University of Pittsburgh Summer/Fall 2008 Volume 6 • Number 2
Message from the Dean
Dear Alumni and Friends:
I t was a delightful surprise to be honored among the distinguished alumni at the
Eight Annual Dean’s Scholarship Ball in April. Our administration at the School
of Dental Medicine must have gone to great lengths to maintain the element of
surprise with the Distinguished Alumnus Award for Dental Medicine this year. I
was honored to stand with my colleagues who have made tremendous contributions
to the art and science of dentistry. Fellow recipients of the 2008 awards included
Dr. C. Richard Bennett (Cert., PhD ‘67) and Dr. Jay Reznik (DMD ‘72, MDS ‘75)
for the advanced education program award for their contributions to special needs
dentistry. In addition, a Distinguished Alumnae Award for Dental Hygiene was
presented posthumously to Dr. Margaret McCormick-Pipko for her leadership in
Our distinguished alumni serve as a positive reminder of the lega-
cy established by the many individuals who have walked the halls of the
School of Dental Medicine. This issue of Pitt Dental Medicine is dedicated
to the people of the School of Dental Medicine; those whose work may
seemingly go unnoticed. Whether they be faculty, staff, or students, their involvement at the dental
school supports our mission: The School of Dental Medicine, through its teaching, research, and service,
will contribute with sensitivity to cultural, ethnic, racial, and religious diversity to the betterment of hu-
• Offering superior educational opportunities in its first professional, postdoctoral, and dental
hygiene programs that will respond to requirements of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as
well as to the broader needs of society at large.
• Providing high quality dental clinical services to the people of the Commonwealth and society
at large, both within the SDM as well as affiliated hospitals and other sites.
• Engaging in research and scholarly activities that will advance knowledge and extend the fron-
tiers of oral health.
• Offering continuing education programs reflecting recent developments and advances in den-
tistry, adapted to personal, professional, and career objectives of the practitioner, at the regional,
national, and international level.
• Engaging in public service activities by making available the expertise and educational services
of the SDM to alumni, local community and public agencies.
• Providing the leadership and cooperation in the development of innovative academic programs
to meet the changing and dynamic educational needs of the region, the Commonwealth, and
Our mission was recently updated to reflect the school’s growing scope. Our vision is that oral
health is essential to total health. This concept is gaining momentum and it is a message to be commu-
nicated through the actions and existence of our institution and its many programs.
From classroom to chairside, our footprints on oral health are far-reaching. When faculty, staff,
and students set high standards, their achievements form the positive reputation that has become synony-
mous with the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine.
Thomas W. Braun, BS ‘69, MS ‘73, DMD ‘73, PhD ‘77
Professor and Dean
Table of Contents
2 Dental Med Notebook
4 SDM Newswire
Editorial Leadership in Dentistry
Lip Prints May Indicate Risk for Certain Birth Defects
The People of the SDM
Serving Our Country in the Armed Forces
14 Editor’s Message
15 School News
Spring Research Symposium
Senior Awards Ceremony
17 Alumni News
Alumni Association Messages
Fourteenth Annual T. F. Bowser Memorial Lecture
Dental Alumni Association Annual Business Meeting
Eighth Annual Dean’s Scholarship Ball at The Duquesne Club
Diploma Ceremony at Heinz Hall
Dental Hygiene Graduation Luncheon
Nostalgic Notions: Rock Chalk Chant
Distinguished Alumni Guidelines
Support Your Alma Mater
Useful Telephone Numbers
Admissions/Student Services 412-648-9806
Office of the Dean 412-648-8880
Patient Appointments 412-648-8616
Dental Med Notebook
Summer/Fall 2008 Women’s Oral Health
Volume 6, Number 2
Dean Q&A with Dr. Deborah Studen-Pavlovich (DMD ‘80)
Thomas W. Braun
Pitt Dental Medicine: Why is women’s Triad. This involves a patient with an eat-
Senior Associate Dean
oral health a new focus in health care? ing disorder who trains intensely followed
Dennis N. Ranalli Dr. Studen-Pavlovich: The current focus by amenorrhea and premature development
on women’s oral health emerged from em- of osteopenia and then osteoporosis. Dur-
Editor and Graphic Designer phasis on the women’s health movement. ing pregnancy untreated periodontitis may
Kate Miller About 15 years ago a U. S. Congressional contribute to more frequent preterm low
mandate to include women as subjects in birth weight offspring. There are intraoral
Dental Alumni Association federally funded research occurred. It was manifestations associated with osteoporo-
important to include sufficient numbers of sis. Considerable research has indicated
President women to analyze gender-specific differ- that among postmenopausal women early
Lance Rose ences in the progression and treatment of onset of osteoporosis in postmenopausal
diseases. The government has established women influences the rate of alveolar bone
Michael Dobos National Centers of Excellence in Wom- loss and chronic periodontitis. Scientific
en’s Health throughout the country. The evidence continues to demonstrate sex-
Vice President, Dental Affairs University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is specific differences for oral diseases and
Eric Kern one of the 15 academic health centers in the conditions.
Vice President, Dental Hygiene United States. Pitt Dental Medicine: What are some
Judith Gallagher Pitt Dental Medicine: What are some preventive approaches dentists can recom-
common conditions for female patients in mend to their female patients?
Secretary the day-to-day practice of dentistry? Dr. Studen-Pavlovich: Dental professionals
Karin Bittner Dr. Studen-Pavlovich: A common condi- can assist their female patients with prevent-
tion during adolescence is gingivitis. This ing or controlling the infections associated
Executive Director condition is caused by hormonal fluctua- with oral diseases by recommending proper
Stephen L. Kondis tions in females that may cause a height- mechanical removal of plaque, use appropri-
ened local response to irritants. Eating dis- ate chemotherapeutic agents, and stress the
School of Dental Medicine orders have a strong female predilection. importance of regular maintenance visits for
Office of Alumni Affairs and Development
3501 Terrace Street Eroded teeth, xerostomia, enlargement of disease prevention. Adolescent women are
440 Salk Hall the parotid glands, and other oral mani- more prone to gingivitis and aphthous ulcers
Pittsburgh, Pa 15261 festations may occur. Restoration of oral when they begin their menstrual cycles and
www.dental.pitt.edu health is an important part of regaining a need advice about cessation of tobacco use,
normal appearance and may positively in- mouth protection during athletic activities,
Cover story: see page 21 fluence her recovery. Behavioral research and avoiding eating disorders. Women dur-
in dentistry substantiates that women have ing childbearing years need to understand
Pitt Dental Medicine is published greater situational anxiety related to den- the relationship between oral contraceptive
semiannually by the Office of Alumni Affairs tal encounters than do men. For example, use and concomitant changes in oral tissues.
and Development as a service to alumni, women exhibit greater reaction toward Taking care of her dentition prior to becom-
students and friends.
