Celebrating Our Community

2022


New Issue of JADE Online Now

New Issue of JADE Online Now

A new issue of NYU Dentistry’s online, open access magazine, the Journal of the Academy of Distinguished Educators (JADE) is online now. JADE is the publications component of the NYU Academy of Distinguished Educators. JADE invites experts in their fields to discuss the complex challenges confronting higher education as it endeavors to foster interdisciplinary and interprofessional education.

The new issue invited clinical faculty across departments at NYU Dentistry to respond to the question: “How did you adapt your teaching in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?” It takes as its title "COVID & the Curriculum: Faculty Perspectives,” and features stories that derive from the Zoom-enabled Clinical & Educational Showcase hosted in January 2021 by the Academy of Distinguished Educators. The stories recount the ways in which clinical faculty were able to discharge teaching responsibilities during the pandemic. They include reports of resilience, concern for the well-being of patients, students, and faculty, the development of alternative assessment techniques and teaching methods, and indications of lasting improvements in the educational environment. Read the new issue on the JADE site.
 


   

VOCARE Program Featured at ADA Give Veterans a Smile Summit to Strategize How to Provide Oral Health Care Services for All Those Who Have Served

Felisha Dutt, DDS Class of 2023, delivered a presentation on personal stories related to care recipients through the VOCARE (Veterans Oral Care Access Resource) initiative, noting that treating veterans at the college and making a connection with them is the most fulfilling experience she has had.

“It solidifies why I got into dentistry,” Ms. Dutt said. She, along with Executive Vice Dean Michael P. O’Connor, MPA, EdD, and Ms. Gabriela Gonzalez, MPA, Administrator, Strategic Initiatives. represented NYU Dentistry at the ADA Give Veterans a Smile Summit. Read more on the ADA website.


   

ADA News Publishes Editorial by Dean Bertolami Calling for a National Commitment to Achieve Equitable Dental Care for People with Disabilities

An editorial by Dean Bertolami written in connection with the Second Annual AHEAD Symposium was published in the May issue of the ADA News' “My View" column, titled "Achieving Equitable Dental Care for People with Disabilities.”



Annual Research Days Poster Competition 2022 Features 172 Student Posters, Keynote Remarks by Dr. Nigel Bunnett, and a Tribute to Dr. Louis Terracio

The College’s 2022 Research Days showcased the work of 172 pre- and postdoctoral dental students, dental hygiene students, international programs students, master’s degree students, and research scholars. Once again, the poster competition was a virtual event powered by Eposterboards, LLC, which provided presentation viewing and judging in real time through their events platform. A panel of distinguished volunteer judges evaluated the posters.

The three-day event ran from Wednesday, April 27, through Friday, April 29, and featured a keynote lecture by Dr. Nigel Bunnett, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Pathobiology and interim chair of the Division of Biomaterials, titled “Platforms for the Signaling Train to Pain.” Dr. Brian Schmidt, vice dean for research and faculty affairs, presented Dr. Bunnett with the Kathleen C. Kinnally Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award in recognition of his vast research contributions.

The program also included a tribute to former vice dean for research and academic affairs Dr. Louis Terracio. Dean Bertolami paid tribute to Dr. Terracio and presented him with the NYU Dentistry Leadership Award in recognition of his 20-plus years of distinguished service to New York University and its College of Dentistry.

The Awards Ceremony followed. To view the names of all the award-winning students and their presentations, visit the Annual Research Days page. NYU Dentistry congratulates the awardees and their faculty advisors on their spectacular work.

 


    

Omega Chapter OKU Holds 93rd Annual Convocation and Induction Ceremony

Forty-two students from the Class of 2022 were inducted into the Omega Chapter of Omicron Kappa Upsilon, the national dental honor society, and a new slate of officers was installed at the 93rd Annual Convocation and Induction Ceremony held on May 5, 2022, at The Water Club. The occasion marked the first time since 2019 that the ceremony was held in person. In addition to the induction of student members of OKU, a new slate of OKU officers was installed. They are Dr. Gerald Klaczany as president; Dr. Analia Veitz-Keenan as president-elect; Dr. Marci Levine as vice president; and Dr. Bapanaiah Penugonda as teasurer/secretary. A significant highlight of the event was the presentation to Dean Bertolami of a $6,000 donation from OKU to support the College’s VOCARE (Veterans Oral Care Access Resource) program, which provides comprehensive dental care at no cost to veterans who are not eligible to receive dental services through the Veterans Health Administration.

View the complete program with the list of inductees

 


   

Kerry D’Aiuto Receives New York University Distinguished Service Award

Kerry D’Aiuto Receives New York University Distinguished Service Award

Kerry D’Aiuto, director of human resources, has been selected as one of only eight recipients of the 2021-2022 All-University Distinguished Administrator Award. The award recognizes operational excellence, exceptional service, impact, integrity, commitment to diversity, leadership, communication, innovation, inclusion, and community service. NYU Dentistry takes pride in Kerry’s achievement and congratulates her on being selected for this prestigious award.

 

   

Congratulations to

Dr. Marci Levine and Dr. Robert Glickman, on being awarded an NYU Teaching Advancement Grant (TAG) for their proposal, “Using Virtual Reality to Teach Clinical Skills to 21st Century Dental Students.

Dr. Marci Levine and Dr. Vasiliki Karlis on being featured in the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Section of The New York Times Magazine’s “New York Super Doctors 2022” supplement.

Imani Holland, sterilization technician; Nicole Jordan, sterilization technician; Elon Parkinson, senior clinic manager; Nancy Perez, supply assistant; Letty Ponce, X-ray technician; and Jeanine Stabulous, clinical assistant professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology, radiology and medicine on being recognized at a virtual all-University celebration last month for 25 years of dedicated service to New York University and its College of Dentistry.
 


