The CiPD-Colgate-Palmolive Fellowship is advancing research and continuing to support the development of clinicians scientists at Penn. Launched in 2017, the Fellowship provides financial support to students engaged in postdoctoral research studies at Penn Dental Medicine and Penn Engineering focused on childhood dental caries and novel anti-biofilm approaches to promote oral health.


CiPD-Colgate-Palmolive Fellows

Dr. Lee, who received her B.S. and Ph.D. in Chemistry and Nanoscience from Ewha Woman’s University in South Korea, is currently a postdoctoral researcher in Penn Engineering’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Daeyeon Lee, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Dr. Koo, here at Penn Dental Medicine. During her postdoctoral research, she hopes to apply her experience in chemistry and nanoscience to develop applications of nanomaterials in dental medicine. As a CiPD-Colgate Fellow, she will work on developing new biomaterials and drug-delivery systems for dental biofilm prevention and therapeutic interventions against biofilm-associated oral diseases.

Dr. Yuan Liu, who was the CiPD-Colgate-Palmolive Fellowship inaugural awardee in 2017, is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Oral Health Sciences at the Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at School of Dentistry University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Liu holds a DDS (2003), MS (2005), and PhD (2009) in oral microbiology from West China College of Stomatology, Sichuan University. She completed her last two years of PhD study (2007-2009) at the Iowa School of Dentistry. After graduation, she became a faculty in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, West China College of Stomatology and was promoted as Vice-director of the department in 2011. From 2014 to 2017, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Penn Dental Medicine where she developed her research focus on two well-defined fronts: Disease mechanisms and Therapeutic strategies. She was then promoted to instructor at PDM and completed her faculty DMD (2023) before joining Kornberg.

Dr. Liu has a background in oral microbiology and translational research. She intends to develop a career of bridging clinical and translational research to be able to translate research findings into innovative strategies for children’s oral health. Dr. Liu was recently awarded a K23 Career Development Award from NIH/NIDCR to conduct research focusing on early oral fungal infection and childhood caries. Dr. Liu has published more than 50 manuscripts in top-tier journals (h-index: 19). Additionally, she won several prestigious-competitive awards for investigators conducting dental/oral research in US/Canada.

Dr. Zhi Ren, Colgate Fellow (2019-2021), is a dentist-scientist with unique training in both clinical and basic sciences, Dr. Zhi Ren recently graduated from CiPD’s NIDCR-sponsored R90 Postdoctoral Training Program and received the K99 Pathway to Independence Award from NIH/NIDCR. During his training, Dr. Ren made several groundbreaking discoveries that advanced our understanding of how biofilms form and cause oral diseases, leading to new targeted and affordable therapeutic strategies. His work has been recognized with numerous awards, including two Hatton Awards from the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) and the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR), as well as from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). His research has been highlighted by NIDCR/NIH and featured in several media outlets including an article in the Scientific American. In his role as Assistant Director for Research and Training, Dr. Ren leverages his extensive expertise and experience to further enhance CiPD’s mission to promote transdisciplinary research collaborations and training the next-generation leaders at the interface of disciplines.

Dr. Xiang, who earned her Ph.D. in Oral Microbiology and DMD in Endodontics in China, joined Penn Dental Medicine in 2021 as a postdoctoral researcher. Her research focuses on understanding the pathogenesis of severe childhood caries and seeking novel therapeutic strategies. As a CiPD-Colgate Fellow, she will incorporate high-throughput multi-omics, tissue engineering, and real-time spatial imaging approaches to study how bacterial-fungal interactions shape the biofilm community and host responses to modulate virulence.