Endodontics, Students

Endodontic Residents Receive National Awards from Endodontic Association

Drs. Linda Chan and Johnah Galicia were among the winners of the 2013 American Association of Endodontists (AAE)/DENTSPLY Resident Awards named at the AAE Annual Session in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Both Chan’s and Galicia’s winning research focuses on microRNAs, naturally occurring, non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression. microRNAs regulate the molecular pathways linked to the immune response, inflammation and pain. Chan and Galicia’s research is novel because the role of microRNA in endodontic disease is, to date, a generally uninvestigated area of study.

Chan, a third-year resident who is a candidate for graduation at the end of the month, won in the oral research presentation category of the AAE/DENTSPLY Resident Awards. Her oral presentation entitled “MicroRNAs: New Insights into the Pathogenesis of Endodontic Periapical Disease,” focused on the expression of microRNAs in diseased periapical tissues. Periapical tissues are commonly known as tissues that exist around the apex of the root of a tooth.

Galicia, a second year-resident, won an AAE/DENTSPLY Resident Award in the poster research presentation category. His poster presentation, entitled “Pathogen-Induced MicroRNA Expression in a Human Pulpal Fibroblast Model,” examined the role of microRNA in regulating the immune response of pulpal fibroblasts (the most common cell types found in the tooth).

Dr. Asma Khan, assistant professor in the Department of Endodontics, served as mentor for both Chan and Galicia.

“We’re excited that our residents are achieving at such high levels at conferences like the AAE Annual Session,” said Dr. Eric Rivera, chair of the Department of Endodontics and director of the graduate endodontics program. “Drs. Chan and Galicia are doing groundbreaking research with their study of microRNA and its relation to endodontics. They are both very deserving of this honor.”

The AAE/DENTSPLY Resident Awards competition is judged by a panel of clinical and basic science experts before recipients of the awards are named. More than 200 oral and poster presenters participated in 2013. The AAE Annual Session is the largest endodontic meeting in the world. It draws over 5,000 local and international participants each year.