A student dental research works with a sample in a lab.
Andrea Escalante-Herrera is one of four USask researchers to receive CADR-NCOHR awards in the Senior Basic Science category. (Photo: Submitted)

USask dentistry students lead national research competition

Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan (USask) College of Dentistry combine to win a total of eight CADR-NCOHR Student Research Awards.

Eight students representing the College of Dentistry have been chosen as recipients of CADR-NCOHR Student Research Awards, the top performance of any Canadian dental college.

Projects submitted by four USask students received awards in the junior researcher category, and four more students were recognized in the senior category. College of Dentistry students claimed almost half of the 18 total awards given out across Canada.

“I am extremely pleased that CADR-NCOHR has recognized the interest and commitment to research by students and faculty members within the College of Dentistry,” said Dean Walter Siqueira (DDS, PhD). “As a college, we understand the importance of fostering a culture of research that serves dentistry and the community."

Trainees working in dental and oral health research in Canada submitted a manuscript describing their studies in application for the award sponsored by Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR) and Network for Canadian Oral Health Research (NCOHR). The competition was judged by a panel of 18 dental researchers from across Canada.

In the Senior Basic Science category, the USask award recipients are:

  • Andrea Escalante-Herrera, Degradation of histatin 5 as a marker of periodontal disease. Supervisor: Dr. Walter Siqueira
  • Ibrahim Hoja, A Novel Biofilm Inhibitor and TTO Prevent Dental Caries and Enhance Dental Tissue Regeneration. Supervisor: Petros Papagerakis
  • Angha Himanshu Naik, The terpenoid celastrol antagonizes transforming growth factor (TGF) β-induced gene expression in human gingival fibroblasts. Supervisor: Dr. Andrew Leask
  • Rima Siauciunaite, Oral cancer pathogenesis and treatment: effects of circadian clock disruption. Supervisor: Dr. Silvana Papagerakis

In the junior researcher category, all four recipients are part of the college’s Bachelor of Science in Dentistry degree program. The two-year program for students who are interested in research operates alongside the Doctor of Dental Medicine program.

“We are very proud of them,” said Dr. Keith Da Silva (DDS), program director. “It speaks to the quality of the students’ work and the mentorship they are getting from each supervisor in the BSc program.

Award recipients in the junior researcher category are:

  • Bradley Bigsby, Dentinal microcracks after endodontic treatment: a longitudinal study using synchrotron-imaging. Supervisor: Dr. Renata Grazziotin
  • Juan Buitrago, Examining Dental Unit Waterline Testing Practices Over an 11-year Period. Supervisor: Dr. Michelle Siqueira
  • Sara Hasell, The oral health status of children living with autism spectrum disorder. Supervisor: Dr. Ahmed Hussain
  • Kovie Luu, An Evaluation of Dental Continuing Professional Development Programs in the United States and Canada. Supervisor: Dr. Keith Da Silva

The eight USask award recipients will present their research before 4,000 attendees from across North America at the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) and CADR annual meeting in Portland, OR., during March 2023. Each researcher received a $1,000 prize to support their conference attendance.

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