USC University of Southern California

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

Celebrating Science

Student and faculty investigators presented over 100 research projects during the 2010 Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC Research Day event on February 10 at the Galen Center.

The studies, conducted by students and faculty of the Ostrow School of Dentistry as well as the Divisions of Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy and Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy, covered an incredibly broad array of subjects. From craniofacial development and oral disease to public health, biomechanics and lifestyle redesign, the Ostrow School of Dentistry is an unparalleled leader in diverse research fields, said Yang Chai, Associate Dean of Research for the School.

“Given the breadth and depth of research topics carried out by our faculty, there are tremendous opportunities for our students to be involved in the research project of their choice,” Chai said. “This research experience provides our students a competitive advantage in their professional futures.”

The event’s keynote speakers were Mary MacDougall, the James R. Rosen Chair of Dental Research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Jack Turman, the Director of the USC Center for Premature Infant Health and Development. MacDougall shared her team’s investigations into the genetics of tooth abnormalities as well as her efforts to encourage dental students to get involved in academia; Turman told the story of how he gathered the support and the talented team for the Center for Premature Infant Health and Development.

Randy Hall, Vice Provost for Research Advancement, delivered welcoming remarks at the event, highlighting the Ostrow School of Dentistry’s unique approach to celebrating research. He also praised the School’s remarkable success in the growth of its funded research, noting that the School has had the highest percentage increase in research funds compared to other USC schools due to several American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants it has been awarded in recent months. The School has also enjoyed the second-highest ARRA award success rate among all USC schools with the approval of 19 of its 55 proposals.

 Pre-doctoral candidate Lily Tung shows off her new skateboard
after winning the Most Innovative Award.
Richard Hull, Senior Director for Innovation Advancement and
Business Development 
for the USC Steven Institute for Innovation,
presented the award.


Students presenting their studies at Research Day shared their thoughts on how conducting research has impacted their education and their perspectives on their field.

“It gives me a better idea of how newer treatment approaches work and how to better address needs in an ever-changing environment,” said Dental Hygiene senior Darlene Griffin. She and three of her classmates worked together to study the relationships between certain viruses and periodontal disease.

Jill Campbell-Stewart, a Ph.D. candidate in Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, said that she kept her history of clinical practice in mind as she conducted her research on the recovery of movement in stroke victims.

“As a clinician, conducting research allows you to better understand what exactly your patients need,” she said.

The Ostrow School of Dentistry is a world-renown research powerhouse, and it has long been and will continue to be an influential force in the future of health and health care delivery, said Dean Avishai Sadan.

“Our research activity not only brings tremendous pride to all of us here at USC, but also has immeasurable value for humanity,” he said. “Along with producing many of the best clinicians in the world, our student and faculty investigators continually discover and apply the knowledge that greatly advances how patients are treated.”

USC News

Research Day Winners

Dean’s Award 

Shailesh Kantak

USC Stevens Institute for Innovation Award

Lily Tung

Advanced Specialty Resident

1st – George Abichaker

2nd – Suanhow Howard Foo

Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy – Exercise Science and Musculoskeletal Biomechanics

1st – Kristen Stearns

2nd – Liang-Ching Tsai

Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy – Neural Control and Motor Behavior

1st – Poster 30

2nd – Poster 28

Graduate Postdoctoral Trainee

1st – Megan Chang

2nd – Jennifer Downey

Graduate Pre-doctoral Candidate

1st – Chider Chen

2nd – Marcelo Freire

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

1st – Leah Stein

2nd – Sook-Lei Liew

Undergraduate DDS student – Basic Science

1st – Khine Htet

2nd – Yi-An Chiang

Undergraduate DDS student – Clinical Science

(The winner of this award also receives the ADA/Dentsply Student Clinician Research Program travel grant.)

1st – Sandeep Potdar

2nd – Lawrence Fung