimberly Cannon Valentino, CDA, RDH, MSA
Research Dental Hygienist
Kimberly has over 29 years’ experience in Dentistry. Her experience ranges from clinical dental assisting, private practice, hospital-based dentistry, and a variety of clinical research projects on topics including oral, head, and neck cancer; infective endocarditis; oral lichen planus; and HIV research.
Kim earned her certificate for Dental Assisting and Associates Degree in Dental Hygiene from Community College of Philadelphia where she has also been employed as a clinical instructor for over 18 years. She earned her Bachelor’s in Health Education and Master’s in Health Care Administration from West Chester University. Her vast experience in dentistry and passion for research has made her uniquely qualified to work in the Center for Clinical and Translational Research.
During her free time Kim enjoys cooking, sailing, reading, and especially traveling. You can find her on her down time hanging out with her English Bulldog, Stella and cat, Sangria.
Research Dental Hygienist
With over 25 years of dental hygiene experience in private practice, Andrea is deeply passionate about patient care and recognizes that oral health and physical health have a symbiotic relationship. Having always been attracted to the sciences, and with a natural attention to detail, a transition into dental research combines her strengths while broadening her skills. At the Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Andrea implements the various study interventions according to protocol by obtaining dental measurements. Originally from Philadelphia, Andrea currently resides in Sothern New Jersey. When not working, she looks forward to traveling, mostly in Europe and spending time with her friends and family.
Clinical Research Coordinator
Mita brings her experiences in clinical research and project management of clinical studies that focused on maternal and child health in under-resourced countries. At Thomas Jefferson University, she was involved in coordinating all the global health activities relative to collaborative research as well as educational exchanges in the Office of Global Affairs and the Center for Global Engagement. Her support efforts ranged from the Thomas Jefferson University India Center, the All-Island Ireland Center, and country-specific efforts in Latin America, South Africa, and Israel. Here, in her role as a clinical research coordinator at the Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Mita is involved in several studies where she manages recruitment, screening, data collection, and maintenance of regulatory study documents. Prior to transitioning to the healthcare sector, she worked in finance for almost 13 years and in Information Technology for 3 years. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking, traveling, cooking, and baking. Mita is from Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Clinical Research Coordinator
As a part of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Collin is the lead clinical research coordinator on The OHART Study, which is a research study that investigates ways to improve the health and quality of life of individuals patients living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), who have been on antiretroviral therapy (ART) for at least one year. Collin is passionate about increasing care for vulnerable groups and enjoys developing meaningful relationships with subjects to ensure an enjoyable and efficient visit for all. He has a history of working in both media/communications and the healthcare industry, the intersection of which he is passionate about. Originally from New York, Collin has been in Philadelphia for the past five years. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, pursuing a dual MPA/MPH, and hopes to earn a doctorate in the near future.
Karin graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology. As a student researcher she worked in laboratory which ultimately sparked her interest in research. To build on her interest, she is now pursuing a master’s degree in regulatory affairs at the University of Pennsylvania, learning the foundation and application of clinical investigations and corresponding regulations. In her role as a research specialist at the Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Karin is involved in maintenance of lab protocols, preparation of the laboratory for sample processing, assisting in the collection of biospecimens, sample processing, and data collection. Karin is originally from Slovakia and likes to explore new countries by traveling around Europe. She enjoys playing lacrosse, hiking, and spending time at different coffee shops around the city trying to find the best iced coffee
In her role as a research assistant, Aliza is responsible for facilitating the recruitment of several clinical studies by the Center for Clinical and Translational Research. This includes pre-screening and determining subject eligibility based on the study protocol as well as maintaining subject retention. Other high-level tasks include working with principal investigators in conceptualizing and implementing new recruitment methods for the study. In addition to her work at the Center, Aliza also works as a dental assistant in private practice. As an international dentist from India, Aliza is planning to pursue a dental program in the United States where she will continue her practice in the near future. In her free time, she loves exploring different cuisines and spending time with her toddler and her husband.
Kristina found her calling for comforting others in their most vulnerable times while working as a certified nursing assistant. Now, she is currently enrolled in the 5-year bachelors of science nursing program at Drexel University in Philadelphia pursuing her dream of becoming a nurse. She continues to develop her clinical skills at various city hospitals on rotations including providing phlebotomy services at the Center for Clinical and Translational Research. She has fully immersed herself into supporting the Center and broadening her clinical research experience by becoming an integral member of the daily operations, assisting hygienists, and coordinating participant visits. When Kristina is not at work or in class, she is baking, exploring new cities, or spending time with friends and family.
