Ostrow hosts Research Day 2015
27 Mar 15
The research competition is USC’s largest event dedicated solely to scientific inquiry and discovery.
Research took center court at the USC Galen Center on March 25 as the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC held its 8th annual Research Day, USC’s largest event dedicated solely to scientific inquiry and discovery.
The day-long event drew hundreds of faculty, staff and students to the second-floor practice basketball courts where, beneath the larger-than-life sports posters of victorious athletic moments from the past, row after row of research posters stood—a record 144 in all.
From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., a panel of Ostrow faculty judged the posters for an awards ceremony that took place at day’s end.
While many of the researchers—students, residents, postdoctoral fellows, faculty and staff members from the dental school including the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy—might like to list a Research Day win on their resumés, many discovered just how gratifying research is on its own.
“I learned from doing this that I really have a passion for research,” said Andrew Hooyman, a PhD student in biokinesiology. “It’s a humbling experience, but it teaches you to always have a healthy sense of skepticism.”
Another biokinesiology PhD student Kristamarie Pratt, whose research presentation won second place in the biokinesiology and physical therapy category, thought the experience would prepare her for life beyond her degree.
“Presenting at Research Day is an opportunity to practice and improve presenting skills that will be utilized not only at scientific conferences worldwide, but also in applying for jobs and discussing future opportunities with collaborators,” Pratt said.
Candace Liu DH ’15 pointed out that the process of research would have an impact on the patient care she provides. “This research further prepares us for our professional career after school in situations with future patients,” she said. “We are prepared to provide the best care and to answer our patient’s inquiries by looking at the facts given to us through evidence-based research.”
Robert Hanna DDS ’16, whose research poster with Moshe Eizdi DDS ’15 swept three categories, said, “After all the hard work it took to get there, winning felt really validating. I almost want to get right back to work and keep the momentum going.”
Focus on research
In his greeting written in the Research Day publication, The Explorer, Avishai Sadan DMD, MBA ’14, Dean of the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, explained the importance of research in the dental school’s curriculum.
“We take scientific research very seriously,” he wrote. “In fact, the dental school has been the top-funded private dental institution by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research for two years in a row.”
Associate Dean for Research Yang Chai PhD ’91, DDS ’96, who heads the annual event, also noted the importance of research on a Trojan dental education.
“It is really an added value that only a very few dental schools in the country can offer,” he said. “Our students come to USC and not only do they receive a superb dental education, but on top of that they are exposed to a research-intensive university.”
He mentioned students across Ostrow, including the occupational therapy and physical therapy divisions, get the opportunity to work with leaders in the research field, which makes them better practitioners later on.
“We often talk about how we must prepare our students to perform in the world not as it is today but how it will be in 10, 15, or 20 years down the road,” Sadan wrote in his letter. “By preparing our students to become critical thinkers, they will be better equipped to navigate fields that will continue to dynamically change—perhaps more in the coming years than ever before.”
In the afternoon, Research Day participants welcomed Randolph W. Hall, USC vice president of research, who lauded Ostrow for its continued commitment to research, stressing the importance of innovation in health care delivery.
“I particularly admire the work of the Ostrow School,” Hall said, during his speech. “Your event today provides a tremendous opportunity to learn from each other and renew your commitment to discovery.”
Afterward, Dr. Paul Thompson from the Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC gave the first of three keynote speeches. In his speech, he discussed the Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (or ENIGMA) program that utilizes a worldwide network of 185 institutions to collect thousands of brain images to study the effects of disease, drugs and alcohol and developmental disorders on the brain.
In her keynote speech, Sook-Lei Lew MA ’08, PhD ’12, who holds joint appointments at both the physical therapy and occupational therapy divisions as well as at Keck’s neurology department, spoke of using real-time brain imaging technology to help stroke survivors regain use of body parts that are resistant to traditional repetitive motion-based therapies.
Ostrow associate professor Dr. Pascal Magne delivered the final keynote address, with a discussion on the use of biomimetics in restorative dentistry. While he’s spent his career working to perfect the aesthetics of dental restorations, he said he looked forward to the day when actual living teeth could be used as dental restorations. He suggested a person’s children could potentially donate their unneeded wisdom teeth for use as restorations in their parents’ aging mouths.
It’s this sharing of big ideas that gets Chai excited every year to put on the event. It also drives him to continue sharing the importance of research, even when sequestration or other budget-stripping events threaten federal funding levels.
“All of the benefits that we enjoy as a society—whether it’s the discovery of antibiotics or tissue regeneration using stem cells or a vaccine that prevents disease—none of these would be available to us without research,” he said “That kind of benefit—the cost versus the benefit—it’s just enormous.
RESEARCH DAY 2015 WINNERS
INNOVATIVE SCIENTIFIC ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Hu Zhao, Jingyuan Li
DEAN’S RESEARCH AWARD
ADVANCED SPECIALTY PROGRAM RESIDENT
GRADUATE POST-DOCTORAL TRAINEE
GRADUATE PRE-DOCTORAL CANDIDATE
DDS STUDENT—BASIC SCIENCE
DDS STUDENT—CLINICAL SCIENCE
BIOKINESIOLOGY & PHYSICAL THERAPY CANDIDATE
Soo Yeon Sun
BIOKINESIOLOGY & PHYSICAL THERAPY STUDENT
Andrea Du Bois
OCCUPATIONAL SCIENCE & OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY STUDENT
CERTIFICATE OF PARTICIPATION, DENTAL HYGIENE—MASTER OF SCIENCE
Kristel-Mae Caganap, Andrea Wong, Megan Atkinson
CERTIFICATE OF PARTICIPATION, DENTAL HYGIENE
Megan Atkinson, Lucy Hua, Jane Law, Cassie Lowe, Cara Mang, Ruhee Jeffer, Candace Liu, Connie Sanchez, Jennifer Stone, Lorena Gomez, Sailun You
USC STEVENS CENTER—MOST INNOVATIVE AWARD First Place
DENTSPLY/ADA 2015 STUDENT CLINICIANS OF THE ADA AWARD
AADR S0-CAL STUDENT BEST POSTER First Place
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