Marit Aure, PhD, Shares 1st Place in World-Wide Dental Research Contest

Postdoctoral associate Marit Aure, PhD, of the Center for Oral Biology in the Eastman Institute for Oral Health, tied for first place at the highly-competitive International

Marit Aure, PhD

Marit Aure, PhD, tied for first place for her salivary gland research.

Association for Dental Research/Johnson & Johnson Hatton Awards Competition held recently in Cape Town, South Africa.

The judges determined that the science presented by Aure and Korea’s Joo-young Park, was exemplary in both projects, surpassing 36 other researchers from around the world in their category. This is the first time in IADR history that two first place winners were named, with no second place winner.

Aure had qualified for the international competition by earning second place in the American Association of Dental Research/Johnson & Johnson Hatton Awards Competition, held in Charlotte, North Carolina in March. For the international round of the competition, all participants were required to condense the research talk into a four-slide, 10-minute presentation to be given in front of three judges.

“Telling the whole story in 10 minutes and four slides was especially challenging,” said Aure, who said the poker-faced judges had some very tough questions. “My reaction to winning was a mix of surprise, excitement and joy! It feels really good to get positive feedback and exposure for the salivary research we’re doing.”

Aure, who works in the lab of Catherine Ovitt, PhD, associate professor in Biomedical Genetics in EIOH’s Center for Oral Biology, presented “Mechanisms of Acinar Cell Maintenance in the Adult Murine Salivary Gland,” which revealed that replacement of cells in the salivary gland depends primarily on the duplication of the secretory cells, rather than on stem cells. The outcome of this work is important for designing a strategy to repair damaged salivary glands, as it indicates this may be accomplished by using healthy salivary gland cells for transplant therapy. Park’s research involved the genetic basis for cervical lymph node enlargement.

Aure and Park

Aure (left) and Park shared first place at the International Association Dental Research conference in South Africa.

Aure and Park, who each won $1,600, competed in the Senior Basic Science Category, where entrants must be enrolled in a post-dental, post-graduate, or Ph.D. program or have performed the unpublished research submitted to the competition within three years of earning a PhD. All the meeting abstracts will be featured in a special edition of the Journal of Dental Research online.

Aure completed her undergraduate, master’s and PhD degrees in her native Norway. She met Ovitt a few years ago at a Gordon conference on Salivary Glands where she was presenting her PhD research.

Dr. Catherine Ovitt

Catherine Ovitt, PhD, has mentored Aure for the last couple years.

“Marit’s background training and her research interests made her a great postdoctoral candidate, and I invited her to apply for a position with us,” Ovitt said. “She came from Norway to join my laboratory after completing her PhD, and has put enormous effort into this project over the past two and a half years. We are thrilled with her accomplishments – both at the bench and in the competitions! Her results not only change the way we think about the renewal of salivary glands, but they also serve as the basis for a new R01 application just submitted to NIDCR, which proposes to follow the fate of acinar cells after radiation treatment.”

The International Association for Dental Research, headquartered in Alexandria, Va. is a nonprofit organization with more than 11,500 members worldwide. Its mission is to advance research and increase knowledge for the improvement of oral health worldwide, to support and represent the oral health research community; and to facilitate the communication and application of research findings.

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Five Recognized for Research Excellence

Five Eastman Institute for Oral Health professionals were recognized at this month’s American Association for Dental Research’s local meeting.

Dozens of visitors reviewed all the poster presentations.

Dozens of visitors reviewed all the poster presentations.

One of the coveted awards is named after Dr. William Bowen, who is seen here reviewing a research project.

Thirty researchers from the Rochester area participated in oral and poster presentations covering a wide range of basic and translational science topics, such as fluoride varnish effectiveness, use of therapy dogs in pediatric dental settings and the success of implants, among many others.

Twenty of these competed for one of the three coveted awards:

The Basil G. Bibby Award is given for outstanding scientific merit among oral and poster presentations by non-degree candidates, such as technical staff, international dental students, residents and those not currently enrolled in an MS or PhD program.

The Michael G. Buonocore Award is given for outstanding scientific merit among oral and poster presentations by degree candidates.

The Bowen Award is given for outstanding scientific merit among oral and poster presentations by candidates in postdoctoral programs.

Each award winner is selected by a panel of judges on the basis of outstanding scientific merit through relevance and originality of hypothesis, clarity of presentation, use of innovative experimental design, methods or data presentation and/or findings or results that contribute significantly to the field of interest.

