USC University of Southern California

First Winners of Ostrow School of Dentistry Innovative Scientific Achievement Awards Honored

Two Ostrow School of Dentistry postdoctoral research associates received the School’s first-ever Innovative Scientific Achievement Awards during Research Day on February 15, 2012.

The awards were created to honor prestigious scientific publications authored by students and post-doctoral fellows at the Ostrow School of Dentistry, said Associate Dean of Research Yang Chai. Yi Liu and Junichi Iwata were named the award’s first recipients this year.

Each award includes a $5000 cash prize for the lead author; a maximum of two authors can be awarded each year. To be eligible for the prize, an author’s article must be based on original research conducted at the Ostrow School of Dentistry, must include a full-time Ostrow faculty member as the senior corresponding author, and must be published in a journal with an impact factor of 10 or higher.

Liu authored a November 2011 Nature Medicine article outlining the effects of a stem cell transplant recipient’s immune system on successful tissue regeneration. Professor Songtao Shi was the article’s corresponding author.

Iwata authored a February 2012 article in the Journal of Clinical Investigation regarding the cellular pathway involved in the onset of Loeys-Dietz syndrome. Chai was the article’s senior corresponding author.

“We must recognize and celebrate those who help our school and USC move towards an undisputed elite status in research and academics,” Chai said. “Innovation is the key in this process and is recognized through peer-review and publication in top tier journals.”

Ostrow School of Dentistry Dean Avishai Sadan said the new awards are designed to honor extremely talented and promising researchers early in their academic careers.

“Dentistry and other health professions have the biggest societal impact when the body of scientific knowledge behind them is vast and solid,” Sadan said. “It’s important to give our support to the researchers who will be shaping the field as early as possible. The Ostrow School of Dentistry has remained at the forefront of the profession for 115 years, and this type of research support is another way we can encourage innovation.”