   

Dr. Lorel Burns to Receive 2022 ADEA Junior Faculty Award

Dr. Lorel Burns

Assistant Professor of Endodontics Dr. Lorel Burns has been selected as the recipient of the 2022 ADEA/ADEA Council of Students, Residents and Fellows/Colgate-Palmolive Junior Faculty Award. The award recognizes Dr. Burns’ demonstrated excellence in teaching, research, and service, and her commitment to dental education. As the recipient of the 2022 ADEA Junior Faculty Award, Dr. Burns will receive a cash stipend to be used to enhance her teaching, research, and/or service efforts.

Dr. Burns will be presented with the award at the 2022 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition in Philadelphia on Monday, March 21.  


   

Seo Hyun (Grace) Park, ’22, Receives American College of Dentists New York Chapter Outstanding Student of the Year Award

Seo Hyun (Grace) Park, ’22

Each year, the American College of Dentists New York Chapter recognizes one D4 student from each dental school in New York State with an “Outstanding Student of the Year” award. This year NYU’s awardee was Seo Hyun (Grace) Park, Class of 2022. Ms. Park was introduced by Dr. Leslie Smithey, assistant dean for academic affairs, on behalf of the College.  

   


   

On Being Installed: AGD Student Chapter Leaders and Faculty Colleagues Celebrate Dr. Analia Veitz-Keenan’s Installation as President-Elect of the NYS Academy of General Dentistry

Student leaders of the AGD Student Chapter at NYU cheered on Dr. Analia Veitz-Keenan, clinical professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology, radiology and oral medicine, at her installation as president-elect of the New York State Academy of General Dentistry on March 5, 2022. NYU faculty colleagues who were also present to celebrate her installation included Dr. James Keenan, clinical assistant professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology, radiology and medicine; Dr. Seung-Hee Rhee, adjunct clinical professor of cariology and comprehensive care, and Dr. Geri Robin, clinical instructor in cariology and comprehensive care.

 


   

Dr. Caroline Sawicki Selected to Receive National Student Research Group Award

Dr. Caroline Sawicki, a second-year pediatric dentistry postgraduate student and postdoctoral fellow at NYU Dentistry, has been selected as one of two recipients for the 2022 Outstanding Student Researcher Award presented by the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR). The award recognizes student research achievements throughout the year.

 


   

Department of Dental Hygiene & Dental Assisting Wins Cuspies Award for Best Hygiene Training Program

Department of Dental Hygiene & Dental Assisting Wins Cuspies Award for Best Hygiene Training Program

DrBicuspid.com has selected the NYU Department of Dental Hygiene & Dental Assisting to receive the 2021 Cuspies Award for Best Hygiene Training Program.

Winners of Cuspies awards address the relationship between oral and overall health. They focus their education and training on the oral-systemic connection, speaking to the side effects of pharmaceutical agents, how to collaborate with medical colleagues, and tips for patient communication.

Responding to the award, Dianne Sefo, clinical associate professor and chair of the Department of Dental Hygiene & Dental Assisting, said, “We are honored to be selected as the Best Hygiene Training Program by the readers and expert panel at DrBicuspid.com in recognition of our efforts to prepare our dental hygiene students to perform at the highest possible levels in providing preventive and therapeutic oral health care.”
 



Kudos!

Dr. Marci Levine

Marci Levine, DMD, MD, clinical assistant professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery, on being awarded a 2022-23 Faculty Fellowship from 19 Washington Square North, NYU Abu Dhabi’s home in New York, to support her project, "Haptic Feedback for Local Anesthesia Training." Dr. Levine shares the Faculty Fellowship Award with Mohamad A. Eid, PhD, assistant professor of electrical engineering at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Dr. Analia Veitz-Keenan

Analia Veitz-Keenan, DDS, clinical professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology, radiology and medicine, on being installed as president-elect of the New York State Academy of General Dentistry.


NYU Dentistry Faculty "In the News"


Welcome New Employees

Salomi Aladia, as junior research scientist for the Family Translational Research Group.

Leticia Arbex, as junior research scientist for the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research.

Brooke Benton, as assistant research scientist for the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research.

Aida Calderon Rivera, as assistant research scientist for the Department of Molecular Pathobiology.

Jacob Carlson, as junior research scientist for the Department of Molecular Pathobiology.

Heidi Cervantes, as junior research scientist for the Department of Molecular Pathobiology.

Raimon Cuello, as sterilization technician for the Central Sterilization Unit.

Abigail Delgado, as patient service representative for the Department of Prosthodontics.

Jessy Dong, as junior research scientist for the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research.

Tamires Duarte Afonso Serdan, as postdoctoral associate for the Department of Molecular Pathobiology.

Paz Duran de Haro, as postdoctoral associate for the Department of Molecular Pathobiology.

Sarah Espinoza, as junior research scientist for the Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

Kimberly Gomez, as postdoctoral associate for the Department of Molecular Pathobiology.

May Khanna, as associate professor of molecular pathobiology.

Rajesh Khanna, as professor of molecular pathobiology and director of the NYU Pain Research Center.

Ashley King, as telephone service representative for the Telephone Service Center.

Natalia Lapshina, as assistant research scientist for the Family Translational Research Group.

Li Ying Lin, as dental hygienist for the Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

Ulda Louis-Pierre, as registered nurse for the Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion.

Jeffrey J. Love, as program administrator for the Office of Student Affairs and Academic Support Services.

Santiago Ivan Loya Lopez, as postdoctoral associate for the Department of Molecular Pathobiology.

Gabriela Martinez, as dental assistant for the Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion.

Rebecca Meyer, as grants administrator in the Department of Molecular Pathobiology.

Isha Neupane, as dental assistant for the Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion.