Winner Leandro Carneiro, center, with Dr. Eli Eliav and Dr. Dorota Kopycka-Kedzierawski

Winner Leandro Carneiro, center, with Dr. Eli Eliav and Dr. Dorota Kopycka-Kedzierawski

Leandro Carneiro, DDS, a Periodontics resident, won the Basil G. Bibby award for his oral presentation on Biomechanical and Histological Evaluation of a New Dental Implant, An Experimental Study in Dogs.

Vanessa Munoz, Prep student, in Dr. Quivey’s lab, won the Basil G. Bibby award for her poster, “Coordinate Regulation of Acid Adaptive Genes in S. mutans. By CodY and CcpA.

Alejandro Aviles Reyes, a Microbiology and Immunology graduate student in Dr. Lemos’ lab, won the Michael G. Buonocore award for his oral presentation, “Modification of Streptococcus mutans Cnm by PgfS Contributes to adhesion, Endothelial Cell Invasin and Virulence.

(l to r) Brendaliz Santiago, Dr. Robert Quivey, Vanessa Munoz, Alejandro Aveiles Reyes, Dr. Jacqueline Abranches, Dr. Jose Lemos, and Marit Aure.

(l to r) Brendaliz Santiago, Dr. Robert Quivey, Vanessa Munoz, Alejandro Aveiles Reyes, Dr. Jacqueline Abranches, Dr. Jose Lemos, and Marit Aure.

Brendaliz Santiago, PhD, a Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Quivey’s lab, won the William H. Bowen award for her oral presentation on Amino Acid Metabolism Contriutes to acid Adaptation and Virulence in S. Mutans.

Marit Aure, PhD, a Postdoctoral Associate in Dr. Ovitt’s lab, also won the William H. Bowen award for her poster presentation, Mechanisms of Acinar Cell Maintenance in the Adult Salivary Gland.

Catherine E. Ovitt, PhD, associate professor of Biomedical Genetics in EIOH’s Center for Oral Biology, delivered the keynote address, “Saving Saliva: Where do We Start?” The awards were presented immediately after her presentation.

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EIOH Expands International Partnerships

EIOH and Dammam leaders

EIOH recently hosted visitors from Saudi Arabia’s Dammam University (from left: EIOH AEGD Chair Dr. Hans Malmstrom, Dammam Associate Dean Dr. Sulaiman Alagl, EIOH Director Dr. Eli Eliav, and Dammam Dean Dr. Fahad Al-Harbi

Eastman Institute for Oral Health is expanding its global impact through new partnerships with Universities in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to establish an advanced general dentistry faculty development and training program.

Two dentists from both Kuwait University and Dammam University will travel to Rochester and participate in a four to five- year program which requires 1) completing the two-year Advanced Education in General Dentistry program, 2) earning a Master of Science or Master of Public Health degree, 3) passing the American Board of General Dentistry exam and 4) engaging in at least two years of part-time teaching. Participants will also be enrolled in graduate courses in education at the Warner School of Education.

“We’re very excited about this unique program to educate the future educators,” said Hans Malmstrom, DDS, professor and chair, General Dentistry and AEGD program director. “This initiative fits perfectly with our mission for faculty development and training in clinical-translational research, clinical care and teaching. It also fits their need for highly trained faculty to accommodate the several dental schools they are opening in both countries.”

Serious discussions began a couple years ago when visitors from Kuwait University visited EIOH to learn more about the AEGD program and a master’s degree to prepare them for an academic career.

Shortly thereafter, Malmstrom was invited to lecture at Dammam University in neighboring Saudi Arabia about esthetic and implant dentistry, where he had the opportunity to discuss the possibility of this program with the administration there. Like Kuwait University, the School of Dentistry at the University of Dammam is expanding and also has an increasing need for qualified faculty members.

saudi map“There are numerous mutual benefits for establishing a closer collaboration with our colleagues in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia,” said EIOH Director Eli Eliav, DMD, PhD, who plans to establish similar partnerships with other international universities. “Unlike traditional study abroad programs, our curriculum will include significant training in clinical and didactic teaching, both through coursework and practice. Trainees will also get substantial involvement in research including clinical trials, teaching and practicing dentistry. The result will be comprehensive preparation for a successful career in academia.”


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New Denture “A World of Difference” for Patients

Dan Winagle’s dentist told him he needed extensive dental work and referred him to a specialist. The specialist referred him to Eastman Dental, where he’s been a patient for the last 15 years, originally with Dr. Gerald Graser, and more recently with Drs. Tatanya Baranovsky and Nancy Mouradian.

