59th Birnberg Research Program

The 59th Birnberg Research Program was held on April 13 and 14, 2016.  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 2016 Birnberg Award recipient was Dr. Rena D'Souza, Associate Vice Provost for Research, The University of Utah, and Professor of Dental Sciences, Neurobiology & Anatomy, and Pathology.  Dr.  D'Souza's Birnberg lecture was titled “Novel treatment strategies for craniofacial disorders.”  Following the lecture, Dean Christian Stohler and Dr. Ronnie Myers representing the Alumni Association of the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, presented the Birnberg Research Medal Award of the Dental Alumni of Columbia University to Dr. D'Souza.

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 Alina O'Brien (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 52 posters were presented by CDM predoctoral and postdoctoral students in basic science, clinical science, behavioral science/public health, and postdoctoral categories.  Twenty-eight faculty mentors were involved in the development of the predoctoral and postdoctoral student projects.  Mentors of CDM student research projects in 2015-2016 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 2016 Jarvie Journal, Kristy Kao (D3) Editor-in Chief, documenting the scientific content of this all-school CDM research event. 

Research  Committee members, as well as 34 judges from the CDM faculty, reviewed the presentations and selected the predoctoral and postdoctoral students who received recognition for their research poster presentations.  

2016 Award Recipients

Two award winners in the basic science area, Shaun Darrah (D3) and Yena Jun (D3), were chosen to represent the school at the next Hinman Student Research Symposium, where they participate, along with top ranked student researchers from other dental schools, in a national poster/abstract presentation and competition.  Predoctoral student, Paul Lee (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, Rachel Vorwaller   (D2) was 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 postdoctoral category, two awardees shared top honors: Jaffer Shariff (Periodontics) and Albert Le (Periodontics).