Dental Students Participate in Annual Research Day

Medical and dental students present their research on Medical and Dental Student Research Day, March 2, 2020. (Tina Encarnacion/UConn Health photo)

This week, students in the School of Dental Medicine participated in the 2020 Medical and Dental Student Research Day— a culmination of medical and dental students’ projects for the year.

The day began with a visit from the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, who told medical and dental students in his keynote address that medical professionals need to become more active communicators on public health issues.

Dr. Steven Lepowsky, interim dean of the School of Dental Medicine, thanked faculty mentors and judges and commended the students on behalf of both the medical and dental schools.

“I would like to acknowledge and commend the incredible efforts by all of the medical and dental student researchers,” Lepowsky said. “The depth and breadth of your work is impressive and you should all be proud of your achievements.”

After a day of oral and poster presentations on topics ranging from parental attitudes towards sedation and children’s behavior in the dental operatory, to prophylactic antibiotic prescription practices by dentists in an academic outpatient setting, dental students and their mentors gathered for the awards ceremony.

Dr. Rajesh Lalla, associate dean for research, kicked off the ceremony with some words on the importance of research.

“People use the word research for many different activities,” said Lalla. “From a scientific perspective, the true meaning of research is an activity that results in the generation of new knowledge. As a result of your efforts, we manage to know something that we didn’t know before. In most cases, research leads to small advances in knowledge that don’t change the world overnight. As we continuously advance the forefront of knowledge, these advances build upon each other until someone is in the position to make that next advance that does change the world.”

Lepowsky was pleased with this year’s research projects.

Dental students at Medical and Dental Student Research Day, March 2, 2020. (Tina Encarnacion/UConn Health photo)

“The quality of your work is impressive, and collectively, you have demonstrated that the future of the science that is foundational to our profession is in good hands.”

Dr. Aditya Tadinada, associate dean for graduate research, education and training, and director of student research, led the awards ceremony. The awards included the Dean’s Award, which recognizes excellence in clinical application and includes an expense-paid trip to a research symposium held in Memphis, Tennessee. A representative with Dentsply Sirona was also on hand to give out the student clinician award, which includes a trip to the 2021 Student Competition for Advancing Dental Research and its Application (SCADA) event at the 98th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) in Boston, Massachusetts. Other awards included scholarships from Colgate-Palmolive, the Connecticut Holistic Health Association, and the Omicron Kappa Upsilon-Phi Chi Chapter at UConn.

The full list of dental awards is below:

Dean’s Award:  Lauren Cardarelli

Associate Dean’s Award:  Kathryn Forth

Colgate-Palmolive Student Research Award: Madison Cohen and Alexandra McKenna

Dentsply-Sirona Student Clinician Award:  Patricia Hare

Connecticut Holistic Health Association Award:  Rebecca Salustri

Dental Student Research Society Award: Tyler Guido

Gustave Perl Memorial Award:  Jay Kim

Omicron Kappa Upsilon-Phi Chi Chapter Award (Basic Science):  Matthew Wittstein

Omicron Kappa Upsilon-Phi Chi Chapter Award (Clinical Science):  Mikayla Moynahan

Sigma Xi Membership Award: Kathryn Forth and Patricia Hare