Dan did what most parents do – put their children’s needs ahead of their own. Medical bills for his two daughters with severe health problems didn’t leave room for costly dental implants. His untreated dental pain led to abscesses, ultimately needing several extractions. His dentists worked to keep as many of Dan’s teeth as possible, as they would serve as anchors for his new partial dentures. “Without anchors, dentures can slip out while chewing, talking, smiling or laughing, often causing embarrassment.

Within the last several months, though, Dan’s remaining teeth had to be extracted, but this time, Eastman Dental Prosthodontists placed two implants to anchor the bottom denture.

Thanks to his new implant-supported denture, Dan can once again eat foods he loves.

Thanks to his new implant-supported denture, Dan can once again eat foods he loves.

“Anyone who has a bottom denture understands the extreme frustration that goes along with it,” explained Dan, a partner in Spafford/Winagle, a financial consulting agency, specializing in retirement planning. “You have to be very careful with what foods you eat. I love raspberries and peanuts – but they get under the lower denture and it really irritates the gum. Then you have to go rinse out your dentures…it’s very embarrassing when you’re in public.

“Basically, you have to be very careful and re-learn to eat, avoiding foods you love because you’ll have problems,” he added.

“As we age, our bones shrink. Because of this, bottom dentures won’t fit as well, almost as if they are floating in your mouth,” explained Dr. Nancy Mouradian, the Prosthodontist resident who treated Winagle under the supervision of the division chair, Dr. Carlo Ercoli. “Many patients like Dan have found that implant-supported dentures allow a much better fit and better retention without the expense of full implants and crowns.”

At age 85, Dan loves going to work every day to help his clients, many of them who are retired. But now, when he meets a client out for lunch, he smiles a little brighter, and orders exactly what he wants.

“Having the partial denture supported by two implants has raspberriesbeen a world of difference! It’s like night and day,” he said. “I can eat whatever I want, and nothing gets under the denture. I can’t say enough good things about Eastman. For 15 years, I’ve always had good care from everyone who’s treated me. Dr. Baranovsky and Mouradian were both extremely caring and capable in the treatment they provided me. I cannot say enough positive things about them.”

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EIOH Resident Eliminates Patient’s Prolonged Pain

Some people believe in coincidence, while others believe that a certain chain of events is orchestrated by the hand of a higher being.

Whatever the source, Theresa Nelson of Elmira, NY, is incredibly happy that her particular series of events led her to Eastman Dental, where she finally received relief from pain she had been experiencing for years.

Theresa Nelson with Dr. Liu

Theresa Nelson with Dr. Xiuxin Liu

Many years ago, Nelson had a bridge placed involving the back three right upper teeth. More recently, her dentist told her she had a small cavity on the tongue side of that last tooth at the gum line. He filled it, but it fell out—twice. The third time he used a different material, and explained it was challenging because of the cavity’s location.

What followed was continuous pain in the same area, and several visits back to the dentist, to no avail. After checking the need for a possible root canal, she said her dentist fixed a couple malocclusions, but insisted nothing else was wrong.

“The pain increased in intensity,” Nelson remembered, “I would frequently have to stop eating because the pain was so severe and radiated across every tooth on the right. Also, I had been chewing mostly on my left side because the right side was so sensitive. I reached the point where I felt I just wanted the whole bridge removed.”

Then a new situation occurred. Nelson’s jaw began to go out of joint and then get stuck. Yawning, laughing or eating an ice cream cone would trigger it, but she figured out how to push it back in place when it happened. “In addition to the tooth pain, I was now having a lot of pain and headaches associated with my jaw,” she explained. “I searched online and found the TMJ Clinic at Eastman Dental.”

TMJ expert Ross Tallents, DDS, examined her and agreed that clearly something was going on with the tooth in back, and would not treat the TMJD until the tooth issue was resolved.

At that point, Nelson sought the advice of another dentist, who filed down part of the ridge, and provided minimal relief.

To add insult to injury, Nelson was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. “It seemed as though every system in my body was turned upside down…I was having multiple symptoms, on top of terrible head, jaw and neck pain,” she said.

“The pain would come out of nowhere and intensify greatly,” she explained. “I was at a dinner to celebrate my daughter’s college graduation, but the pain was so incredible I had to stop eating. It was then and there that I decided to call Eastman Dental.

“When I called for the appointment, the person I spoke with said she would do all she could to get me in quickly,” Nelson said. “She ended up getting me in that Saturday…I was thrilled!!!”

And it was that Saturday morning, whether by coincidence or fate, she met Xiuxin Liu, DDS, PhD, a resident at the time in Eastman’s Advanced Education in General Dentistry program who has a special interest in the diagnosis and management of dental orofacial pain.