Its purpose is to facilitate communication pain and anxiety, and this greater reaction ing pregnant is one of the best things a wom-
among alumni, students and friends. may contribute to oral conditions such as an can give to her developing infant. Older
This publication holds itself not responsible aphthous stomatitis. women experience the onset of menopause
for opinions, theories and criticisms therein Pitt Dental Medicine: How is a woman’s and increased vulnerability to osteoporosis.
oral health affected throughout the various They may experience xerostomia and burn-
The University of Pittsburgh is an affirmative stages of life? ing mouth syndromes. Dentists and dental
action, equal opportunity employer. Dr. Studen-Pavlovich: In infancy epi- hygienists need to help women alleviate
demiological studies have demonstrated these symptoms and encourage them to con-
that while clefts of the primary palate ap- tinue good oral health care and nutrition.
pear more frequently in males, clefts of the
secondary palate occur more frequently in Dr. Studen-Pavlovich is professor and chair of
females and are more likely to be associ- the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the
ated with a syndrome. In young adulthood School of Dental Medicine. She also is the au-
some female athletes who have an eating thor of Women’s Oral Health published in July
disorder such as anorexia may progress to of 2001 in the Dental Clinics of North America
a condition known as the Female Athlete by W.B. Saunders in Philadelphia, Pa.
Safeguarding Against MRSA A Dental Perspective on Sleep Disorders
Q&A with Dr. Wilbert Milligan (PhD ‘72) Q&A with Dr. Barry Glassman (DMD ‘73)
Pitt Dental Medicine: What is MRSA? Pitt Dental Medicine: What is a dentist’s role in treating sleep-dis-
Dr. Milligan: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) turbed breathing (SDB)?
are bacteria that are very resistant to antibiotics and they’re be- Dr. Glassman: Dentistry should be the number one portal through
coming increasingly more prevalent. The number of patients with which patients enter into sleep medicine. Therefore, when updating a
MRSA from 1995 to 2005 has increased by 62 percent. It appears patient’s medical history during a recall visit, dentists should be ask-
as a typical skin infection like boils or blisters. If MRSA dis- ing specific questions related to sleep-disturbed breathing. Dentists
seminates into the blood stream, it can develop into a lesion or consequently do not diagnose the disorder, but appropriately refer to
rash where flesh becomes necrotic. MRSA is fatal for one out of medicine for the diagnosis. After diagnosis, those dentists trained in
20 patients. It’s also called the flesh-eating bacteria. oral appliance therapy can provide treatment when appropriate.
Pitt Dental Medicine: What are the risk factors for MRSA? Pitt Dental Medicine: What are some risks for patients with sleep-
Dr. Milligan: Risk factors for MRSA can be associated with five disturbed breathing?
Cs. They are contact, crowding, contaminated items, compromised Dr. Glassman: Some of the co-morbities of sleep-disturbed breathing
skin integrity, and cleanliness. Because of contact and crowding include hypertension, myocardial infarctions, heart attacks, acid reflux
risks, children in day care, athletes, inmates at correctional facili- disease, and diabetes. In addition, there is the major issue of SDB’s
ties, and patients in long-term care facilities are all susceptible to relationship to excessive daytime sleepiness, motor vehicle accidents,
MRSA. and poor job performance issues. Combined with the tendency to
Pitt Dental Medicine: How is it diagnosed? have an effect on mood and its relationship to depression, we can start
Dr. Milligan: Nasal cultures can be done to identify MRSA carri- to see how destructive this disorder can be to one’s quality of life.
ers. Bacterial cultures can also be taken of lesions to determine if Pitt Dental Medicine: How can dentists recognize and treat sleep-
the patient has a MRSA infection. disturbed breathing?
Pitt Dental Medicine: Is it safe to treat patients with MRSA? Dr. Glassman: The questions that are most predictive for SDB are
Dr. Milligan: Yes. Standard precautions should be practiced in- as follows: Do you snore? Do you have hypertension? Has anyone
cluding the use of face masks and glasses with side shields, because suggested that you gasp for air or choke at night? What is your neck
MRSA has been found in the ocular isolates of certain carriers. size? Certainly we can ask about daytime sleepiness and if the patient
Pitt Dental Medicine: What can dentists do to prevent the spread wakes refreshed, but because there are so many disorders associated
of MRSA? with hypersomnolence, it is not necessarily predictable for an obstruc-
Dr. Milligan: Sterilization of instruments as well as disinfection tive disorder.
of all environmental surfaces. MRSA is primarily transmitted by Pitt Dental Medicine: How can the effectiveness of a dental sleep
the hands, so targeted cleaning of all surfaces that are in contact appliance be measured?
with the hands is essential. Fortunately, it is typical for dentists to Dr. Glassman: This is a great question because it makes the assump-
practice targeted cleaning as part of standard precautions. tion that we SHOULD measure our outcomes, and that assumption
Pitt Dental Medicine: When should practitioners with MRSA be is just so important. Among the many challenges of treating obstruc-
restricted from treating or assisting patients? tions for the dentist is the need to provide accurate testing for proper
Dr. Milligan: If they have active, draining lesions, they should titration of our appliances and to communicate effectively with our
be precluded from treating patients. They should cover those le- medical colleagues. We use ambulatory studies for titration, then tend
sions and when they’re no longer actively draining, they can treat to refer our patients back to their physicians for the decision as to
patients. whether follow up polysomnograms are required.
Pitt Dental Medicine: Roughly, how many persons in the United Pitt Dental Medicine: Where can dentists find out more about dental
States are infected with MRSA? sleep medicine?
Dr. Milligan: Studies show that about 25 to 30 percent of the Dr. Glassman: Over the years I have noted more and more courses
normal population is infected with MRSA. They’re infected but being given on sleep disorders for the dentist. It is extremely impor-
they don’t have the disease; they’re carriers. That’s why it’s so tant that the course emphasize not only the science of sleep medicine,
disconcerting, because it used to be just localized in hospitals and but the art involved in implementing the treatment which includes
there was a better chance of controlling it. It’s moving out of the learning how and when to refer and treat. It is essential that we learn
hospital and into the community. A lot of the hospital-associated what factors are important in making risk/benefit decisions that are
MRSA infections are actually derived from a community strain. involved with patient care and NOT treat snoring without a complete
Dr. Milligan is associate dean for clinical affairs and assistant pro-
fessor in the Department of Diagnostic Sciences at the School of Dr. Glassman maintains a private practice in Allentown, Pa. which is
Dental Medicine. limited to chronic pain management, temporomandibular joint dys-
function and dental sleep medicine.
Women in Dentistry Cavities: Nature or Nurture?
Did you know the first female to graduate from the School Dental caries remains the most common chronic affliction of
of Dental Medicine did so in 1915? That’s right, Dr. Hanna Perry childhood, five times more common than asthma and seven times
was the first of many women to graduate from what was known more common than environmental allergies. Four out of ten chil-
then as the Pennsylvania Dental College. dren have caries when they enter kindergarten. To identify the ge-
Over the last decade, women have made up 45 percent of netic and environmental risk factors that cause dental caries, the
dentists nationwide according to statistics provided by the Ameri- National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a $1 million grant
can Dental Association. Only twenty years ago, that percentage to Dr. Mary L. Marazita, director of the Center for Craniofacial
was less than one-third. University records indicate a long history and Dental Research, associate dean for research and professor
of women enrolled at the School of Dental Medicine, in fact the and chair of the Department of Oral Biology. Dr. Marazita and
first female admitted was Ms. Mary L Glen in 1898, only two years colleagues will study the interaction between genes and environ-
after the incorporation of the school. It is unclear whether Ms. mental factors that lead to tooth decay. The results of these studies
Glen completed the three-year program as graduation records for will allow a better understanding of the disease, which in turn will
the dental school are not documented in the University database lead to earlier identification of children at risk and improved and
until 1902. targeted interventions.
