DDS, Research, Students

Rennick, Capps Receive AADR Travel Grants

UNC-Chapel Hill third-year dental students Lauren Rennick and Byron Capps have received 2009 American Association for Dental Research (AADR) Bloc Travel Grants to apply toward their travel and housing at the upcoming International Association for Dental Research’s (IADR) 87th General Session and Exhibition in Miami.

Grant recipients were selected based on the scientific excellence of the research abstracts they submitted for the event, said AADR officials.

Rennick and Capps will receive $1,000 to apply toward their hotel and round-trip airfare costs. As a part of their grant, they will submit a report after the April 1-4 IADR General Session and Exhibition evaluating the meeting and discussing how the experience in presenting their abstracts informed their plans to pursue research within their careers.

Capps’ research project, titled “The Importance of IAP/cd47 in Osteoblast Differentiation,” concerns bone formation. “The cell surface molecule IAP has been implicated in the proper function of osteoclasts [bone-removing cells], so we investigated its possible role in osteoblasts [bone-forming cells],” he said. Study data suggest an important role for IAP in differentiating osteoblast cells, Capps added.

Dr. Eric Everett, associate professor of pediatric dentistry, and Dr. Laura Maile, assistant professor of medicine in the School of Medicine, are Capps’ faculty advisers.

Rennick’s research project is titled “Refining the Tooth Agenesis Phenotype: Comparison of Syndromic Versus Non-Syndromic.” Her study investigates patterns of tooth agenesis, or the congenital absence of teeth; severe forms of missing teeth are often associated with ectodermal dysplasia (ED). The objective of her research is to compare the phenotype (examining size and shape, as well as number of missing teeth) of individuals and families with ectodermal dysplasia with the phenotype of individuals and families with missing teeth not associated with a syndrome.

Study data suggest that the molecular pathways involved result in a more generalized tooth loss in ED than when a syndrome is not present.

Dr. Sylvia Frazier-Bowers, assistant professor of orthodontics, is Rennick’s faculty adviser.

The AADR Bloc Travel Grant program is funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Fifty students nationwide received the grants this year.