Julie Marchesan, DDS, PhD, assistant professor of periodontology, was awarded the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) Anne D. Haffajee Fellowship for her project, “Sex impact of caspase-1 mediation of periodontal bone destruction.” The $10,000 award is designed to support the academic and scientific development of female researchers towards an independent research career by funding travel, training and career development during the fellowship period.
“Dr. Haffajee was a revolutionary individual and paved the way for many of us, female dental researchers. To have the opportunity to carry on her legacy with an award in her honor is a very humbling experience,” said Marchesan. “Women have been underrepresented in high academic rankings and research endeavors for a long time. This award will allow our group here at UNC to help uncover why a drug blocked gum disease progression in males – but had no effect in females.”
The Haffajee Fellowship is open to female members of AADR who are within 10 years of their last professional degree and have demonstrated a commitment to a research career in oral biology as well as academic promise.
The Haffajee Fellowship was created in recognition of Dr. Haffajee’s many contributions to clinical research in periodontology and oral biology and her prominence as a female leader and role model in the field. The immediate goal of this fellowship is to support women researchers at the early stages of their scientific careers. The long–term objective of this fellowship is to increase the representation of women at the higher ranks in science and academia in the field of oral biology.
After receiving her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree and periodontal training from the University of Sao Paulo School of Dentistry, she pursued a PhD in oral health sciences from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and post-doctoral training at the UNC-CH Adams School of Dentistry.
Marchesan is currently supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research under a K01 and collaborative R01 research award. Her main research focuses on exploring the role of innate immune receptors in the pathogenesis of periodontal disease. She has received 14 awards and 15 mentored-student awards that recognize and support her research endeavors. She has been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals, including Arthritis and Research Therapy, Journal of Periodontology, and the Journal of Dental Research and Nature Protocols.