The number of female graduates at the School of Dental “As prevalent as tooth decay is in everyday life, there are many
Medicine increased substantially from an average of one each year gaps in our scientific knowledge about its causes,” said Dr. Mara-
between 1902 and 1969 to an average of six during the ‘70s, an zita. “It is striking that some people will have many teeth affected
average of 22 during the ‘80s, an average of 23 during the ‘90s, with decay while other people in the same environment will not.
and an average of 32 between 2000 and 2007. Our study is the first to apply a comprehensive approach that will
Today, the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental allow us to tease out what’s in our genes and what’s in our environ-
Medicine’s 2008 female graduates make up 40 percent of the Pred- ment that is causing tooth decay.”
octoral Program. The grant is part of the Genes, Environment and Health Ini-
tiative (GEI). In addition to the grant, NIH will provide genetic
services of approximately $2.5 million to Dr. Marazita. She is one
of only eight scientists selected to receive these grants during this
In 2005, dental health care costs reached nearly $84 billion, of
which 60 percent or about $50 billion was related to treatment of
cavities. Childhood caries is a serious public health issue because
of associated health problems and because disparities in oral health
have led to substantially higher average disease prevalence among
children in poverty and in under served racial and ethnic groups.
The genome-wide association studies will be led by the Na-
tional Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of NIH.
First-year funding for the studies was contributed by all NIH insti-
tutes and centers, including an extra investment by NIH’s National
Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). NHGRI is
one of 27 institutes and centers at the NIH, an agency of the De-
partment of Health and Human Services. The NHGRI Division of
Extramural Research supports grants for research and for training
and career development at sites nationwide.
The NIDCR is the nation’s leading funder of research on oral,
dental and craniofacial health. NIH is the primary federal agency
for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational
medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and
cures for both common and rare diseases.
Additional collaborators from the University of Pittsburgh
School of Dental Medicine include Dr. Robert Weyant, professor
and chair for the Department of Dental Public Health and Infor-
mation Management, director of the Multidisciplinary Master of
From left to right: 2008 dental graduates Dr. Jennifer Check, Dr. Sara Iglio, Dr. Public Health Program, and associate dean for Public Health and
Renee Regina, and Dr. Jyotika Dhawan. Outreach.
stories from dental.pitt.edu
Give Kids a Smile Day Expanded
For the last five years, the alumni, faculty, staff, and students
of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry have come together to
provide uninsured children with over $40,000 in free dental treat-
ment through Give Kids a Smile Day (GKAS). As February is
National Children’s Dental Health Month, the first installment of
GKAS occurred on Feb. 29th. In addition, the organizers of the
event planned a second day on March 13th to make GKAS more
accessible to families and volunteers.
GKAS is mainly organized by the school’s chapter of the
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (Pedo Club), however
faculty and staff make major contributions to the overall success
of the event. This year’s GKAS chair is Mr. Jason Ashcroft, a
third-year predoctoral student who attended a national symposium
for GKAS in 2007. As a volunteer for GKAS last year, Jason said
he believes it is important to help those who are less fortunate and
that GKAS also benefits students in fulfilling requirements and
expanding their patient base. Ms. Dara Weiner, third-year pred-
octoral student and president of the Pedo Club, also is active in
planning the event. Another new development for GKAS is the
inclusion of dental hygiene student volunteers from the Student
American Dental Hygienists’ Association.
Ms. Melissa Brown and Ms. Melinda Mazzocco comfort Mr. Dillon Mazzocco prior
to his dental treatment at Give Kids a Smile Day.
A young patient uses a mirror to view his teeth. A young patient sits for her screening and treatment.
Editorial Leadership in Dentistry
The School minded of approaching deadlines or over- the Department of Oral Biology, serve on
of Dental due articles. Once an article is returned, the editorial board of The Cleft Palate-Cra-
Medicine has a cover letter is automatically generated niofacial Journal. Dr. Marazita is section
many faculty including excerpts from the manuscript. editor of genetics and Dr. Mooney is sec-
members in From there, the publisher will copy-edit the tion editor of anatomy/basic sciences. Dr.
editorial po- accepted publication and publish it online Mooney said the journal also employs an
sitions with complete with a session number for refer- electronic process that is double-blinded
various health research journals. As edi- ence. The advent of early online publish- from submission through review. The Cleft
tors and members of editorial boards, these ing makes research available between four Palate-Craniofacial Journal is published in-
leaders are upholding high standards of and six months prior to the distribution of ternationally and has volunteers who help
quality in research while shaping the cur- the printed journal. authors to clarify their manuscripts which
rent landscape of topics ranging from ac- Dr. Weyant is one of the few are printed in English.
cess to oral health care to the genetics of people involved with the Journal of Public The following faculty members
craniofacial disorders. They serve to dis- Health Dentistry who is part of the publish- serve on editorial boards for various health
seminate ever-occurring advancements research journals. Dean Braun is on the ed-
in the study of oral health, inspiring new itorial board of the International Journal of
policy and practice for the future. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and is as-
With recent technological devel-
opments in the publishing industry, health
“Being a part of sociate editor of Selected Readings in Oral
and Maxillofacial Surgery. In the Depart-
research journals are capable of near-in-
stantly sharing new research with early the process of the ment of Diagnostic Sciences both Dr. James
Guggenheimer, professor, and Dr. Kurt
online publishing and a completely auto-
mated online process for printed editions. scientific pipeline Summersgill, associate professor, serve on
the editorial board for Oral Surgery, Oral
As authors submit their articles online, the
articles are automatically key worded and from beginning to Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology
and Endodontology. Dr. Paul Moore, pro-
matched to reviewers. This is the process fessor and chair of the Department of Den-
employed by the Journal of Public Health end where research tal Anesthesiology, has served on the edito-
Dentistry. The journal’s editor, Dr. Robert rial board for The Journal of the American
Weyant, is then able to review the articles appears in print is Dental Association, the Compendium of
and the assigned reviewers to ensure the Continuing Education in Dentistry, and An-
match is logical and then approves and
sends the articles for review with the touch
very interesting.” esthesia Progress. Dr. Dennis N. Ranalli,
professor in the Department of Pediatric
of a button. Dr. Weyant is professor and Dentistry and senior associate dean, is on
chair for the Department of Dental Public the editorial board of Dental Traumatology.