Jane Ngai, as dental assistant for the Faculty Practice.

Tung T. Nguyen, as postdoctoral associate for the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care.

Anthony Samuel Oliver, as sterilization technician for the Central Sterilization Unit.

Gabriela Pérez, as patient service representative for Clinic Operations.

Samantha Perez-Miller, as postdoctoral associate for the Department of Molecular Pathobiology.

Prem Prakash, as postdoctoral associate for the Department of Molecular Pathobiology.

Kyle C. Pratt, as sterilization technician for the Central Sterilization Unit.

Kimberly Pinkney, as academic advisor in the Department of Student Affairs.

Paulina Ramirez Garcia, as postdoctoral associate for the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research.

Jeffri Retamal Santibanez, as postdoctoral associate for the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research.

Marina Rodriguez Sanchez, as postdoctoral associate for the Department of Molecular Pathobiology.

Jonathan Lares Sanchez, as postdoctoral associate for the Department of Molecular Pathobiology.

Anna Segura Montagut, as assistant research scientist for the Family Translational Research Group.

Berkay Suer, as clinical associate professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology, radiology, and medicine.

Sylvia Yao Sun, as postdoctoral associate for the Department of Molecular Pathobiology.

Cheng Tang, as assistant research scientist for the Department of Molecular Pathobiology.

Barbara Vartanian, as director of oral health advocacy and policy initiatives for the Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities.

Bianca J. Vega, as patient service representative for the Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities.

Lenbel M. Villasista, as dental assistant for the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Jennifer Vivieca, as patient service representative for Brooklyn Patient Care.

Deniz Vurmaz, as junior research scientist for the Department of Molecular Pathobiology.

 


Promoting Our Own

Kristin Memoli has been promoted to program administrator in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

Queen Walker has been promoted to director of patient care for Brooklyn Patient Care.

Sonia Barker has been promoted to lead sterilization technician for Brooklyn Patient Care.

Jose Davila has been promoted to lead patient service representative in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

Sara Lee has been promoted to patient service representative in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

Rocco Latorre has been promoted to associate research scientist in the Department of Molecular Pathobiology.

Seth Yeboah has been promoted to senior clinic manager in the Department of Endodontics.

Monika Silguero has been promoted to dental hygienist in the Department of Orthodontics.

Berky Valerio has been promoted to administrative aide II in the Department of Endodontics.

Olga Tessa Young Reddock has been promoted to lead patient service representative in the Department of Prosthodontics.

Andrew Joseph Baez has been promoted to human resources and faculty services manager.

Lennys Santana has been promoted to program administrator in the Department of Prosthodontics.

Kimberly Rhoades has been promoted to associate research scientist in the Center for Oral Health Policy and Management.

Jacqueline Hernandez has been promoted to patient service representative in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Tsering Dolkar has been promoted to patient service representative in the Department of Endodontics.

Eileen Bell has been promoted to department manager in the Department of Orthodontics.

Annelise Olivares has been promoted to admissions officer in the Office of Admissions.

Anabella Oquendo Parilli has been promoted to Assistant Dean for International Programs



 

Oral Health in America, a report issued in December 2021 by the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research, part of the National Institutes of Health, features a number of contributors from NYU Dentistry. They include Dean Emeritus Michael C. Alfano, Drs. Elise Eisenberg, Ross Kerr, Amr Moursi, Rick Niederman, Cheryl Theile, professor emerita of Dental Hygiene, and Rick Valachovic.

 

2021


Greater New York Dental Meeting Features Special Edition of the Dental Health Show with Dr. Amr Moursi

On November 30, 2021, Dr. Amr Moursi, professor and chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and the host of the Dental Health Show on Sirius XM’s Doctor Radio, moderated a special two-hour edition of the Dental Health Show onsite at the Greater New York Dental Meeting. Dr. Moursi’s guests included Dr. Effie Habsha, Section Head of the Oral Examination in Prosthodontics for the Royal College of Dentists of Canada, who addressed “Current Concepts in Esthetic Dentistry; Dr. Joel Berg, Commissioner, ADA Commission on Dental Education, who spoke about “The Latest In Oral Health Technology for Diagnostics, Prevention, and Treatment”; and Dr. Jeannie Beauchamp, President of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, who spoke about “Current Issues and Recommendations in Pediatric Oral Health.”

   


    

Department of Pediatric Dentistry Participates in 2021 Special Olympics-Special Smiles

Nearly 60 pre- and postgraduate students, alumni, and staff participated in the 2021 Special Olympics-Special Smiles event held at the Javits Center in early December. The Special Smiles component of Healthy Athletes provides comprehensive oral health care information, including offering free dental screenings and instructions on correct brushing and flossing techniques to participating Special Olympics athletes. Under the direction of Dr. Rose Amable, clinical assistant professor of pediatric dentistry, who was selected to be the clinical director for the event, the volunteers provided approximately 150 oral examinations and fabricated and delivered mouth guards to all the participating athletes.

Photographer: Rick Guidotti

    


    

Dr. Paulina Ramírez García Receives the 2021 John J. Bonica Trainee Fellowship to Study Neurological Mechanisms of Oral Cancer Pain

Dr. Paulina Ramírez García

Dr. Paulina Ramírez García, a postdoctoral fellow in the NYU Cancer Pain Laboratory, a basic and clinical translational research arm of the NYU Oral Cancer Center, has received the 2021 John J. Bonica Trainee Fellowship. This two-year fellowship will support her investigation of cancer pain under the mentorship of Drs. Donna Albertson and Brian Schmidt. The Fellowship was established to support the training of exceptional researchers interested in the scientific investigation of pain and honors the founder of the International Association of Pain (IASP) John J. Bonica. Training that Dr. Ramírez García will receive through the Bonica Trainee Fellowship will also take place in the oral cancer clinic, part of the NYU Oral Cancer Center, which Dr. Schmidt directs.

