56th Birnberg Research Program

The 56th Birnberg Research Program was held on April 9 and 10, 2013.  The annual Birnberg Research Program brings a clear focus on dental research to the dental school and the entire Health Sciences Campus through the Birnberg Award, lecture, and the Birnberg Day student scientific poster presentations.  The Birnberg Award was established in the early 1950’s to encourage dental research of excellence and to help build public interest for the support of dental research.  A scientist who has made significant research contributions to the understanding of oral health is selected by nomination of the Research Advisory Committee to the Dean for recognition as the Birnberg Awardee. 

The 2013 Birnberg Award recipient was Dr. Peter Polverini, Dean of the School of Dentistry, University of Michigan, and Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.  Dr. Polverini’s research focuses on angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels) and its relationship to cancer and chronic inflammatory disease.  Dr.  Polverini is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, a recipient of the Distinguished Scientist Award in Oral Medicine and Pathology from the International Association for Dental Research, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences.  Dr. Polverini was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 2010.  He recently assumed the Presidency of the American Association for Dental Research in April 2013.  Dr. Polverini’s Birnberg lecture was titled “Limiting Tumor Progression and Overcoming Drug Resistance by Targeting Angiogenesis.”  Following the lecture, Interim Dean, Dr. Ronnie Myers, Myers presented the Birnberg Award to Dr. Polverini on behalf of Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. 

The Birnberg Student Research Poster Session is the highlight of the annual cycle of research and presentation for CDM students.  Members of the Jarvie Society, the CDM student research organization, led by President Jeffrey Hajibandeh (D3), organized the event.  Dental students (both predoctoral and postdoctoral) who have conducted significant research present their research in an afternoon poster-session/table clinic that is open to the university.  This year a total of 42 posters were presented by CDM predoctoral and postdoctoral students in basic science, clinical science, behavioral science/public health, and postdoctoral categories.  Twenty-six faculty mentors were involved in the development of the pre-doctoral and post-doctoral student projects.  Mentors of CDM student research projects in 2012-2013 included faculty members in CDM, P&S and Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.  All poster abstracts were collected and published in the 2013 Jarvie JournalMatt Cozin (D4) Editor-in Chief, documenting the scientific content of this all-school CDM research event. 

Research Advisory Committee members, as well as 15 judges from the CDM faculty, reviewed the presentations and selected the predoctoral and postdoctoral students who received recognition for their research poster presentations.  

2013 Award Recipients

Two award winners in the basic science area, Ying Wan (D3) and Jason Lin (D2), were chosen to represent the school at the next Hinman Student Research Symposium, where they will participate, along with top ranked student researchers from other dental schools, in a national poster/abstract presentation and competition.  Predoctoral student, Nicholas Nagaki (D2), was chosen to receive the Dentsply Student Clinician Research Award and to represent CDM at the next Annual Session of the American Dental Association, where he will participate in the national poster/abstract presentation and competition.  Pending acceptance as presenters of peer-reviewed abstracts, two award winners in the behavioral/public health area, Ashley Houle (D2) and Katherine Fleming (D2), were selected to represent CDM at an oral public health national meeting, such as the National Oral Health Conference or the American Public Health Association annual meeting.  In the post-doctoral category, three awardees shared top honors: Fransiskus Andrianto (Prosthodontics), Iva LeRoy (Pediatric Dentistry), and Ryan Turner (Periodontics).