Health and Information Management, di-
rector of the Multidisciplinary Master of
Dr. Robert Weyant Dr. Titus Schleyer, associate professor in
the Department of Dental Public Health
Public Health Programs, and associate dean and Information Management and direc-
for Public Health Outreach at the School of tor of the Center for Dental Informatics,
Dental Medicine. He has been an active ing process from start to finish. After ar- is the associate editor for informatics and
member and past president of the American ticles are reviewed, Dr. Weyant is charged technology in The Journal of the American
Association of Public Health Dentistry, the with making the final decision on the ac- Dental Association. Dr. Deborah Studen-
sponsoring organization of the journal. ceptance of articles that are not unanimous- Pavlovich, professor and chair of the De-
“Being a part of the process of the ly approved by the reviewers. While the partment of Pediatric Dentistry, is on the
scientific pipeline from beginning to end editorial board plays an advisory role, the editorial board of the Journal of Dentistry
where research appears in print is very in- editor makes the final decision. Dr. Wey- for Children and the Pennsylvania Dental
teresting,” Dr. Weyant said. “I think there’s ant also pointed out that there is an editorial Journal.
an opportunity there to really make a dif- freedom to make decisions separate from
ference in the quality of the science that’s the sponsoring organization. His role is to
being published to the degree that I can maintain the quality of research published
have an impact that will be useful to the and the reputation of the journal. He said
profession.” less than a third of the articles submitted to
Aside from attending various the Journal of Public Health Dentistry are
meetings throughout the year, Dr. Wey- accepted for publication.
ant is able to manage most of his duties as Dr. Mary Marazita, professor and
editor from his location in Pittsburgh. The chair of the Department of Oral Biology
automated system speeds the publishing and associate dean for research, and Dr.
process as reviewers are automatically re- Mark Mooney, professor and vice chair of
Lip Prints May Indicate Risk for Certain Birth Defects
By Kim Barlow, reprinted with permission from the University Times
To some, a kiss is just a kiss. To genes and genetic disorders. roots and branches.
researchers in Pitt’s Center for Craniofacial While searching for some simple “There are lots of patterns,” Neis-
and Dental Genetics, a kiss may offer clues genetic traits that might be related to cleft- wanger said. “It gets complicated very
to who may be at increased risk for certain ing or increased risk of clefting, “I hit on quickly.”
birth defects. lip prints as one of the entries,” she said. Parallel research has shown that a
Researchers there are using chei- Very little literature on lip prints mutation in the IRF6 gene causes Van der
loscopy, the study of lip prints, as part of exists, and most of that is aimed at deter- Woude syndrome -- a syndrome that causes
their quest to better understand the causes mining whether people can be identified clefting and/or circular depressions called
behind cleft lip and palate. by their prints in a manner similar to fin- fistulas on the lips.
Center director Mary Marazita, gerprinting, or in extracting DNA from lip It’s unclear why this gene -- an
who also is the School of Dental Medi- prints to solve crimes. But Neiswanger interferon regulatory factor -- would have
cine’s associate dean of research and chair found a German research paper from the an impact on lips, Marazita said. But the
of the Department of Oral Biology, has 1970s indicating that certain types of pat- researchers immediately began to wonder
been studying clefting since the 1980s. terns found in lip prints might be increased whether whorl patterns are associated with
Clefts, which occur when the tis- in individuals with clefts. variants (differences that are not muta-
sue that forms the upper lip and roof of the The very low-tech process of gath- tions) in the IRF6 gene. They hypothesize
mouth doesn’t fuse properly during prenatal ering research subjects’ lip prints made it that certain genes in a family could lead to
development, are among the most common easy to choose to add lip printing to the pro- clefting in some members and particular lip
birth defects, affecting one or two of every tocol. Marazita decided, “It was cheap and prints in others.
1,000 births worldwide. About 30 percent easy to do so we’ll collect it on everybody.” “We have to be careful,” Marazita
of clefts are associated with a genetic syn- The prints are taken using invis- said. “We don’t know yet.”
drome; the rest are thought to result from ible ink -- the kind used to take hand and The center now has a collection
other genetic and/or environmental factors. footprints of newborns -- printed onto of more than 900 lip prints that have been
Marazita’s research includes the chemically sensitive paper that develops in examined to sort out those that have whorl
Pittsburgh Oral-Facial Cleft Study, which a few minutes. patterns from those that do not.
seeks to find the genes underlying non-syn- Neiswanger found that the origi- Early analysis found lower lip
dromic clefts by studying families that in- nal lip prints -- printed in gray -- were diffi- whorls in about 18 percent of individuals
clude at least two affected family members. cult to analyze until a post-graduate student with clefts and about 16 percent of their
Study participants in Pittsburgh scanned the prints and contrast-enhanced family members without clefts. In contrast,
and other sites around the world are them. When the prints were enlarged and only about 3 percent of a control group had
screened in a lengthy process that includes colored blue, the patterns became clearer. whorl patterns, a “very significant finding,”
taking a general health history, family his- she said.
tory and DNA sample, 3-D facial photos While the lip prints all have been
from which measurements can be calculat- scored, only about two-thirds of the geno-
ed, an ultrasound of the muscle of the up- typing is done, so there are no definitive
per lip, lip prints as well as fingerprints, an answers yet.
assessment of handedness and a screening Neiswanger said she hopes to
by a speech pathologist to assess speech ar- have all the pieces in place in time for a
chitecture. presentation at a meeting of cleft palate re-
A number of traits have been searchers in mid-April.
found to be more common in families with Marazita said that identifying the
clefting. Among them are non-right-hand- Now, Neiswanger said, “We’ve seen more genes that may predispose some families to
edness, physical asymmetry and structural lip prints than probably anybody in the clefting could lead to better genetic coun-
differences in the muscle that surrounds the world.” seling and improved treatments.
lip as well as differences in teeth, facial di- They’ve even had some fun with “Once we get the genetics down,
mensions and speech characteristics. Eth- the original lip prints, combining a sam- we can look at environmental factors,” she
nicity also plays a role. Native Americans pling of the student’s work in a four-panel said. For instance, smoking during preg-
and Asians have a higher incidence of non- Warhol-esque print to present as a Pitts- nancy is known to double the risk of clefts,
syndromic clefting while the occurrence is burgh-themed farewell gift when the stu- but it’s not known whether refraining from
rarer in whites and even less common in dent left the center for dental school. smoking could be even more important for
blacks. Most people have never paid those with genetic traits associated with an
The idea to study lip prints came much attention to the patterns on their lips increased risk.
about a decade ago as center researcher or anyone else’s, but Neiswanger noted that “Within five years we’ll know
Kathy Neiswanger, a research professor lip prints vary greatly. The simplest pat- enough about some of these traits that they’ll
in the Department of Oral Biology, began tern is made up of vertical lines, but others be clinically useful,” Marazita predicted.
paging through the index of “Mendelian In- include horizontal lines, whorls, diamond
heritance in Man,” a catalog listing human patterns, X-shapes or lines that resemble
The People of the School of Dental Medicine
O ver 200 individuals work together to support the University
of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. With 10 depart-
ments, and numerous programs from dental hygiene through
patients in the region while addressing oral health needs on a
global scale. From continually increasing admissions standards
to a rising research ranking, the efforts of many faculty, staff,
the various residency programs, the school graduates an aver- and students enhance the School of Dental Medicine experi-
age of 130 oral health professionals each year. As a health care ence. The following examples are just a glimpse of the many
provider, the School of Dental Medicine reaches countless local people who come together to shape our alma mater.