A biochemist, Dr. Ramírez García earned a PhD at Monash University in Australia in 2019. Her dissertation work utilized pH-responsive nanoparticles to investigate pain signaling that can arise from structures within cells termed endosomes. She and her coauthors published their findings in Nature Nanotechnology, a highly respected scientific journal. One of her mentors and the principal investigator of the study at Monash University was Dr. Nigel Bunnett, who is now chair of the Department of Molecular Pathobiology at NYU Dentistry.

After earning her degree in 2019, Dr. Ramírez García accepted a position as a postdoctoral fellow at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Monash University. She also took a private sector research position at Endosome Therapeutics. Her postdoctoral research as well as her work at Endosome Therapeutics involved investigation of drug delivery that targets G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). These receptors are involved in pain signaling from endosomes within the cell.

The Bonica Fellowship will support Dr. Ramírez García’s project to investigate the role of the protein matrix metalloproteinase 1 (MMP1) in cancer pain. Dr. Albertson discovered that MMP1 is overexpressed in oral cancer patients who report high levels of pain. Drs. Albertson and Schmidt will mentor Dr. Ramírez García’s work related to data obtained from patients and patient specimens as well as preclinical work that is not directly related to patients. Dr. Ramírez García’s goal, and the reason she chose to join NYU, is to move her findings from the laboratory to the care of patients.

    


    

International Effort Co-led by Dr. Habib Benzian Prompts Addition of Dental Category to the WHO List of Essential Medicines

Dr. Habib Benzian

After many years, an international effort to add a dental category to the WHO (World Health Organization) List of Essential Medicines has succeeded in adding fluoride toothpaste, silver diamine fluoride (SDF), and glass ionomer cement to its list of essential medications for adults and children, effective October 1, 2021.

The effort was co-led by Dr. Habib Benzian, co-director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Quality Improvement and Evidence-based Dentistry at NYU Dentistry, and Dr. Benoit Varenne, dental officer in the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) department of The WHO.

Learn more >>>

    


   

Dr. Caroline Sawicki Awarded NIH/NIDCR K23 Grant to Study Oral Cancer Pain

Caroline Sawicki

Dr. Caroline Sawicki, a second-year pediatric dentistry postgraduate student and postdoctoral fellow at NYU Dentistry, has received a Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23). This NIH/NIDCR funded grant provides support for the career development of exceptional clinician-scientists who have made a commitment to patient-oriented research, and who have the potential to develop into productive, clinical investigators. The award provides $560,000 over five years for Dr. Sawicki’s investigation into sensory changes and pain that accompany oral cancer. Her research will take place within NYU Dentistry’s Bluestone Center for Clinical Research and Oral Cancer Center, which are directed by Dr. Brian L. Schmidt, vice dean for research and faculty affairs. The K23 award also provides a yearly stipend and additional financial support for Dr. Sawicki’s career development activities and travel to scientific meetings.

Squamous cell carcinoma, the most common form of oral cancer, is one of the most painful malignancies. Despite this, the etiology of oral cancer pain is not well understood. Orofacial pain is often the first symptom of oral cancer and spurs patients to seek diagnosis and treatment. The severity and character of oral cancer pain varies widely, but many patients suffer from debilitating pain when eating and drinking. To investigate the neurologic mechanisms responsible for oral cancer pain, Dr. Sawicki proposes to collect data from patients who have volunteered to participate in studies at the NYU Oral Cancer Center. “Understanding the neurobiologic mechanisms responsible for oral cancer pain may facilitate the development of novel, non-opioid treatment strategies that specifically address the unique pain experienced by individual patients,” explains Dr. Sawicki.

A significant obstacle to treating cancer pain is that the relative contributions of pain-producing mediators and their mechanisms of action, i.e., responsible receptors, are largely unknown. Dr. Sawicki’s research will test whether the character of pain experienced by patients with oral cancer is dependent on the level of activation of ion channels in pain sensing neurons. “There’s a lack of published data characterizing the sensory phenotype of tumor-related cancer pain,” says Dr. Schmidt. “Dr. Sawicki’s proposed work has significant implications for understanding the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms of cancer pain.”

Dr. Sawicki chose to pursue pediatric dentistry postgraduate clinical training and a postdoctoral translational pain research fellowship at NYU Dentistry in order to achieve her long-term goal of directing clinical investigations of pediatric orofacial pain and neurobiologic mechanisms. “By pursuing postgraduate clinical training as well as postdoctoral work in clinical research, Dr. Sawicki will become uniquely qualified to direct an academic translational research program in pediatric dentistry that integrates clinical and research disciplines focused on management of orofacial pain,” says Dr. Amr Moursi, professor and chair of the NYU Department of Pediatric Dentistry. “The consequences of untreated orofacial pain in pediatric patients are severe, and Dr. Sawicki’s future investigations will improve pain management for countless children suffering from chronic orofacial pain.”


    

Dr. Richard Valachovic

In his response to an article detailing the ADA's opposition to a proposal to include dental coverage for all Medicare recipients, Dr. Rick Valachovic, clinical professor and director of the NYU Dentistry Center for Oral Health Policy and Management, argues that since the major barrier to obtaining dental care is cost, the expansion of Medicare Part B to include dental benefits would go a long way toward ensuring that the 60 million seniors and people with disabilities are able to obtain the care they need.

 


    

Dr. Andrea Schreiber Appointed Vice Dean for Academic Affairs

Dr. Andrea Schreiber

Dr. Andrea Schreiber, formerly senior associate dean for education, has assumed the position of vice dean for academic affairs, as of September 1, 2021.

A clinical professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Dr. Schreiber served as associate dean for graduate and postgraduate programs from 2012 to 2017, and was named senior associate dean for education in 2018.

