The Student Clinicians of the American Dental Association (SCADA) honored Andrew Gross, a second-year student at Roseman University’s College of Dental Medicine, for his research submitted to the 2015 Student Clinician Research Program (SCRP).
“This award is a great honor for any student in the competition and we are extremely proud of Andrew for his accomplishments,” said Dr. Frank Licari, dean of the College of Dental Medicine-South Jordan. “It is also meaningful for Roseman University because as a developing program people don’t expect our students to be able to compete with students from long-standing and well-established research programs at other dental schools. It speaks to the quality of our students and faculty, and the commitment we have made to excellence in education and research.”
SCADA hosts this program each year to highlight elite-level student dentists who are participating in research at their individual dental schools. This year was the 56th annual event, and there were over 70 student clinicians, representing research from 39 countries, who submitted research for the competition.
First-, second-, and third-place winners were chosen in the categories of Clinical Science/Public Health Research, and Basic Science Research. Gross was chosen as the first-place award winner in the basic science category for his research on chronic periodontitis.
Specifically, Gross’ research looked at the activation and progression of Matrix-Metallo Proteinases (MMPs), which play a role in chronic and aggressive periodontitis.
Chronic periodontitis is the second most prevalent oral health disease affecting 47 percent of adults over the age of 30 and 70 percent of adults over the age of 65 in the U.S. alone. When the regular metabolic pathways for oral microbiota are disrupted, and they combine with toxins produced by bacteria in the mouth, it triggers an immune or inflammatory response that can lead to this disease.
The goal of Gross’ research is to further clarify the mechanisms behind MMP activation, regulation, and dysfunction; characterize the pathways involved; and evaluate the efficacy of potential therapeutic targets to prevent or resolve chronic and aggressive periodontitis.
Gross will also explore the possibility of working with researchers from Roseman’s pharmacy program to develop potential treatment options based on the research.
“My project was up against well-funded, well-known labs,” said Gross. “To know that we have done this with a new program, it feel good and helps legitimize Roseman University as a research institution.”
He received the award at a reception on November 7 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. during the ADA’s annual session. As a first-place winner, he also got $750 and a travel package to present his research at the Hinman Dental Meeting in Atlanta, Ga. in March.
The SCRP began in 1959 at the centennial session of the American Dental Association (ADA) in New York City as a way to promote student research and encourage student participation in organized dentistry, and has remained a joint venture between the ADA and DENTSPLY International since that time. Initially it was a simple table clinic presentation where students could demonstrate new techniques, but today it has expanded to include more than 7,000 students participating in clinical and basic science research.
Students who present research at the national level become members of SCADA, which means they may be eligible for fellowship funding that will help support their graduate education. More information about SCADA is available at www.scadaresearch.org.