Dr. John Baker, asso- Dr. Marnie Oakley (DMD ‘92), assistant professor and
ciate professor in the Depart- chair in the Department of Restorative Dentistry/Comprehensive
ment of Oral Biology and Care, first came to the School of Dental Medicine as a 19-year
president of the University old first-year predoctoral student. By enrolling in college-level
Senate, has been part of the courses during her senior year in high school, she was able to get
School of Dental Medicine a head start with her undergraduate degree at Pitt and applied for
for over 30 years. Original- early admission to the dental school. Dr. Oakley said she always
ly from Illinois, Dr. Baker’s had a strong affiliation for the sciences and was drawn to den-
journey to the school began tistry because she saw the opportunity to have a career in health
with a degree in agricultur- care while raising a family. Shortly after graduation, Dr. Oakley
al science with a focus on married predoctoral classmate, Dr. Geoff Oakley, and they enlisted
biochemistry. From there, in the U. S. Navy as dental officers. After four years of service
he went to the University with the Navy, Dr. Oakley accepted a part-time position as clinical
of California at Berkeley instructor in oral medicine and pathology. She never imagined
where he earned a PhD in returning to the school full-time, but became inspired by the many
Dr. John Baker biochemistry. His interest in positive changes taking place at the school.
biochemistry led to a career with the National Institutes of Health “I really became energized when I was working here part-
where he eventually researched microbes causing periodontal dis- time and I became involved directly in making positive changes,”
ease. she said.
“We were starting to study how T-cells would respond Dr. Oakley was recently honored as the recipient of a
and antigens. At that time, the focus was that it was the cellu- 2008 American Dental Education Association Presidential Cita-
lar immune response, the T-cell response, that might be causing tion for her leadership during the 2007-2008 academic year. For
the inflammation ultimately and the bone loss,” Dr. Baker said. the past two years, she has held the chair of ADEA’s annual session
Dr. Baker was recruited at the School of Dental Medicine to teach planning committee.
immunology. Today as an associate professor he teaches mainly “It’s a great committee of a lot of faculty from different
biochemistry. schools, representing all different councils and sections and seg-
Dr. Baker has been active with the University Senate ments of ADEA,” she said. “Membership in ADEA provides the
since 1993 and is in his third term as president. In his role as opportunity to network with
senate president, Dr. Baker is focused on broad issues affecting new colleagues at the annual
the University at large. During his tenure as president, the senate session.” The annual ses-
has increased representation from the medical school, changed the sion is the showcase of the
bylaws to allow electronic elections, formed an ad hoc commit- organization where many
tee for gender equity, and the benefits and welfare committee has innovative approaches are
been instrumental in supporting the administration ban of smoking presented as benchmarks in
within 15 feet of University buildings. dental education. Dr. Oakley
“You end up participating in a lot of different areas that said Pitt’s dental school is a
you wouldn’t otherwise know about,” said Dr. Baker. “It just positive example amongst
makes you think about things you would never otherwise think dental schools nationwide.
about.” As grand marshal, he met Desmond Tutu during his 2007 “That’s one of the
visit to the University. things that I want to see as
Dr. Baker sits on the medical advisory committee as well an alumna, that we will al-
as the University Planning and Budget Committee. ways remain cutting edge.”
He and his wife, Kathy, are longtime opera patrons. Dur- Dr. Oakley also is chair of
Dr. Marnie Oakley
ing their 41 years of marriage, they have frequented opera perfor- the organization’s Compre-
mances from Wolf Trap in Vienna, Va, to the Pittsburgh Opera. In hensive Care/Restorative Dentistry section. While her involve-
fact, Dr. Baker participated as a super in many operas at Pittsburgh ment with ADEA keeps her very busy, Dr. Oakley emphasized the
Opera. On several occasions he has played a solider in Tosca. value of networking with dental educators.
Dr. Elia Beniash, assistant professor in the Department Dr. Deborah Polk,
of Oral Biology, is originally from St. Petersburg, Russia. Dr. Be- assistant professor in the
niash knew from an early age that he was interested in science; he Department of Dental Public
joined a club at the local zoo where he often spent time observing Health and Information Man-
the animals. He went on to earn a Master of Science degree in agement, grew up in Chevy
zoology and biology at St. Petersburg State University. As op- Chase, Md. As a child, she
portunities for research were limited in Russia, Dr. Beniash went was always interested in sci-
to The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Isreal for his ence and math and found
Doctor of Philosophy degree in structural biology. In 2000, he research to be appealing.
moved to the United States to accept a research associate posi- However, she said she never
tion at Northwestern University and later moved from Chicago to thought she’d be working in
the Forsyth Institute in Boston, Ma. At the Forsyth Institute, Dr. oral health research.
Beniash was an assistant member of the staff in the Department of “I didn’t know
Biomineralization. that oral health researchers
It was at the Weiz- and dental schools were in-
man Institute where Dr. terested in psychologists,”
Dr. Deborah Polk
Beniash became interested she said. Dr. Polk attended
in biomineralization and tis- Cornell University in Ithaca, NY where she earned a Bachelor of
sue engineering during his Arts degree in psychology as well as Indiana University in Bloom-
work on his thesis about the ington, Ind. where she earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in
skeletal development of sea clinical psychology. Dr. Polk’s post-graduate work includes clini-
urchins. His thesis, Spiculo- cal internships and postdoctoral fellowships at Indiana University
genesis of Sea Urchin Larva, School of Medicine, Carnegie Mellon University and the Univer-
depicted the process of the sity of Pittsburgh.
mineral phase through crys- “Some of the oral health outcomes really lend themselves
tallization. well to the kinds of questions I’m interested in,” she said. For
“I’m working on example, Dr. Polk explained that researchers of cardiovascular
how proteins or macromol- health outcomes may have to wait as many as 30 years to docu-
ecules effect crystal growth; ment their results. By comparison, the mouth is very accessible
how the interaction proteins and outcomes can be studied within much shorter time frames.
and minerals leads to these Dr. Elia Beniash “I’m interested in how psychological processes affect im-
unique mechanical proper- mune function,” she said.
ties of dentin and enamel and how we can use the knowledge to Dr. Polk is a first-year North American Director of the
develop new materials with similar properties that we can apply to Behavioral, Epidemiologic, and Health Services Research Group
tissue engineering, regeneration, and repair,” Dr. Beniash said. of the International Association of Dental Research (IADR). One
Dr. Beniash has a secondary appointment at the School of of her responsibilities as director is to review abstracts submitted
Engineering and said he enjoys the opportunities made possible by for the annual session of the IADR. She reviews a breadth of over
the University of Pittsburgh. 90 abstracts in the behavioral, epidemiological, and health services
“Pitt is a larger institution with more cooperation, more research scientific group. Dr. Polk is one of six basic sciences
facilities, more opportunities in terms of what I can do here,” said directors at the IADR. In addition to the directors, there is a presi-
Dr. Beniash. “I like our group and the interactions with people dent, president-elect, secretary/treasurer, coordinator and several
across the University.” Outside of research, Dr. Beniash doesn’t counselors.
have much free time. He likes to spend time with his family. He At the school, Dr. Polk serves on the Outcomes Assess-
and his wife have a seven year-old daughter and he enjoys taking ment Subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee. She also
her to museums and shows. He also goes to the gym and enjoys served on the advisory committee between 2004 and 2007. Dr.
reading. Polk teaches an introductory course to behavioral dentistry. Be-
“Between my work and family, I don’t have much time,” havioral management and cultural awareness are some of many
Dr. Beniash said. He added that he enjoys life in Pittsburgh, espe- topics discussed in the course.
cially his neighborhood of Squirrel Hill. “Everything is close and “There’s real give and take in figuring out what is best for
it’s a nice environment.” your patient and that is as much of an art as it is a science.”
