Advanced Education, Awards, Pediatric Dentistry

Baker and Heimisdottir Awarded at AAPD Annual Session

Suzanne Baker, DDS, MPH, third-year pediatric dentistry resident, and Laura Heimisdottir, DDS, first-year pediatric dentistry resident, received awards at the 72nd Annual Session of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).  

Baker presented the results of her research project as a Sunstar/AAPD Research Fellowship recipient. She was selected as the second-place winner in the poster competition out of 500 entries for her research, “Double-blind, randomized trial of 1% buffered vs. 2% unbuffered lidocaine injections in children.” Her advisor is Jessica Lee, DDS, MPH, PhD. Co-authors include Ray White, DDS, PhD; Ceib Phllips, MPH, PhD; and Kimon Divaris, DDS, PhD. 

“I am humbled and honored that our project received such recognition,” said Baker. “It was a team effort that could not have been accomplished without the help of many faculty, students and staff. It is my hope that our study will serve as a launching point for additional investigations in the future and will ultimately help improve safety and oral health outcomes for children.” 

“Dr. Baker’s study is among the first to examine the buffered anesthetic solution using a double blinded randomized study design. We are thrilled that Dr. Baker received this recognition in a very competitive field,” said Lee. “This was an ambitious project for a graduate student, but her diligence and hard work paid off.” 

Heimisdottir is the recipient of the 2019 Ralph E. McDonald Award after competing as one of eight recipients for the Graduate Student Research Award (GRSA). Her project is titled, “Metabolomics insights in Early Childhood Caries” and was funded by a grant from the NIH/NIDCR (U01-DE025046). Her advisor is Kimon Divaris, DDS, PhD.  

Heimisdottir follows several other UNC-CH Adams School of Dentistry pediatric dentistry residents as a McDonald Award recipient, including 2010 winner Stephanie Jackson, DDS ‘07, MS ‘10; 2009 winner Raymond Tseng, DDS, PhD; 2004 winner Krissy Coffield, DDS ‘99, MS ‘03; 2003 winner Lina Cardenas, DDS, MS ‘02, PhD; 1993 winner Anne Wilson, DDS, MS ‘92; and 1991 winner Ioanna Iatridi Roberson, DDS, MS ‘90. 

“It is a great honor to receive the 2019 Ralph E. McDonald award,” said Heimisdottir. “I am so grateful for all my collaborators, faculty and co-residents, I could not have done this without them. This research project is based of an enormous data that has much potential for further work, now we will continue the project.”

“This is a very well-deserved honor and recognition for Lara and her collaborators. She managed to navigate a very complex topic including ‘big’ data and complex biology in record time—and then she succeeded in making it understandable and relevant to both scientists and practicing pediatric dentists,” said Divaris.  

“I have no doubt that she will continue her work and development of this exciting line of metabolomics caries research and upon its completion, we will gain valuable and actionable new information about the disease and its optimal management.”