Ann Arbor, MI — December 6, 2012 — Daniel Clark, a fourth-year dental student at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, recently won a first-place award from the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.
Clark received the award during the organization’s annual meeting for his poster presentation that described how a novel coating, applied to dental or medical implants or bone scaffolds, might be used in the future. He discovered that the coating, fluoridated hydroxyapatite, stimulated pluripotent stem cells to become bone-forming cells. Bone cell formation, Clark said, could play an important role in the acceleration and enhancement of osseointegration critical to the success of dental implants.
As he conducted his research, Clark said he discovered that a signaling molecule, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), might also play a role in bone development. VEGF is an important signaling protein responsible for blood vessel growth and development. “While recent work has shown VEGF’s ability to promote bone formation, our work goes a step further by presenting a novel role for VEGF,” Clark said.
After he receives his dental degree next spring, Clark said he will pursue a degree in periodontics and a PhD in oral and craniofacial sciences at the University of California in San Francisco.
Clark’s research was supported by a student research grant from AAID. His mentor was Dr. Jun Liu, an assistant research scientist in the School’s Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences, and Endodontics.
The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral health care education, research, patient care, and community service. General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the School to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan. Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists, and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia, and public agencies. Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide. For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at: www.dent.umich.edu.