Ms. Harriet Puchone, Mr. Sherman Watson, sterilization clerk in Instrument
coordinator for the Office Management Systems, is an ambassador of good will and longev-
of Education and Curricu- ity at the School of Dental Medicine. University records indicate
lum, was recently honored that Mr. Watson has been here for 44 years. However, that doesn’t
with the 2008 Chancellor’s count several years of temporary employment as a lab technician
Awards for Staff Excellence during the rein of Dr. Jonas Salk at the University of Pittsburgh.
in service to the community Mr. Watson’s parents also worked for Dr. Salk and they
and to the University. She helped him get his job straight out of high school. Mr. Watson, a
has been a member of the Pittsburgh native, recalled his first day on the job and said it was
staff for five years and is in very hot that summer. After two years of working for Dr. Salk, he
the process of completing a transferred to what was then the Department of Microbiology and
Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry at the School of Dental Medicine, and then trans-
social sciences with a mi- ferred to his current position in IMS when it opened in the ‘90s.
nor in public service, and Regardless, Mr. Watson has always worked in Salk Hall and his
a certificate in non-profit job here is his first and only job.
Ms. Harriet Puchone management. Ms. Puchone He’s said he’s seen the school change for the better over
is planning to graduate in 2009. Her next move includes applying the years. “Dr. Braun brought a higher standard, from the build-
for the master’s program in higher education management at the ing, to the faculty and the staff.” Mr. Watson said the school is his
School of Education. home away from home and that he most enjoys working with the
“Education and academics are my passion and I really people.
enjoy working with the students here at the dental school,” she “At the dental school, you can go and meet people from
said. “I have a greater appreciation for education through my around the world,” he said. “You get a different outlook on dif-
work experience in the Office of Education and Curriculum.” Ms. ferent cultures by interacting with different people.” Mr. Watson
Puchone said that going back to school has changed her life sig- is well-known by the faculty, staff, and students at the school. He
nificantly. She has been able to apply much of what she learns in often stops to say “hello” in the hallways and takes time to help
the classroom to her full-time job. As a non-traditional student, newcomers find their way around the building.
Ms. Puchone has enrolled in mainly Saturday, evening and on- He attributes his talkativeness to his mother and told a
line courses. She is working on lining up some independent study story about a trip he and his sister took with their mother to Loui-
through the Department of Sociology. siana by train. The family almost missed their stop because Mrs.
“I constantly try to give it my best and utilize my time Watson was busy talking to
the best I can,” she said. Ms. Puchone recently participated in an other passengers.
internship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation where she assisted As a sterilization
the special events manager with the Light Up a Child’s Life cam- clerk, Mr. Watson processes
paign. The internship required 100 hours and she put in more than dental instruments and hand
the required time. pieces. He has seen a lot of
“Make-A-Wish understood I was a non-traditional stu- change in sterilization tech-
dent so they were willing to work with my schedule,” Ms. Puchone niques since he first started.
said. She scheduled interviews for “wish kids,” their families, and For instance, at one time he
supporting organizations during the two-week radio campaign used the ultrasonic to steril-
which was broadcast from various downtown Pittsburgh location. ize 350 casettes each day.
Sponsoring organizations presented donations on-air with assis- That process included col-
tance from disc jockeys from WISH 99.7. lecting the casettes in a ba-
“It was neat to do the leg work and get to see behind the sin, rinsing, and hand drying
scenes,” she said. “I really get the picture of public service.” Ms. them before placing them
Puchone said she is attracted to non-profit organizations because in the ultrasonic. Today he Mr. Sherman Watson
she currently works at a non-profit organization. uses a high-tech autoclave
When Ms. Puchone learned of the staff excellence award, that is totally automatic.
she was speechless and said it was meaningful to find out that a His interests include gardening, visiting with family and
non-traditional dental student nominated her. friends and watching Star Trek. Mr. Watson said he is a trekkie at
“I love to learn and I think teamwork is important. If heart and is looking forward to a Star Trek film slated for theaters
anything comes out of this, I just think that it shows that teamwork in 2009.
is an important component in anything you do in life. And that’s When asked about his plans for the future, Mr. Watson
really all I’ve done as part of a team whether it be with the den- said he intends to stick around a while longer.
tal school, the College of General Studies, or my internship. It’s “I still have a little smoke in me,” he chuckled.
people working together in one form or another.”
Dr. Andrew Thomp- Third-year predoctoral student, Mr. Charlie Miller, main-
son (DMD ‘08), orthodon- tains a busy schedule and high grade point average at the School
tics resident and recent of Dental Medicine. With a GPA of 3.88, Mr. Miller ranks as 6th
graduate of the Predoctoral out of 77 predoctoral students. He is active in many organiza-
Program, is an Albert Sch- tions at the school including the Student Research Group in which
weitzer Fellow and has fo- he is an advertisement officer, the Hispanic Dental Association in
cused his project on smoking which he is treasurer and the Sports Dentistry Club in which he is
cessation. The Albert Sch- vice president. Mr. Miller is also a member of the Pedo Club and
weitzer Fellowship’s is the is currently working on a research project involving the relation
namesake organization of between periodontitis and sickle cell disease under the direction
Dr. Schweitzer, Nobel Prize of Dr. Pouran Famili, professor and chair of the Department of
winner, who was known for Periodontics/Preventive Dentistry.
his medical work in Africa “Some of the ultimate goals of this sickle cell research
during WWII. The mission project will be prevention of periodontitis in sickle cell patients
of Schweitzer fellowships and prevention of a sickle cell crisis in sickle cell patients with
Mr. Andrew Thompson is to reduce disparities in periodontitis,” he said.
health and health care by developing “leaders in service.” Mr. Miller also is the recipient of the 2008 American Den-
“Dr. Schweitzer was an amazing man,” said Dr. Thomp- tal Education Association/Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products
son. “By the age of 30, he had written a couple of books, had two Preventive Dentistry Scholarship.
doctoral degrees, was a world authority on Bach, an organist and a He is from Dos Palos, Ca. and has gone on several mis-
pastor. And around age 30 he decided he wanted to help the people sion trips to Spanish-speaking countries in South America. Be-
of Africa, so he went to med school and later started the hospital tween 1998 and 2000, Mr. Miller served a mission trip in Co-
(Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, Gabon).” lombia where he became fluent in Spanish. He later combined
For his fellowship, Dr. Thompson was inspired by an in- his Spanish-speaking skills with his education in dentistry on an
novative smoking cessation program held at McKeesport Hospital internship in Ecuador in 2005 where he assisted in the treatment of
where he volunteered with counselors to coach participants in their many under-privileged people in the town of Quito and surround-
efforts to quit smoking. He is working on organizing his own pro- ing areas.
gram and is in the process of scouting locations to hold classes to “I realized that preventive dentistry is very limited in cer-
guide people through the process of quitting smoking. The project tain parts of the world,” said
requires 200 direct service hours and Dr. Thompson said that while Mr. Miller. “We can do so
he has already graduated from the fellowship program, he is still much in the United States to
working to fulfill his project goals as it was difficult to find enough teach people, but we can do
time during his last year of dental school. so much more outside of the
Dr. Thompson said his program will not only focus on the United States where dentists
negative effects of smoking, but on different approaches to break are limited and oral hygiene
the habit. is poor.”