“Dr. Schreiber’s outstanding work throughout the 2017 Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) process, and her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic in convincing New York State and CODA to allow NYU Dentistry to proceed with a non-clinical alternative to enable the Class of 2020 to complete graduation requirements on time, more than qualify her to take on this new assignment,” said Dean Bertolami.  


     

Dr. Brian Schmidt Appointed Vice Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs    

Dr. Brian Schmidt

Dr. Brian Schmidt, director of the NYU Bluestone Center for Clinical Research and the NYU Oral Cancer Center, and one of the nation’s preeminent oral cancer researchers, has assumed the position of vice dean for research and faculty affairs, as of September 1, 2021. In that capacity, he will continue to advance the college’s robust research enterprise and will oversee the Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure process, while also working with the Office of Human Resources and Faculty Services on faculty recruitment and hiring.

“Dr. Schmidt is at the forefront of biomedical research into oral cancer from the molecular level to clinical patient studies,” said Dean Bertolami. Backed by NIH funding, Dr. Schmidt currently researches genetic biomarkers for precancer and cancer, neural pain pathways for new pain control therapies, and novel oral cavity reconstruction techniques.

In addition, he and Dr. Nigel Bunnett, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Pathobiology, are working to develop alternatives to opioids to treat chronic pain and oral cancer pain. This research involves developing strategies for pain relief that target specific genes, as well as using nanoparticles to more precisely deliver the therapies.


       

Colleagues Pay Tribute to Dr. Ralph Katz  

Dr. Ralph Katz

To celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Ralph Katz, former professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology & Health Promotion, who passed away on May 26, 2021, after a long illness, his friends and colleagues, Dr. Ananda Dasanayake, Dr. Stefanie Russell, and Dr. Rueben Warren, director of the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care and Professor of Bioethics at Tuskegee University, published “A Tribute to Ralph V. Katz: A Giant in Dental Education, Minority Health, and Health Research,” in the August 2021 issue of the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. Read the tribute.


.    

Congratulations to

Dr. Natalia Elson, clinical assistant professor of cariology and comprehensive care, on receiving a certificate of achievement on completing a “Comprehensive Course in Photobiomodulation” presented by G.M.A. Laser Education and a Certificate of Recognition for her role as a keynote speaker at the 6th International Conference on Dentistry presented by Madridge Conferences.

Dr. Seung-Hee Rhee, clinical associate professor of cariology and comprehensive care, on being featured in AGD Impact Magazine in an article titled "Dr. Rhee Blazes a Trail toward More Diverse Leadership in Dentistry."

Dr. Caroline Sawicki, Advanced Education Program in Pediatric Dentistry, ’22, and a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Brian Schmidt’s lab, on being awarded the ADA Foundation’s 2021 Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award.

 


   

Dr. Caroline Sawicki to Receive 2021 IADR Women in Science Network Distinguished Research Award

Dr. Caroline Sawicki

Dr. Caroline Sawicki, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Brian Schmidt’s lab and a first-year student in the postgraduate program in pediatric dentistry, has been selected to receive the 2021 International Association for Dental Research (IADR) Women in Science Award for Distinguished Research. The award recognizes excellence in Oral/ Dental/ Craniofacial Research by a female researcher, who is a first or senior author.

Dr. Sawacki was the first author on the paper titled "Microglia Promote Increased Pain Behavior through Enhanced Inflammation in the Spinal Cord during Repeated Social Defeat Stress.” The article highlights the complexity of nociceptive mechanisms and addresses an intractable medical problem surrounding pain, stress, and anxiety. It was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.


    

Dr. Habib Benzian Featured in New York Times Magazine Story on the Impact of COVID-19 on Oral Health

Dr. Habib Benzian

Dr. Habib Benzian, co-director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Quality-Improvement, Evidence-based Dentistry and research professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Health Promotion, was featured in a New York Times Magazine story titled “The Pandemic Was Bad for Our Teeth. Will It Change Oral Health Forever?"


    

Dr. Marci Levine and Colleagues to Receive NYU Curricular Development Challenge Fund Grant

Dr. Marci Levine

Dr. Marci Levine and colleagues Dr. Robert Glickman, Dr. Elizabeth McAlpin, and Mr. Cristian Opazo have been selected to receive a $5,000 NYU Curricular Development Challenge Fund grant for their proposal, "Using Virtual Reality Technology to Advance Dental Education." The Curricular Development Challenge Fund was established to assist the development, expansion, review, or redirection of academic programs and courses at New York University.


    

Dr. Nicola Partridge Appointed Chair of NIH Study Section on Skeletal Biology Development and Disease 

Dr. Nicola Partridge

Dr. Nicola Partridge, professor of molecular pathobiology and former chair of the Department of Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology, has been invited to serve as chairperson of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Skeletal Biology Development and Disease Study (SBDD) section for the term beginning July 1, 2021, and ending June 30, 2022. Study sections review grant applications submitted to the NIH, make recommendations on the applications to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board, and survey the status of research in their fields of science.

Dr. Partridge is eminently well qualified to assume this position. She is a national and international authority in the area of molecular endocrinology and an expert in bone and mineral research, including osteoporosis. Her demonstrated skill and leadership will enable her to determine to a significant extent the effectiveness and efficiency of the study section she is chairing.

We congratulate Dr. Partridge on this latest recognition of the major role she is playing in advancing the national biomedical research effort.

