College of Dentistry spotlights student research Friday

by Erin Wirth, UNMC College of Dentistry | February 23, 2021

Image with caption: Yahia Al Sarhani (left) and Emily Walker, College of Dentistry Research Day 2020 winners in the dental hygiene category

Yahia Al Sarhani (left) and Emily Walker, College of Dentistry Research Day 2020 winners in the dental hygiene category

Mark Herzberg, DDS, PhD, president of the American Association for Dental Research, will speak Friday as the UNMC College of Dentistry showcases student research work at its annual Research Day.

The virtual event, from 12:30-5 p.m., will feature the 54th annual Frank M. Wentz Student Scientific Program, showcasing students' oral health research projects. The UNMC community is invited to attend either part of or the entire event to learn about and support dental student research.

"Each year, our third-year dental students, fourth-year dental hygiene students and postgraduate students present the results of their original research projects," said Amanda Dolen, an instructor in the department of dental hygiene and Research Day committee chair. "They work with faculty mentors, gaining insight into how they can help shape the future the oral health through research."

Presentations will cover topics from clinical and basic sciences to educational research. The top three presentations will be honored in three categories -- dental, dental hygiene and postgraduate research.

Last year's dental research winner Colton Allen worked with faculty mentor Ali Nawshad, PhD, to research palate development and how to help patients' improve their speaking abilities.

"This project helped me better understand how I can improve the quality of my patients' lives through research," said Allen, adding that he was pleased that the college had allowed him to follow his passion for both dentistry and research.

Last year's winners in the dental hygiene category were Yahia Al Sarhani and Emily Walker; the winner in the postgraduate category was Yanqiu Li, a graduate student in the department of oral biology.

Dr. Herzberg, this year's keynote speaker, is a professor in the department of diagnostic and biological sciences in the School of Dentistry - University of Minnesota and the current president of the American Association for Dental Research, a nonprofit organization dedicated to driving dental, oral and craniofacial research to advance health and well-being. His presentation is titled "Developing calprotectin-specific mRNA as an antimicrobial therapy."

The event will conclude with a virtual awards ceremony. Register here to receive the Zoom link.

Dental professionals can receive two free dental continuing education credits -- one credit for viewing at least six student research presentations and one credit for viewing the keynote speaker.

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