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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences 

Pitt School of Dental Medicine Hosts 10th Annual Spring Research Symposium

National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research Director Lawrence A. Tabak to Speak

PITTSBURGH, April 20, 2010 – The University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine will host the 10th Annual Spring Research Symposium from 9 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, May 12, at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Lecture Room 5, Scaife Hall, Oakland. The symposium will feature a lecture by Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., director, National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). Student and faculty research presentations and poster presentations will follow.

Dr. Tabak’s 9:30 a.m. lecture, “Molecular Medicine Enters the Mouth,” will focus on the relationship between oral bacteria and systemic disease. He will discuss the latest research in molecular medicine and the use of saliva testing to detect disease in the body.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Tabak serve as the guest speaker this year to help celebrate our 10th annual research symposium,” said Mary L. Marazita, Ph.D., associate dean of research in the School of Dental Medicine and organizer of the event. “He is a renowned expert and leader in dental research and education. Among Dr. Tabak’s many honors, he has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.”

“His work is just one example of how Dr. Tabak is helping to advance the field of dental medicine. Dr. Tabak is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) MERIT recipient, and has served in key leadership roles in NIH initiatives related to the advancement of interdisciplinary research, as well as to enhancing the peer review process,” said Thomas W. Braun, D.M.D., Ph.D., dean of the School of Dental Medicine.

Dr. Tabak, who has served as NIDCR director since 2000, leads a team of 500 scientists, administrators and support staff.

The following presentations will follow Dr. Tabak’s lecture:

  • “The Effects of Amorphous Calcium Phosphate on 3-D Bone Constructs,” presented by Steven Cudney, first-year dental student, 10:35 a.m.
  • “A Cell Culture System to Characterize the Functional Differences of Taste Receptor Gene Variants,” presented by Alena Kureichyk, first-year dental student, 10:45 a.m.
  • Student research awards presentations, 10:55 a.m.
  • “Exploring the Relationship Between Face Shape and Orofacial Clefting,” presented by Seth Weinberg, Ph.D., research assistant professor, Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics, Department of Oral Biology, 11:10 a.m.
  • “How Can Dental Informatics Help Improve Oral Health?” presented by Titus Schleyer, D.M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Dental Public Health and Information Management, and director, Center for Dental Informatics, 11:20 a.m.
  • “Scaffold-less 3-D Tissue Engineering: Development of Spatially Organized Dentin-pulp Complex,” presented by Fatima Syed-Picard, graduate student researcher, Center for Craniofacial Regeneration, Department of Oral Biology, 11:30 a.m.
  • Poster presentations, Pitt School of Dental Medicine, 457 Salk Hall, Oakland, 11:40 a.m.

The symposium is free and open to the public.

About the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine

Established in 1896 as an independent institution named the Pittsburgh Dental College, the School of Dental Medicine was incorporated into the University of Pittsburgh in 1905. The school offers a four-year Predoctoral Program leading to a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree, an International and Advanced Standing Program for graduates of foreign dental schools, and post-graduate residency programs in ten disciplines. The School of Dental Medicine offers the only dental hygiene certificate program in Pennsylvania affiliated with a major university, in addition to a dental hygiene baccalaureate degree program. The School of Dental Medicine’s comprehensive clinical offerings include the new Multidisciplinary Implant Center and the Center for Patients with Special Needs, one of the few centers in the U.S. dedicated to training future dentists to care for patients with disabilities. Recognized for excellence in research, the School of Dental Medicine ranked 13th in National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research funding for fiscal year 2008. For more information about the School of Dental Medicine, visit


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