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Students present wide variety of research for Pathways projects

From left, faculty members Dan Chiego and William Giannobile, student Riley Schaff and Dean Laurie McCauley.

From left, faculty members Domenica Sweier and Mark Pinsky, student Tyler Eatchel and Dean Laurie McCauley.

From left, faculty members John Hamerink and Howard Hamerink, student Brandon Churchman and Dean Laurie McCauley.

Ann Arbor, Mich., April 4, 2017 -– As students in the Class of 2017 near the end of their School of Dentistry path, they marked a significant milestone Friday by presenting their research projects at the annual Pathways Day.

About 100 students presented 66 posters and table projects as the culmination of their research for the school’s Pathways Program. The self-directed study allows students to investigate areas of their choosing within dentistry that go beyond their coursework and training as dentists. The senior class that presented their work Friday chose projects in research, leadership or healthcare delivery.

The following students won awards, as judged by faculty, who serve as mentors for the students during their four years of shaping and completing their projects:

• Riley Schaff – Research Pathway Directors Choice Award – Oral Presentation: “TLR4, NOD1 & NOD2 Mediate Immune Recognition of Putative Newly Identified Periodontal Pathogens.” Mentor: Will Giannobile.
• Tyler Eatchel – Leadership Pathway Directors Choice Award – Oral Presentation: “Quantification of Lapses in Accepted Dental Protocols by Dental Professionals from a Human Factors Point of View.”  Mentor: Mark Pinsky.
• Brandon Churchman – Healthcare Delivery Pathway Directors Choice Award – Oral Presentation: “Practicing Physicians Assistants’ and Faculty Members’ Knowledge, Education and Professional Behavior Related to Patients’ Oral Health: A Survey.” Mentor: Marita Inglehart.
• Sheridan Kelley – Healthcare Delivery Pathway Directors Choice Award – Poster: “Assessing Perinatal Oral Health.” Mentor: Ruth Zielinski.
• Andrei Taut – Research Pathway Directors Choice Award – Poster: “Bone Tissue Engineering of Maxillary Sinus Bone Deficiencies Using Enriched CD90+ Stem Cell Therapy: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial.” Mentor: Darnell Kaigler
• Bryant Dudzik – Leadership Pathway Directors Choice Award – Poster (tie): “Dental Student Attendance Investigation and Analysis at U-M SoD.”  Mentors: Domenica Sweier and Mark Pinsky
• Patrick Chuang – Leadership Pathway Directors Choice Award – Poster (tie): “Analyzing Dental School Websites Across the United States and Its Ease of Read for Patients with Limited English Proficiency.”  Mentors: Domenica Sweier and Mark Pinsky
• Anna Holden and Jacob Fischer – Healthcare Delivery Pathway Directors Choice Award – Table: “Second Look for Oral Radiology.” Mentors: Erika Benavides & Michael Hortsch

Prior to the poster presentation part of Pathways Day, students and faculty gathered at Kellogg Auditorium for a keynote speaker, Dr. James Holloway, U-M’s Vice Provost for Global and Engaged Education, who discussed building leadership skills. Holloway, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and professor of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, said leadership is often confused with “being in charge” as a boss, but they are not the same thing. A lot of people who are in charge are not leaders, and a lot of leaders are not in charge, he said.

Holloway shared definitions and common themes in business research that show that, for many people, a boss has a slightly negative connotation involving control, authority and telling others what to do. A leader, by contrast, guides, inspires and is humble in aspiring to improve whatever environment they are working in. Much of leadership is about courage and influence, Holloway said. As a leader, he said, “Courage is an action that I take to change the world; influence is an action that I take to get you to take an action to change the world.”

The takeaway message when discussing leadership is to dispute the common notion that not everyone can be a leader. It is true, Holloway said, that not everyone can be in charge, but everyone can learn and adopt the characteristics of leaders. He noted this is particularly important at a university where students and faculty are regularly described as “the leaders and best.”

Dr. Tracy de Peralta, director of the Pathways Program, thanked students, faculty and staff for their work in completing the Class of 2017’s Pathways projects. Other members of the steering committee are Dr. Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch, associate dean for academic affairs; Drs. Howard Hamerink and John Hamerink, directors of the Healthcare Delivery Pathway; Drs. Domenica Sweier and Mark Pinsky, directors of the Leadership Pathway; and Dr. Dan Chiego, director of the Research Pathway. Staff members Charlene Erickson and Becky Flynn are the program coordinators.


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:
Contact: Lynn Monson, associate director of communication, at, or (734) 615-1971.