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5 Win AADR Student Research Fellowships

Lior Aljadeff

Sarah Baxter

Cassandra Campbell

Joe Nguyen

Jacob Williams

Ann Arbor, MI — April 16, 2014 — Five University of Michigan School of Dentistry dental students have won Student Research Fellowships from the American Association for Dental Research.  The Fellowships, presented during AADR’s recent annual meeting, encourage dental students living in the U.S. to consider careers in oral health research.  The five students are:

Lior Aljadeff (D3)

Mentor:  Dr. Theodora Danciu

Project:  Histomorphology, EMT and Stemness Markers Characterize Invasive Tumor Front Behavior and Predict Overall Survival in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Research Focus:  Seeking to identify molecular indicators that may characterize oral cancer tumors that are highly aggressive, especially early-stage tumors that are still small.  Identifying aggressive, early-stage tumors could lead to more effective and more personalized treatments.


Sarah Baxter (D3)

Mentor:  Dr. Margherita Fontana

Project:  Metabolic Markers of Caries in Saliva and Plaque of Toddlers

Research Focus:  A pilot study investigating whether metabolites in plaque and saliva can potentially be used in caries risk assessment of toddlers.  Analysis involves comparing the metabolite profiles in samples from children with and without early childhood caries.


Cassandra Campbell (D3)

Mentor:  Dr. Nan Hatch

Project:  TNAP Enzyme Replacement Therapy for the Treatment of Hypophosphatasia-Associated Craniosynostosis and Associated Craniofacial Shape Abnormalities in Alpl -/- Mice

Research Focus: Enzyme replacement therapy has successfully been used to treat decreased bone mineralization in patients suffering from a genetic disorder known as hypophosphatasia. Patients are treated weeks to years after birth, but and premature fusion of cranial sutures remains a problem in this population. The goal is to determine at what point in development should enzyme replacement therapy be initiated to prevent the premature fusion of cranial sutures.


Joe Nguyen (DDS/PhD, 2nd year)

Mentor:  Dr. Paul Krebsbach

Project:  mEAK-7 Is a Potential Regulator of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Self Renewal

Research Focus:  The goal of this project is to try to understand how human pluripotent stem cells retain their ability to self renew.  Using a protein found in worms, EAK-7, this research is trying to understand the function of a similar protein in human stem cells which may lead us to use regenerative medicine to treat patients.




Jacob Williams (D3)

Mentor:  Dr. Jacques Nör

Project:  STAT3 Signaling and Vasculogenic Differentiation of Dental Pulp Stem Cells

Research Focus: Since dental pulp stem cells can turn into other types of cells, this research focuses on studying specific molecules and signaling events that guide the development of dental pulp stem cells into endothelial cells.  Understanding this process may lead to bioengineering vascularized dental pulp cells and possibly an alternative to conventional root canal therapy.