“Tobacco really is the worst thing you can do for your Mr. Miller also re-
health,” said Dr. Thompson. “So many people who are addicted cently participated in the
to cigarettes want to quit and it’s nice to be able to help people Bridging the Gap program
along.” for health care to under
During his predoctoral studies, Dr. Thompson served as served populations in the
class president and was a member of the American Student Den- Pittsburgh area. At the den-
tal Association, the Curriculum Committee, the Student Advisory tal school, he has served as
Panel to the Dean, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, an assistant for courses in
and the Academy for Sports Dentistry. He also was a recipient of head/neck anatomy and his Mr. Charlie Miller
the Norman Stern Scholarship at University of Pittsburgh in 2007. involvement in the Sports
Dr. Thompson participated in National Dental Student Lobby Day Dentistry Club has allowed the opportunity to work with many
in Washington DC in 2005 as well as Pennsylvania Dental Lobby athletes from local high schools. He made custom mouthpieces
Day in Harrisburg in 2005 and 2006. He also ran and helped with for the athletes and a presentation on the effects of spit tobacco
fund raising in both the Race for the Cure and the Great Race in with suggestions for cessation. Since joining the club, there were
2005 and 2006. roughly 15 members and it has since grown to 57 members. Mr.
Originally from Harrisburg, Pa, Dr. Thompson hopes to Miller is hoping to recruit more to help advocate the cessation of
eventually return to Central Pennsylvania and practice as an ortho- spit tobacco to local high school athletes. He also is a Schweitzer
dontist. Fellow and intends to continue his spit tobacco project as part of
Serving Our COuntry
in the Armed FOrCeS
he School of Dental Medicine has a long tradition of ser-
vice in the U.S. armed forces. From faculty members
through predoctoral students, many representatives of the
school have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp.,
and Coast Guard. In fact, Dr. Bruce Doll, assistant professor in the
Department of Periodontics/Preventive Dentistry, was deployed
to Landstuhl, Germany as part of the Dental Corps in October of
2007 and was later appointed as Rear Admiral (Select) in which he
assumed his present duties as deputy director for Navy Personnel
in the Navy Expeditionary Medical Unit at Landstuhl Regional
Medical Center. Other faculty members serving in the military
include Dr. Peter H. Guevara, director of the General Practice
Residency Program at UPMC Montefiore and assistant professor
in the Department of Restorative Dentistry/Comprehensive Care,
is Lieutenant Colonel of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.
Dr. John Ferrence, assistant professor in the Department of Prosth-
odontics, is Lieutenant Colonel in the Dental Corps of the U.S.
Currently, ten predoctoral students in the class of 2009,
five in the class of 2010, and two in the class of 2011 are receiving
military scholarships. Commissions through the various branches
enable predoctoral students to complete their doctorate in dental
medicine while serving their country. As alumni they will go on
to fulfill their contracts through the Dental Corps, gaining valuable
experience in dentistry across the world.
Supporting Our Troops Through Research
Dr. Charles Sfeir, director of the of a powder containing bone proteins, edge research from the bench top to clini-
Center for Craniofacial Regeneration and growth factors and biodegradable cement cal applications for the armed forces.
associate professor in the Department of to be mixed with water and molded to the “From the get-go, we decided to
Oral Biology, is taking part in research shape of missing bone. Once complete, select materials that are either FDA-ap-
through the U. S. Armed Forces Insti- this technology will benefit wounded proved or materials that have previously
tute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM), soldiers by providing the ability to main- been used on patients because at some
an $85 million initiative announced in tain their natural mobility in the case of point our research needs to be translated
April by Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, the injured appendages. Dr. Sfeir’s project into patient therapy,” Dr. Sfeir said. “In
Army surgeon general. Dr. Sfeir, through is one of several regenerative therapies cases of trauma, or rejection after a cancer
the McGowan Institute for Regenera- under development for AFIRM. Other case, where you need to insert bone, this
tive Medicine and in collaboration with participants in AFIRM are Wake Forest, material will actually become a functional
Carnegie Mellon University, is leading a Rutgers, and the Cleveland Clinic. material.”
team of researchers in the development This initiative is taking cutting
Melissa Candella, second-year predoctoral student Kevin Stewart, first-year predoctoral student
Branch: U.S. Air Force Branch: U. S. Navy
Date enrolled: May 5, 2007 Date enrolled: July 2007
Plans after graduation: Three years repayment to the Air Plans after graduation: Enjoying a few years in the Navy. If
Force. it works out well, I’ll stay in the Navy and look to specialize.
Fondest moment in dental school: Receiving my white coat. Otherwise, I can see myself settling somewhere and practicing
Inspiration for your military/dental career: My grand privately as a general dentist.
father was the head of the U.S. Immigration Service for West- Fondest Memory: Introduction to Amalgam
ern Europe, and retired as a Lt. Colonel in the Army. He credits Inspiration: My inspiration for joining the Navy is my national
his accomplishments to the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act. pride as well as the financial stability offered.
My uncle was a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force, and
flew bombers in WWII and Vietnam.
Both of them really enjoyed
being stationed all
over the world.
Paul Russell, third-year predoctoral student Thomas Graham, second-year predoctoral student
Branch: U. S. Navy Branch: U. S. Army
Date enrolled: May 15, 2006 Date enrolled: August 8, 2006
Plans after graduation: I plan to enroll in the AEGD program Plans after graduation: As of now I plan on four years in the
within the Navy followed by a few years of Navy dentistry. Army and after that I am undecided.
Fondest Memory: A classmate’s patient gave me a wedding gift. Fondest moment in dental school: Lobby Day 2008
Inspiration for your military/dental career: I was inspired Inspiration for your military/dental career: My family dentist
to pursue dentistry because I thought about the ability to have (a retired army officer) encouraged me to pursue the Army as an
a profound impact in somebody’s life in a very short amount option to pay for my dental education and a great way to gain
of time. Dentistry in one of the armed forces appealed to me experience.
because of the ability to provide the very best treatment to my
patients regardless of cost to them and the pride and satisfaction
that I feel knowing I will be serving the men and women who
protect and serve our country.
