DDS, Faculty and Staff, Pediatric Dentistry, Students

Faculty Member Wright, Students Doswell and Katz Honored at International Research Meeting

At last month’s International Association of Dental Research (IADR) Annual Meeting, three representatives from the UNC School of Dentistry are being honored for their research. The IADR meeting was held June 25-28 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Dr. J. Timothy Wright, director of strategic initiatives and member of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry faculty, was named the recipient of the Basic Research in Biological Mineralization Award, which is supported by Unilever Oral Care. Considered one of the highest honors bestowed by IADR, the award is one of 16 IADR Distinguished Scientist Awards. Wright is recognized internationally as a leading clinician-scientist, in part due to his groundbreaking research on inherited disorders of the dentition (arrangement/condition of the teeth). The award is designed to honor research in the field of biological mineralization while encouraging more research in the field. As the recipient, Wright received a plaque and a money prize.

Catherine “Katie” Doswell, D.D.S. Candidate 2015, received the 2014 American Association for Dental Research (AADR) Bloc Travel Grant based on the scientific excellence of the abstract she submitted for the IADR General Session and Exhibition. She presented her research project entitled Participation in a community-based program and early childhood oral-health-related quality-of-life, which focuses on early childhood oral health-related quality of life. She and her mentor, Dr. Kimon Divaris, research assistant professor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, utilizes the baseline interview data from the Zero Out Early childhood tooth decay (ZOE) study. ZOE started at UNC in 2008 and is designed to eliminate early childhood tooth decay in children enrolled in Early Head Start programs across North Carolina by building upon the efforts of medical and dental professionals to reduce early childhood tooth decay.

Lauren Katz, also D.D.S. Candidate 2015, finished second in the AADR Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Hatton Awards Competition, earning her the opportunity to present her research as well. She and her mentor, Dr. Eric Everett, associate dean for research and professor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, investigated a genetic mutation (OVE1226b), which exhibits cleft palate, limb dysplasia and craniofacial dysmorphology as autosomal recessive traits. Craniofacial defects such as cleft palate and lip are among the most common birth defects, reported to occur in one in 2,000 births. Katz’s work was supported in part by a 2012 AADR Student Research Fellowship.

“Our school is exceptionally fortunate to have such wonderful representatives being honored at IADR,” said Everett. “Tim, Katie and Lauren are all outstanding examples of the research happening at UNC. We’re incredibly proud of their achievements.”