He recently completed research about ATP signaling, which provides energy for living cells in dental orofacial pain, and its implication in dentin hypersensitivity. That study, which proposed to explain why different stimuli induce similar pain in the teeth, was published in the Journal of Dental Research. Because of his novel approach in this area, Liu recently landed a coveted two-year National Institutes of Health clinical translation science institute grant– the KL2 Scholar Award– to continue his work in this area of dental orofacial pain. After listening to Nelson’s story and performing a thorough exam, Liu explained that he thought the filling was jagged, irritating the gum and causing pain.

“He talked about understanding pain and that I had dealt with the pain for so long that my nerves likely became hyper-sensitized,” Nelson remembered. “Dr. Liu gently cleaned up the affected teeth, took x-rays and had me schedule another visit with him to give him time to check the x-rays and review my case with his supervisor.

“When I came back for the second visit, the pain was the same in intensity,” she said. “Based on the x-rays and my response to the tests from the first visit, Dr. Liu was certain the filling was the cause of my agonizing tooth pain.”

“Pain is not just a harmful sensation, but pain itself can induce inflammation and injury to the tissues.” Liu explained. “For Mrs. Nelson’s case, palliative care and avoidance of secondary injury are necessary for tuning down her sensitized nerves. Stress relief and nutritional instruction would also be helpful for her comprehensive rehabilitation.”

After cleaning and reshaping it, Liu removed a significant amount of filling material. At the end of the following day, Nelson noted that she had not experienced awful pain at all that day, or the next and the next. “At my third visit with Dr. Liu, I was so excited to report that the intense, incredible pain was gone!” Nelson said. “I explained to him, however, that while I could chew soft foods on my right side, I still had an issue with chewing harder foods. Dr. Liu felt it could be an occlusal issue and made an adjustment. “I am happy to report that I now can chew all foods on my right side, something I hadn’t been able to do for quite a long time.”

“I feel so grateful to Dr. Liu for diagnosing the source of my severe tooth pain,” she explained. “While it is a two hour drive for me to get to Eastman Dental, I feel it is well worth it to have Dr. Liu address the health of my teeth.

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Area’s First Day for Special Smiles Event Helps Bridge the Gap to Care for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Eastman Institute for Oral Health, Golisano Foundation and Special Olympics are partnering to bridge a long-standing gap to improve access and oral health care for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) and hosted A Day for Special Smiles, a first-of-its kind event in the area.

happy patient with caregiversAccess to dental care is the most unmet health care need in children and adults with developmental disabilities, and for many years, Special Olympic athletes have had oral health screenings, and determined that one in four athletes has untreated dental decay that can cause pain and other medical problems. Despite referrals for care, most of these athletes are not getting the care they need for a variety of reasons uncovered by a recent Golisano Foundation/Eastman Dental-sponsored Task Force.

“People with disabilities face many barriers to accessing high-quality health care, including difficulties in finding health providers who are trained and willing to treat people with disabilities and who will accept their insurance,” said Ann Costello, director of the Golisano Foundation.

But thanks to a new Special Olympics initiative dedicated to providing comprehensive, community-based health care and resources for people with ID, and to educating healthcare professionals, A Day for Special Smiles is the first step in closing this gap. The initiative, Special Olympics Healthy Communities is funded by a $12 million donation from Tom Golisano.

pedersen with happy patient“By supporting Healthy Communities, we hope to eliminate some of the barriers, and connect people with care in their community to address problems that are preventable and treatable and can help them live a fuller and more productive life,” said Onolee Stephan, director, Community Health Program for Special Olympics in Rochester.

Athletes received treatment for their most immediate dental needs including baseline x-rays, full exams, fillings, and cleanings. More than 30 volunteers, including dentists, dental students, dental assistants, faculty, and staff provided the care at Eastman Dental Downtown, who donated the clinic space and time.

eliav and perlman“Part of our mission is to care for the underserved, including people with intellectual disabilities, complex diseases, and geriatric patients, among others,” said Dr. Eli Eliav, director, Eastman Institute for Oral Health. “We’re committed to sharing our expertise in this area with the world and are establishing fellowship and training programs to expand this vital educational initiative.”

“I really enjoyed this experience today,” said Bharathi Gorantla, DDS, a first-year resident in the EIOH Advanced Education in General Dentistry program, who had previously not had any interactions with adults with ID. “I learned that taking a little extra time is beneficial in treating the patient, to allow for successful communication and comfort level for the patient.”

happy patient“We are faced with so many issues in this field toward dental care, that today’s event was a phenomenal way for people to get adequate care, especially in between their six month visits,” said Tim Rifenberg, a residential manager at CDS Monarch, and who brought 13 people for treatment. “These folks have more dental issues and more challenges, and in my opinion, require more care than every six months. A big challenge is the lack of providers who accept Medicaid and are familiar or patient with the ID disability population.”