    

Congratulations to
  • All the recipients of the 2021 Dean's Student Awards, who were recognized at an awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 5. View the Zoom recording; view the presentation.
  • All the OKU inductees and award recipients who were recognized at the 92nd Annual OKU Convocation & Induction Ceremony on Thursday, May 6. View the Zoom recording; view the program.
  • Erin Brent, associate dean for financial and academic planning & strategic initiatives, on authoring, "Assessing price sensitivity in dental education and implications on student diversity" for Journal of Dental Education.
  • Dr. Lorel Burns, assistant professor of endodontics, on authoring, "Reimagining the pipeline: Saturday Academy at New York University College of Dentistry goes virtual" for the Journal of Dental Education. Dr. Burns' co-authors included Dr. Cheryline Pezzullo, clinical assistant professor of cariology and comprehensive care; 
Sandy Dief (DDS Class of ’23); Giannina Conde (DDS Class of ’21); and Dr. Eugenia Mejia, assistant dean for admissions and enrollment management.
  • Dr. Alexis Cohen, clinical assistant professor of pediatric dentistry, on being appointed Director of Global Outreach. Dr. Cohen will also be engaged in several other public health projects.
  • Edmund Khoo, clinical associate professor of orthodontics, on being appointed Permanent Examiner by the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO). Dr. Khoo previously served as a Guest Examiner for the ABO.
  • Dr. Anabella Oquendo, clinical assistant professor of cariology and comprehensive care, on being appointed Clinical Director of the Programs for International Dentists.
  • Dr. André Ritter, professor and chair of the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care, on being appointed section editor for operative dentistry for the Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry.
  • Richard Valachovic, visiting scholar and founding director of the Center for Oral Health Policy and Management, on giving the opening presentation for the March meeting of the Association for Dental Education, Asia Pacific, titled, "Advancing Global Oral Health Policy and Management in an Academic Setting."


Elizabeth Garrison, '21, Receives American College of Dentists Student Achievement Award

Elizabeth Garrison

Elizabeth Garrison, ’21, was one of only four senior dental students across New York who received the Student Achievement Award presented by the New York Section of the American College of Dentists. One student each from Columbia, Stonybrook, and Touro was also recognized. The award honors exceptional achievement by a graduating dental student. Upon graduation, Ms. Garrison will be entering a General Practice Residency in Morristown, New Jersey.



Dr. Vera Tang Installed as Treasurer of the New York County Dental Society

Dr. Vera Tang

Dr. Vera Tang, clinical assistant professor of periodontology and implant dentistry, has been installed as treasurer of the New York County Dental Society, marking the first time that the New York County Dental Society has installed an all-women executive committee.


     

Cristian Opazo to be featured at International VR Healthcare Association’s 5th Annual Symposium

Cristian Opazo,

Cristian Opazo, director of educational technology, will present “Local Anesthesia VR: An Immersive VR Training Program for Dental Anesthesia” at the Fifth Annual Virtual Reality and Healthcare Global Symposium.


    

NYU Dentistry Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities Selected to Receive AAPD's 2021 Manuel M. Album Award

NYU Dentistry Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's (AAPD) prestigious Manuel M. Album Award is presented annually to an individual or organization that has made the greatest contribution to the oral health of children with special needs. This award honors AAPD member Manuel M. Album, who devoted an entire career in pediatric dentistry to improving the oral health of children with special needs. The NYU Dentistry Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities will be featured in a video to be created by the AAPD to celebrate the award.


 

Special Emphasis Issue of The New York State Dental Journal Features Article on NYU Dentistry’s Telehealth Service

The New York State Dental Journal

The January 2021 special emphasis issue of The New York State Dental Journal, "Surviving the Pandemic: Dentistry Faces Down the Virus," features an article by Drs. Victoria Raveis, David Glotzer, and André V. Ritter on “Dental Care in the Time of COVID-19: Integrating Telehealth into the Clinical Care Process." The article chronicles the development and implementation of NYU Dentistry’s Telehealth Service, which became an essential resource during the pandemic, and predicts that its integration into the routine delivery of care post-pandemic is assured.


 

Dr. Nuray Ozu Awarded Fellowship in the NYU Aging Incubator Fellows Program

Dr. Nuray Ozu

Dr. Nuray Ozu, adjunct clinical professor in the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care, has been awarded fellowship in the NYU Aging Incubator Fellows Program, which provides aging-related research and educational opportunities for faculty and students throughout the entire NYU campus.

    


 

Dr. Caroline Sawicki Receives Postdoctoral TL1 Award from the NYU Clinical and Translational Science Institute to Study Oral Cancer Pain

Dr. Caroline Sawicki

Dr. Caroline Sawicki, a first-year pediatric dentistry postgraduate student and postdoctoral fellow at NYU Dentistry, has been selected as a TL1 fellow by the NYU Clinical and Translational Science Institute. This NIH-funded grant supports exceptional postdoctoral scholars who are committed to pursuing research careers in multidisciplinary clinical and translational science. With support from the TL1 program, Dr. Sawicki will characterize sensory changes and pain that accompany oral cancer. All of her research will be undertaken at the NYU Bluestone Center for Clinical Research and NYU Oral Cancer Center, both of which are housed at NYU Dentistry and directed by Dr. Brian L. Schmidt. The TL1 award also provides a two-year stipend and additional financial support for Dr. Sawicki’s tuition and travel to scientific meetings.

Squamous cell carcinoma, the most common form of oral cancer, is one of the most painful malignancies; however, the etiology of oral cancer pain is not well understood. Orofacial pain is often the first symptom of oral cancer and spurs patients to seek diagnosis and treatment. The severity and character of oral cancer pain varies widely, but many patients suffer from debilitating pain during functions such as eating and drinking. To investigate the neurologic mechanisms responsible for oral cancer pain, Dr. Sawicki proposes to collect data from patients who have volunteered to participate in studies at the NYU Oral Cancer Center. "As a clinician-scientist, Dr. Sawicki is uniquely qualified to pursue this type of research," says Dr. Schmidt. "After gathering clinical data from oral cancer patients, she must interpret her findings in the complex context of cancer biology and neurobiology. Dr. Sawicki is highly motivated to pursue this work because she is close enough to the clinical problem to understand the enormity of the stakes for patients with this disease."

