USC University of Southern California

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

Five Things I Learned at Research Day

Ostrow research associate Andres Stucky shares what he learned at this year’s Research Day.

Each spring, the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry hosts Research Day. During the event, faculty members, residents and students from Ostrow —  including the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy — share posters, detailing their research, with their peers and compete for the day’s top prizes. With so much interdisciplinary research under one roof, it’s not hard to walk away having learned something from fellow Trojan scientists. This year, we asked Ostrow research associate Andres Stucky to share with us what he learned at one of USC’s only days devoted exclusively to scientific discovery. Here’s what he told us:

1. I learned that playing golf could significantly improve postural control in older adults.

As we age, we experience a gradual loss of the muscles responsible for lateral movement  (our hip abductor muscles). This results in the gradual deterioration of postural control. We can significantly delay this process by engaging these muscles in regular physical activity. Associate professor George Salem and PhD student Andrea Du Bois at the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy are finding that improving your golf swing could be a great way of stimulating your hip muscles and improving your posture.

2. I learned that Ostrow is committed to improve dental care for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

During the past 15 years, the incidence of ASD in the United States has more than doubled. With so many challenges facing these individuals, dental care can be often overlooked, resulting in poor oral health. I learned there is a collective effort from USC Chan and dentistry to understand the clinical experience from the autistic patient’s point of view. They have developed a system of pre-visit video rehearsals and virtual reality-like video goggles to better engage autistic patients during their actual dental visits.

3. I learned that one of the biggest challenges in periodontics is bone loss in the area surrounding an implant. 

Ostrow’s periodontics department has developed an animal model that allows them to investigate how bacterial biofilms in the mouth contribute to inflammation and bone loss following prosthetic implantations. They find that some types of bacteria can act synergistically to reinforce their stronghold at a site, that the immune response to bacteria has a lot to do with the loss of bone at the implant and that inhibition of the inflammatory response — tandem bisphosphonate therapy —  can considerably prevent implant-associated bone loss and substantially improve prosthesis emplacement.

4. I learned that the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology is elucidating the genetic underpinnings of cleft lip and palate.

With about 200,000 new cases every year, cleft lip and palate is one of the most common birth defects in the United States. In the laboratory of Associate Dean of Research Yang Chai PhD ’91 DDS ’96,  Drs. Hua Tian and Pedro Sanchez-Lara have discovered that the intraflagellar transport (IFT) 88 gene is a key factor for palate and lip formation during development, and that an IFT88 malfunction is sufficient to elicit the defects observed in children born with cleft lip and palate. This discovery could one day translate into treatment for this defect, ensuring no child is born with cleft lip or palate in the future.

5. I learned that dentistry is also tacking the molecular biology of congenital bone defects.

In the laboratory of  Amy Merrill-Brugger PhD ’05, research associate Dr. Creighton Tuzon is studying a mechanism by which a mutation of the fibroblast growth factor 2 receptor (FGFR2), a protein encoded by a gene on chromosome 10, regulates abnormal bone development in the skeletal disorder, bent bone dysplasia syndrome (BBDS). Cells with this mutation are kept in a constant state of proliferation that prevents them from properly developing into bone-forming cells. They find that FGFR2 nuclear activity is aberrantly high in BBDS, and that normal bone development can be restored by counteracting the effects of overactive FGFR2 in the cell nucleus.

Below is a list of all the winners from Research Day 2016:

DEAN’S RESEARCH AWARD

Kaushik Mukherjee
“Amelogenin-derived peptides for biomimetic repair of dentin”
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Janet Moradian-Oldak

Advanced Specialty Program Resident

First Place

Hamad Alqadhi MS ’16
“Periodontal Regeneration Utilizing Antibody Mediated Osseous Regeneration (AMOR)”
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Homa Zadeh

Second Place

Cheryl Park
“3-Dimensional Digital Teeth Arrangement for Complete Dentures”
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Winston Chee

Graduate Post-doctoral Trainee

First Place

Jifan Feng
“BMP activity regulates mesenchymal lineage commitment and tooth root initiation”
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Yang Chai

Second Place

Sofya Abazyan
“Small molecule screen for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1E/1A”
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Pragna Patel

Graduate Pre-doctoral Candidate

First Place

Kaushik Mukherjee
“Amelogenin-derived peptides for biomimetic repair of dentin”
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Janet Moradian-Oldak

Second Place

Ryan Roberts
“Fgfr2 regulates attachment of tendon-to-bone in the craniofacial complex”
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Amy Merrill-Brugger

Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy Candidate

First Place

Tzu Liao
“Patellofemoral Joint Stress in Recreational Runners with Patellofemoral Pain”
Faculty Advisor: Christopher Powers PHD ’96

Second Place

Soo Yeon Sun
“Does ankle flexor proprioception modulate muscle recruitment in chick embryos?”
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Nina Bradley ’75

Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy Student

First Place

Helen Bacon
“Is task similarity reflected in modified Reaching Performance Scale scores?”
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Carolee Winstein MS ’84

Second Place

Ivan Trujillo-Priego MS ’15
“Infant Kinematic Differences:  Typical Development vs. At Risk of Developmental”
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Beth Smith

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Student

First Place

Alison Cogan MA ’12
“Systematic Review of Interventions to Prevent Pressure Ulcers”
Faculty Advisor:  Florence Clark PHD ’82

Second Place

Kaori Ito
“Lateralizaton of action observation network activity after stroke”
Faculty Advisor:  Sook-Lei Liew MA ’08, PHD ’12

DDS Student – Basic Sciences

First Place

Shant Aharonian DDS ’17
“A Novel Biofilm Mediated Osteolytic Infection Model”
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Homa Zadeh

Second Place

Yuting Alice Yang MS ’11, DDS ’18
“Expression of an A. actinomycetemcomitans catalase gene in A. aphrophilus”
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Casey Chen

DDS Student – Clinical Sciences

First Place

Omar Kholaki DDS ’16
“The Mylohyoid Nerve Block in Failed Mandibular Anesthesia”
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Natalie Tung

Second Place

Jonathan Nguyen DDS ’17
“Dental Students’ Perceptions of LGBTQ Patient Care and HIV testing”
Dr. Piedad Suarez

USC Stevens Center for Innovation Most Innovative Award

Kaushik Mukherjee
“Amelogenin-derives peptides for biomimetic repair of dentin”
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Janet Moradian-Oldak

ADA/ Dentsply Student Research Clinician Award

Omar Kholaki DDS ’16
“The Mylohyoid Nerve Block in Failed Mandibular Anesthesia”
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Natalie Tung

Posted 03.14.2016