Another challenge, Rifenberg added, is staffing issues. Having a staff member accompany the patients to the dentist or to A Day for Special Smiles event is critical for a successful visit, he said. “Ideally, having a portable unit travel to the group homes would be an incredible service,” said Rifenberg, who has worked with people with ID for 25 years.

“I want to come here for good,” said Mike Traver, a Special Olympics athlete who lives in a CDS Monarch residence. “I like it here…I like the treatment, and was treated nicely.”

abra with patientAbrahim Caroci, DMD, who is a resident at Eastman Institute for Oral Health, proposed and organized the country’s first A Day for Special Smiles in Arizona, and played an integral role in establishing this second event. “We wanted to provide an experience for current and future dentists and oral health leaders to work with their local population with ID in order to forge a relationship that would last beyond the academic years,” said Caroci. “Eastman is a perfect place to foster this relationship.”

day for special smiles 1“I think it’s great for Eastman Dental to provide a safety net for the community and help increase awareness through this event,” said Steven Perlman, DDS, founder of the Special Olympics’ Special Smiles program,and clinical professor of Pediatric Dentistry at The Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine. He was at the event to emphasize the critical importance of improving access to dental care for people with ID. “The great thing here is that residents and faculty are creating a model that can be taken to other schools to follow.”

189“One of the pillars of our grant is about training the next generation of health care providers,” Costello said as she thanked volunteers before patients arrived. “As you continue through your work, education and practice, I hope you remember this day and welcome people with ID in your practice. Educate your future fellow providers about the importance of making your practice accessible not only clinically, but physically, emotionally, and spiritually.”

With the country’s first two A Day for Special Smiles events a success, organizers will look at some data collected to determine next steps.

“We want to compare the dental health of athletes who came to the Day for Special Smiles with those athletes who did not, to determine if the event has an impact on the number of athletes who receive dental care after being screened at a Special Olympics event,” explained Stephan. “We also want to determine the impact of the event on dental providers’ perceptions of people with intellectual disabilities before and after participating.”

218Key in organizing the event are members of the local student chapter of American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD) and the Strong Center for Developmental Disability, Drs. Lisa DeLucia, Abrahim Caroci, Vineela Redla, and Laura Robinson, MPH, a training and outreach coordinator for adults with IDD in the Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Division at URMC.

Donations were generously provided by Patterson Dental Supplies, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Tasteful Connections, and Cam’s Pizzeria.



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Eastman Dentist Awarded for Community Health Efforts

EIOH Pediatric Dentist and Assistant Professor Lisa DeLucia, DDS, was awarded a Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Award.

The awards are named in honor of the 16th Surgeon General of the U.S., who completed his medical residency at URMC in 1972 and in 1995 received an honorary degree from the University. Satcher went on to become a leading voice in the field of public health and has dedicated his career to public health policy.

The community health improvement awards distinguish individuals who have made

group photo

l to r. Nancy Bennett, MD, Anne Brayer, MD, Lisa DeLucia, DDS, Caroline Nestro, RN, Adewale Troutman, MD, MPH

significant contributions to community health in the greater Rochester region through research, education, clinical services, and outreach efforts. The awards reflect URMC’s mission to continue to develop and expand university-community partnerships that support participatory research and interventions that reduce health inequalities and improve the community’s health.

The annual grand rounds address was delivered by Adewale Troutman, MD, MPH, MA, CPH, professor, director of Public Health Practice and Leadership, University of South Florida. His talk, “Health Equity and Social Justice—Not Just a Walk in the Park,” preceded the awards ceremony.

DeLucia was awarded for her work partnering with Special Olympics Special Smiles, a dental screening program that addresses oral health disparities among those in the community with disabilities. She has been involved with this program since 2004 as a volunteer and was trained in 2006 to serve as a clinical director, all while in dental school. DeLucia has recruited and educated dental professionals, students, and residents in the care for patients with special needs, and is working to address gaps in care for this population. Since 2006, she has organized three to four events annually, providing oral health screenings to upwards of 200 athletes with the help of more than 30 volunteers at each event.

Other winners were Anne F. Brayer, M.D., professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics and the director of both the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Rochester and the Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship and Caroline Nestro, R.N., M.S., associate director of the Office of Mental Health Promotion in the Department of Psychiatry.


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