Dr. Sawicki’s research will test whether the character of pain experienced by patients with oral cancer is dependent on the level of activation of channels in pain sensing neurons. The relative contributions of nociceptive (pain producing) mediators and their mechanisms of action (i.e., responsible receptors) are largely unknown. "Our understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms responsible of cancer pain is limited by a dearth of published data which characterize the sensory phenotype of tumor-related cancer pain," says Dr. Sawicki. "Based on the heterogeneity of oral cancer, it’s plausible that every oral cancer expresses a unique cocktail of pain mediators that differentially activate and sensitize specific channels on nociceptors. Understanding the neurobiological mechanisms responsible for oral cancer pain may facilitate the development of novel, non-opioid treatment strategies that specifically address the unique pain experienced by individual patients."

Dr. Sawicki completed her DDS and PhD degrees at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry in May 2020. During her training, Dr. Sawicki was inspired to improve pain management in children suffering from chronic orofacial pain when she became aware of the prevalence and severity of orofacial pain in the pediatric dental population. Dr. Sawicki chose to pursue a combined pediatric dentistry residency and postdoctoral translational pain research fellowship at NYU Dentistry. "Few dental graduates pursue a residency as well as postdoctoral work in clinical research," said Dr. Amr Moursi, chair of the NYU Department of Pediatric Dentistry. "We specifically designed Dr. Sawicki’s dual training program to provide her with the skills and experience necessary to direct an integrated clinical and laboratory research program to investigate pediatric orofacial pain."
 

    


   

Dr. Austin Le (DDS ’20, PG Ortho ’23) Is First Author on a New Paper on Recreational Drug Use

Austin Le, DDS ’20

Read Dr. Le's paper, "Use of 'Poppers' Among Adults in the United States, 2015-2017," which appears in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

 


 

WHO Adopts Resolution to Improve Oral Health Globally

WHO Adopts Resolution to Improve Oral Health Globally

For the first time since 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted a resolution on oral health calling for the development of a Global Strategy, Action Plan, and Monitoring Framework for improvement of oral health globally until 2031. NYU Dentistry’s Department Epidemiology & Health Promotion, which was recently redesignated by the WHO as a WHO Collaborating Center for Quality Improvement and Evidence-based Dentistry through December 2024, was involved in the preparations and background documentation that led to the adoption of this resolution.

The NYU Dentistry WHO Collaborating Center is one of only 10 Collaborating Centers on oral health in the world and the only one in the Americas. The center is co-directed by Habib Benzian, DDS, MScDPH, PhD, and Eugenio Beltrán, DMD, DrPH, MPH. Read Dr. Benzian's insight into the context in which the resolution was adopted.

 



Bringing Smiles Dental Enrichment Program Receives $5,000 Gift from OKU

Bringing Smiles Dental Enrichment Program Receives $5,000 Gift from OKU

The Department of Pediatric Dentistry’s Bringing Smiles Dental Enrichment Program (BSDEP) has received a $5,000 donation from the Omega Chapter of Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU), the national dental honor society. BSDEP is a pipeline program that supports and prepares underrepresented minority pre-dental students (interns) for successful application and matriculation into dental school.

OKU’s generous donation will go directly to supporting the BSDEP interns, helping to offset the high cost of applying to dental school (including costs associated with DAT preparation, applications, interviews, and deposits, among others).

 


    

Congratulations to

James Keenan, clinical assistant professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology, radiology and medicine, on being elected Secretary of the New York Academy of General Dentistry.

Edmund Khoo, clinical associate professor of orthodontics, on being elected President of the NYU Dentistry Orthodontics Alumni Association.

Wayne Kye, clinical associate professor of periodontology and implant dentistry, on being elected President of the Northeastern Society of Periodontists.

Fabiola Milord, clinical assistant professor of cariology and comprehensive care, on being President of the Long Island Academy of Odontology.

Seung-Hee Rhee, clinical associate professor of cariology and comprehensive care, on receiving the 2021 Meritorious Service Award from the New York Academy of General Dentistry.

Vera Tang, clinical assistant professor of periodontology and implant dentistry, on being elected Treasurer of the New York County Dental Society.

Analia Veitz-Keenan, clinical professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology, radiology and medicine, on being elected Vice President of the New York Academy of General Dentistry.

Roger Warren, adjunct clinical associate professor of periodontology and implant dentistry, on being elected President-elect of the Northeastern Society of Periodontists.

Mara Zelaya, graduate program coordinator in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Management, on being appointed a member of ADEA’s Centralized Application for Advanced Placement (ADEA CAAPID) Advisory Group for a three-year term beginning in March 2021.

 



Dr. Ross Kerr is Nominee for the 2021 NYU Distinguished Teaching Award

Dr. Ross Kerr

The NYU Dentistry Distinguished Teaching Award Committee, chaired by Dr. Leila Jahangiri, Ira E. Klein Professor and Chair of the Department of Prosthodontics, has nominated Dr. Ross Kerr, clinical professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology and medicine, for the high honor of receiving the 2021 NYU Distinguished Teaching Award.

The Distinguished Teaching Award, established in 1987, is presented annually to outstanding full-time faculty members in recognition that one of NYU's primary institutional priorities, along with research, is exceptional teaching inside and outside of the classroom setting.

The Distinguished Teaching Award highlights New York University's commitment to teaching excellence and is given annually to selected outstanding members of the faculty. Recipients are presented with a medal and a research stipend.

Dr. Kerr’s teaching has been widely acclaimed for championing the fight against oral cancer and, in particular, creating a comprehensive curriculum in oral cancer detection and risk management for dental students at NYU. This innovative curriculum is now taught nationally and internationally.