Research Dental Assistant
Yaser is a first-generation immigrant from Iraq where he practiced dentistry and developed his sense of social responsibility. As a research assistant at the Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Yaser helps the research team maintain an effective workflow through his ability to practice infection control while prepping rooms and assist with recruitment by dedicating mornings at external clinics. His plan is to continue his education and pursue a career in dentistry in the United States. He chose Penn Dental Medicine as the place to pursue his goal in part because of the shared philosophy between the school and his own, which is contributing to the health and wellness of a community. Yaser has served as a disaster volunteer for the American Cross and has been a regular blood donor for cancer patients at MD Anderson Blood Bank in Texas. For fun, he enjoys playing soccer, traveling, and shopping. Most of all, he thrives on spending time with his family, who mean everything to him.
Michael attended Bryn Athyn College for his bachelor’s degree in Biology. He currently works as a research assistant in the Center for Clinical and Translational Research. In addition to expanding his knowledge of scientific practices for clinical research, Michael works on several studies and helps with sample pre-processing. He was previously the recipient of the Lion Award from Bryn Athyn’s lacrosse team: an award given yearly to the player voted “best teammate.” In his free time, Michael enjoys playing lacrosse, watching Formula One series racing, and is currently pursuing a private pilot license. Michael is from Philadelphia.
Dennis Sourvanos, BSDH, DDS
Postdoctoral Periodontics, DScD Candidate
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.
Jiahui (Madelaine) Li, DMD candidate
Clinical Research Honors Program 2020-2021
Madelaine Li is a third-year dental student pursuing her DMD degree at Penn Dental. Prior to dental school, Madelaine completed her undergraduate education at Rice University. She participated in a clinical research project at University of Texas School of Dentistry, which sparked her interests in clinical research. Through the Clinical and Translational Research Honors program at Penn Dental, she is involved in different projects that aim to provide evidence for improving oral hygiene awareness in patients, and protecting dental professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic, both areas which she is very passionate about. Outside of dental school, she enjoys trying different cuisines and recreating them at home.
Moussa Ghannam, DMD candidate
Clinical Research Honors Program 2020-2021
Mousa Ghannam is a second year Doctor of Dental Medicine and Masters in Public Health (DMD/MPH) dual-degree student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. A Michigan native, he earned his BS in Chemistry from Kalamazoo College in 2017. Upon graduating, he had the opportunity to study salivary gland development as a post-baccalaureate research fellow at the National Institutes of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). Working for the NIH also afforded Mousa the opportunity to visualize National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data with fellows pursuing the Oral Health Informatics fellowship at NIDCR. Since then, he has become passionate about informatics and its applications within dentistry, particularly public health. As a clinical research honors student at CCTR, Mousa is gaining exposure to innovative ways that information technology can support Clinical and Translational Research. Outside of research, he plays on the intramural soccer team, and beatboxes for the Dental School’s acapella group, SoundBites. His favorite cereal is Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Dr. Lander is an Advanced Graduate Dental Education Resident in Periodontics at Penn Dental Medicine, concurrently pursuing a Master of Science in Oral Biology. After obtaining a joint Master and Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree (MChD/BChD) from the University of Leeds (England), Dr. Lander further explored his research interests during his time as a maxillofacial Senior House Office in London. Dr. Lander was named a recipient of the prestigious Thouron Award, providing the opportunity to collaborate with world-leading researchers at the Center for Clinical and Translational Research at Penn. As a periodontal resident, his current research interests include the role of periodontal inflammation, and its impact on systemic health in addition to implant dentistry. Aside from his aspiration to pursue a career in clinical practice and academic research, Dr. Lander enjoys playing competitive soccer in addition to a passion for music, travel, and culinary arts.
Kailin Baechle, DMD candidate
Dual-Degree MSE in Bioengineering
Research Honors Program 2020-2022
Kailin Baechle is a fourth-year dental student pursuing an MSE in bioengineering from the UPenn School of Engineering alongside her DMD. Through her work in the MSE program as well as the PDM Research Honors program, Kailin focuses on optimizing laser parameters for photobiomodulation applications in the dental field. Prior to joining PDM, Kailin received a BS in biomedical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis where she conducted research on cardiac transduction as well as worked on several product development projects. Her primary entrepreneurial project WOOTA (Water Out Of Thin Air) developed a grid-independent device to produce potable water from humidity in underdeveloped areas such as Madagascar. Outside of clinic and research, Kailin enjoys hiking with her two huskies and training American Saddlebred horses.
Peter Kavecky is an international student studying biochemistry and biophysical chemistry for pharmaceutical applications at the University of Technology in Bratislava. He joined the Center for Clinical and Translational Research as a Visiting Scholar with an ambition to learn about clinical research, challenge himself and grow as a student and future medical professional. Peter is pursuing his dream of becoming a Biomedical Chemist. Here at CCTR, he is actively assisting in the preparation of study visits and helps ensure clinical operations function appropriately. In his free time, Peter enjoys learning about history, playing sports like soccer and working out.