From the Editor’s Desk Faculty Updates
s your dental practice offering the latest in comprehensive care? While Dr. Jennifer Brauser was appointed clinical assistant profes-
comprehensive care in dentistry refers to the inclusiveness of the vari- sor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry/Comprehensive
ous specialties, it seems that the definition can be broadened. Oral Care.
health is encompassing so much more from the perspective of overall
health. With the resurgence of research making an association between Dr. Medick Capirano was appointed director of predoctoral
oral health and systemic health, now is the time to consider the dentists’ prosthodontics in the Department of Prosthodontics.
role in overall health. Dr. Manika Govil was appointed research assistant professor
While each dental practice is unique and patients’ needs may vary in the Department of Oral Biology.
from one town to the next, dentists and dental hygienists could incorporate
a total health plan for patients ranging from pre-pregnancy consultations Dr. Jeffrey Jockers was appointed clinical assistant profes-
to screenings for coronary heart disease. Oral health is gaining increasing sor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry/Comprehensive
significance in the medical community and it won’t be long before patients Care.
take notice if they haven’t already. Patients typically seek routine oral Dr. Joshua Marvit was appointed clinical instructor in the De-
health care more frequently than medical care and dentists have the oppor- partment of Oral Biology.
tunity to administer basic screenings that could ultimately save a patient’s
life. For instance, the Framingham Global Risk Assessment which predicts Dr. Edward Narcisi was appointed clinical assistant professor
risk for coronary heart disease only requires a few minutes of basic calcula- in the Department of Prosthodontics.
tions and review of gender-specific tables provided by the American Heart
Association and the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Richard Nelson was appointed clinical assistant professor
Smoking cessation is another good place to start. Patients who in the Department of Prosthodontics.
smoke need consistent encouragement from all health care providers and Dr. Mark Nigra was appointed clinical assistant professor in
the dentist is in a prime position to talk about the risks of smoking tobacco. the Department of Restorative Dentistry/Comprehensive Care.
Other considerations include screenings for oral cancer, raising awareness
of head and neck cancer, or discussions of obesity, diabetes, and periodon- Dr. Joseph Petrone was appointed interim chair of the Depart-
tal disease. ment of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.
Advocacy for oral health will have a direct impact on overall Dr. Miguel Torres-Urquidy was appointed postdoctoral asso-
health. Patients at risk for periodontal disease should be aware of suscep- ciate in the Department of Dental Public Health and Informa-
tibility to atherosclerosis-induced diseases such as coronary heart disease tion Management.
and stroke or diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, pancreatic cancer, pneumonia,
and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Collaboration with patients’ primary Dr. David Anderson was appointed clinical assistant professor
care physicians in the instance of any of the above conditions is crucial. in the Department of Prosthodontics.
In June of 2005, the American Dental Association released news
regarding the potential to harvest stem cells from primary and wisdom teeth Dr. Thomas Kunkle was appointed as a new clinical assistant
according to research from the National Institutes of Health. Since then, professor in the Department of Prosthodontics.
this promising and non-controversial source of stem cells has become com- Dr. Joslyn McWilliams was appointed as a new adjunct in-
mercialized and dentists can now encourage or assist patients with banking structor in the Department of Dental Public Health and Infor-
stem cells from primary and wisdom teeth for future health needs. mation Management.
These are just a few ideas for incorporation of a total health plan
for dental patients in your practice. To take this concept one step further, Dr. Jane Soxman was appointed as a new adjunct assistant pro-
oral health professionals have a great opportunity to influence policy as the fessor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry.
association between oral health and systemic health is growing stronger. Dr. Alejandro Almarza was appointed as a new visiting assis-
Policy makers are called to consider the needs of the public and assistance tant professor in the Department of Oral Biology.
or complete dental coverage for the uninsured is critical. Oral health is not
a secondary matter, it is part of overall health and the access to care issue is Dr. William Bunting was appointed as a new adjunct assistant
a growing concern. professor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry.
Best regards, Dr. Veronica Garcia Palacios was appointed as a new visiting
research assistant professor in the Department of Oral Biology.
Dr. Ayla Ozturk was appointed as a new visiting assistant pro-
fessor in the Department of Periodontics/Preventive Dentistry.
Kate E Miller
Spring Research Symposium & Senior Awards Ceremony
On May 14th, the The School of Dental Medicine’s Office of Student Ser-
School of Dental Medicine’s vices held the annual Senior Awards Ceremony immediately fol-
Office of Research hosted lowing the Student Research Symposium. The ceremony took
the annual Spring Research place in Salk Hall’s room 402 which was brimming full with
Symposium at Scaife Hall. fourth-year students and supportive faculty members and staff.
The symposium featured Over 50 awards were presented to the fourth-year predoctoral stu-
invited speaker Dr. Mary B. dents from a wide variety of dental organizations. Also honored
MacDougall from the Uni- at the ceremony were faculty and staff as voted by the individual
versity of Alabama at Bir- predoctoral classes. The faculty and staff appreciation awardees
mingham. Dr. MacDougall for the class of 2008 were Dr. Walter Kalista, clinical assistant pro-
presented “Genetic Lessons fessor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry/Comprehensive
for Growing Teeth.” The Care and Mr. Norman Macher, staff member in the Department of
program also included 2007 Prosthodontics; the awardees for the class of 2009 were Dr. Joseph
participants of the Dean’s Giovannitti, assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesi-
Summer Research Scholar- ology and director anesthesia services for the Center for Patients
ship Program with presen- with Special Needs, and Ms. Diane Cervi, staff member in the
tations by Mr. Jared Kneib, Department of Pediatric Dentistry; the awardees for the class of
Ms. Noelle Peters, and Mr. 2010 were Dr. Adriana Modesto Vieira, assistant professor in the
Dr. Mary B. MacDougall Neil Robertson, all first-year Department of Pediatric Dentistry, and Ms. Nadia Kasinec, staff
predoctoral students. member in Module Two; and the awardees for the class of 2011
Dr. Ariadne Letra, postdoctoral research associate in the were Dr. Timothy Matuszak, clinical assistant professor in the De-
Department of Oral Biology, presented “Interaction between IRF6 partment of Restorative Dentistry/Comprehensive Care and Ms.
and TGFa Genes Contribute to the Risk of Cleft Lip and Palate.” Kristen Felser, staff member in Instrument Management Services.
Dr. Charles Sfeir, director of the Craniofacial Center for Regenera- Among the predoctoral awardees were Ms. Melissa
tion and associate professor in the Department of Oral Biology, Brown who was inducted into the
presented “Craniofacial Regeneration Strategies.” Dr. Adriana International College of Dentists
Modesto, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatric Den- and Mr. Matthew Gornick who
tistry, presented “Effect of Fluoride and Chlorhexidine Combina- was inducted into the American
tion on Enamel Demineralization/Remineralization.” College of Dentists. The follow-
ing students from the predoctoral
class of 2008 were inducted into
Omicron Kappa Upsilon: Ms.
Ms. Melissa Brown
Photo by Dr. Michael Rosella (DDS ‘57)
Melissa Brown; Mr. Mark Bucci;
Mr. Matthew Gornick; Ms. Ju-
lia Hill; Mr. Michael Lisen; Mr.
Christian Long; Ms. Jennifer
Mr. Eric Michael, Dr. Alexandre Vieira, and Mr. Neil Robertson, Mateja; Mr. Kevin McMinn; Mr.
first-year predoctoral student and recipient of the ADA Caulk/ Chad Peters; and Ms. Renee Re- Mr. Matthew Gornick and presenter.
Dentsply Student Clinician Award. Photo by Dr. Michael Rosella (DDS ‘57)