The winners will be announced in the spring.

 



NYU Features Racquel Jones (Saturday Academy Alumna; DDS Class of '24) in Violet Spotlight

Racquel Jones, DDS ’24

Growing up in New Jersey as the child of two dentists, Racquel Jones (NYU College of Dentistry ’24) helped out in her parents’ practice but wasn’t always sure she wanted to follow in their footsteps for her career. Instead, she found herself gravitating toward computers and technology.

“I like solving puzzles, so I really liked the problems they would give us for programming,” says Racquel, who majored in computer science as an undergraduate at Rutgers.

But Racquel’s experiences in NYU Dentistry’s Saturday Academy, along with a course in dental radiology that she took to be able to assist her parents, helped rekindle her interest in the family business. She was part of the inaugural (2013) cohort of the free weekend program that introduces high school students from primarily underrepresented backgrounds to dentistry and provides them with skills for applying to college, including filling out the FAFSA and preparing for interviews.

It was while she was still at Rutgers that Racquel looked at a PowerPoint from Saturday Academy explaining what courses were necessary for applying to dental school and realized she could both complete the pre-dental requirements and finish her degree in computer science in four years. By that point, she says, “I felt like the reason why I was choosing dentistry wasn't because of my parents—it was because of me.”

Racquel didn’t expect to graduate from college and start dental school in the midst of a pandemic, of course, but she’s making the best of it. Her favorite class so far was Head and Neck Anatomy, even though the class was taught remotely. “I find the human body fascinating,” she says. Racquel also got a kick out of returning to NYU Dentistry’s simulation lab this fall, where she had previously created dental impressions—an imprint of the teeth and gums used to plan treatment—as a high school student in Saturday Academy.

Her ultimate goal? Creating improved software for dental practices—developed by a dentist, for dentists. Most dental offices use database software to manage their patients, but it may fall short of their needs. “I can clearly see that the software is written through the lens of a programmer and not through the lens of a dentist,” she says. While many dentists use advanced hardware to plan and provide dental care, Racquel thinks she can make the biggest difference by using her programming expertise to improve the software. “The goal is to help people work more effectively with technology,” she says.

 



Department of Pediatric Dentistry Coproduces NYC Dept. of Education Health Literacy Newsletter

Department of Pediatric Dentistry Coproduces NYC Dept. of Education Health Literacy Newsletter

The Department of Pediatric Dentistry has coproduced the January issue of the NYC Department of Education Division of Early Childhood Education Health Literacy Newsletter for January. The issue, “Health Literacy in Early Childhood (PDF),” was coauthored by Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatric Dentistry Jill Fernandez and Pediatric Dentistry Outreach Program Administrator Samantha Shrager. The newsletter featured NYU’s toothpaste brushing guide and two short parent workshops on oral health and two live workshops, which will be hosted by Professor Fernandez and Ms. Shrager.
 



Take a look: Dr. Timothy Bromage on the African Origin of Humans

Take a look: Dr. Timothy Bromage on the African Origin of Humans (image attached)

Dr. Timothy Bromage, professor of molecular pathobiology, is featured in a new video series honoring the legacy of Gustav Heinrich Ralph von Koenigswald, the German-Dutch paleoanthropologist who discovered fossils of human ancestors on the island of Java in the first half of the last century. In episode two Dr. Bromage talks about how we can study growth and life history in teeth and how trace elements and specific isotopes incorporated into mineralized tooth enamel during childhood, even after millions of years, can provide clues to the environment hominins lived in and what they ate.  



NYU Administrative Management Council (AMC) Call for Nominations: 2021-2023 Term

AMC Call for Nominations

The College of Dentistry is one of 13 schools and units slated for election of their representatives and alternate representatives to the NYU Administrative Management Council (AMC).

Administrators from the College of Dentistry who are interested in the opportunity to serve in the upcoming term (June 2021 through August 2023) should contact Maria DeAcetis, our Senior Unit Representative, at mda5@nyu.edu.

The following reps/alternate reps whose terms are ending as of May 2021 are Maria Deacitis (Senior Unit Rep), Jocelyn Ochoa, Toni Depena, Jessica Jackson. Topaz Murray-Small, Asuncion Wein, Chris Wilson, Lisa Kahn, Irene Olshan and Natalia Tyhovych.

For the upcoming election cycle, we have seven representative slots and seven alternate representatives — a total of 14 slots available. The number of votes garnered from the College of Dentistry Administrator community will determine whether a candidate becomes the representative or alternate representative.

Currently, most AMC meetings are held via Zoom.

Why run for office at the school and at the AMC at large:

  • Interact with faculty, students, and senior leadership
  • Collaborate on strategic initiatives and projects
  • Advocate on behalf of the administrator community
  • Enhance and/or expand your current skill set for an immersive professional development experience

Additionally, the AMC will be having an election for the AMC Officers (Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer) for a one-year term. We will also be electing three AMC Senators and six alternate Senators to serve a two year term. The top three candidates with the most votes will be selected as Senator and the next 6 candidates will be selected as alternate Senator.

If you are interested in running, you can contact Maria Deacitis at mda5@nyu.edu. Within the next few weeks, the AMC Nominations & Elections committee will be releasing a Qualtrics form that you can use to self-nominate or peer nominate someone who you think can be a great representative to the AMC.

If you want to nominate a colleague, please be sure that they are aware of the nomination. Additionally, if you are interested in running for AMC leadership or AMC Senator, please note that you may only run for one position at a time.

Election timeline

  • Jan 22, 2021 – AMC 101 event, open to anyone interested in running for AMC leadership positions
  • February 2021 – Call for nominations
  • March 2021 – Ballots to be finalized
  • April 2021 – Voting