Kevin Byrd, DDS, PhD, and postdoctoral research associate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry received first place in the postdoctoral category in the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) Hatton Competition under the mentorship of Scott Williams, PhD, at the UNC-CH School of Medicine.
Byrd will compete in the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) Unilever Hatton Competition and Awards held during IADR’s 96th General Session and Exhibition in London, England this July, along with individuals in dental schools around the world.
“I am excited to have been recognized for my research at the national level and will be proud to represent the UNC School of Dentistry at the IADR Unilever Hatton Competition this year,” said Byrd. “UNC has been such an excellent place to create and to collaborate. Though I am specifically being awarded, there are many individuals—from undergraduates to senior mentors—who have supported me to make this award possible.”
The AADR competition sends qualified individuals to the IADR Unilever Hatton Competition and Awards. The IADR Hatton Awards provide an opportunity for the best junior investigators from all IADR divisions and sections to present their research at the annual IADR General Session. Of the international competitors, only six – two from each category, junior, senior and post-doctoral – will receive monetary prizes and commemorative plaques.
From the many applicants for the AADR Hatton Competition, only the 27 best are selected as finalists. These finalists submit an extended abstract and prepare an oral presentation to give during the AADR annual meeting. Six finalists are then selected to represent the AADR at the international competition in London. As one of three first place winners at the AADR competition, Byrd will receive $1,000, travel and lodging in London and a commemorative plaque.
Byrd recently finished his doctor of philosophy in oral and craniofacial biomedicine, and is pursuing a certificate from the school’s Graduate Program in Periodontology. His research is focused on characterizing oral epithelial stem and progenitor cells and how their regulation contributes to wound healing and oral squamous cell carcinomas. Currently, he is considering how to adapt his findings for autologous soft tissue grafts in a clinical setting.
This is not the first time Byrd has placed in the Hatton Competition – in 2015, he won first place in the senior category. Byrd published two peer-reviewed articles during his doctorate of philosophy studies, received numerous clinical honors and awards, and held various professional affiliations and memberships. His research has been supported by the NIH/NIDCR, including: the Training Program for the Next Generation of Oral Health Researchers (T90); an NIH/NIDCR Loan Repayment Program award; and a five-year Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08).