DSB Weekly


Dr. Tom Southard

Dr. Tom Southard steps down as head of orthodontics

After nearly 20 years as the head and DEO of the Department of Orthodontics, Dr. Tom Southard is stepping down from being DEO to devote more time to teaching. Dr. Southard joined the department originally in 1990 as an assistant professor, and initially become DEO on July 1, 2002. According to the faculty in orthodontics, “Tom has been so capable in the position, and we feel he has truly left his mark on the orthodontics department!” 

Dr. Southard's impact also extends well beyond the department. His textbook, Orthodontics in the Vertical Dimension: A Case-Based Review (2015), is widely used and has been translated into Mandarin, and he, along with the other orthodontics faculty members, have overseen the success of the UI orthodontics resident program, which has had enormous and repeated success in national patient/case competitions in addition to turning out excellent orthodontists.

As the college seeks to find someone to fill Dr. Southard’s very large shoes, Dr. Lina Moreno-Uribe will serve as Interim DEO of the department.

Please wish Dr. Southard the best as he begins a new phase in his career.  


Dean David Johnsen and Kirkwood Representatives at the 20 year celebration

UI-Kirkwood Dental Hygiene Partnership

On October 30, a celebration was held commemorating the 20-year partnership between the Kirkwood Dental Hygiene program and the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. Here’s a little history about the partnership.

Back in the late ’90s, Kirkwood worked with the UI College of Dentistry and the Regents to develop Kirkwood’s two-year Dental Hygiene program. Instead of Kirkwood building its own clinic, an agreement was reached between the two institutions to allow Kirkwood students to do their clinical work in the UI Dentistry building—thus the partnership was born.

The first cohort of students began in the fall of 1999, and now two decades later the agreement is still going strong!

According to Program Director Shaunda Clark, who has been a part of the Dental Hygiene program it’s entire existence, says that the partnership provides a lot of stability because of the UI and its steady flow of patients. It provides a lot of opportunities for Kirkwood students that they normally would not have. She says it’s been a great partnership for both institutions and that’s why it’s still going strong to this day.

At the celebration, only a few people from both Kirkwood and the UI attended in person because of the pandemic. Others attended virtually via zoom. Shaunda says it was as perfect as it could be given the situation… except there was no cake. However, once we are past COVID-19, they might have to correct that with a post-pandemic celebration with more people (and cake).


Iowa DEI

December 9 College of Dentistry Presentation: UI Resources, Free Speech, and Professionalism

On Wednesday, Dec. 9 from 12:00-1:00 pm, the COD's Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will be hosting a presentation with representatives detailing the roles of many UI entities including the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (EOD), the Campus Inclusion Team (CIT), and the Office of the General Counsel.  After their presentations, Mr. Todd Pettys, College of Law, will give a presentation about free speech and professionalism.  All speakers will be giving a general overview about their topics and will be happy to answer broad (i.e. not COD specific) questions about their areas of expertise.

See bottom of this email for more information about EOD, CIT, and General Counsel.    


1-Click on https://uiowa.zoom.us/ 

2-Click on "Sign In" 

3-Sign in with your Hawk ID and password 

4-Then return to this email and click on the link below 



Webinar ID: 961 9022 3022 

Information about EOD, CIT, and General Counsel: 

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity: 


EOD is charged with the implementation of equal opportunity, affirmative action, and diversity policies at the University of Iowa. We serve as a resource to support the university's compliance with federal/state laws and regulations and university policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and sexual harassment by or towards any UI community member.

The Campus Inclusion Team: 


The Campus Inclusion Team (CIT) provides support and resources to any student, resident, faculty, or staff with a concern about diversity, equity, and inclusion. This may include concerns about actions perceived as discriminatory against aspects of identity such as race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, and associational preferences.

The Office of the General Counsel: 


The Office of the General Counsel advises and represents The University of Iowa, including the President and Vice Presidents, University of Iowa HealthCare, and all of the schools and colleges on campus. We do not represent faculty, staff or students in private legal matters. 

“Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the College of Dentistry’s Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in advance at 319-335-7524.” 

“The University of Iowa prohibits discrimination in employment, educational programs, and activities on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, associational preferences, or any other classification that deprives the person of consideration as an individual. The university also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to university facilities.” 

“The college and university provides this training in support of its core values. No part of the training is intended to cause anyone discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of their race, sex, or any other protected classification.” 

Kelby Scrandrett

Kelby Scandrett Named as College Ambassador

Kelby Scandrett
Clinical Care and Specialized Services Supervisor
Department of Periodontics

Kelby Scandrett has been working at the College of Dentistry for a little over three years, but the challenges he has helped the college face and overcome in 2020 make it seem like he’s been an essential part of the team for much longer! His voice and tireless efforts were essential in developing procedures and protocols to minimize risks to patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic and included screening procedures and questions, PPE standards, social distancing and patient flow within the building, responding to patients who refuse to follow precautions, etc. In short, the college would not be where we are with patient care and dental education without his extraordinary efforts. Even before the pandemic, however, Kelby had become an essential part of his department and services at the college. As a supervisor of clinical staff in his department, his knowledge, expertise, and servant heart make him a go-to resource for his clinical staff and others. He is also the staff representative for the college and leads continuing education courses in Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support, which allows the college to have high-quality in-house training in these areas. For his tireless efforts and dedication to the College of Dentistry, particularly during the pandemic but also well beyond it, the College of Dentistry is honored to have Kelby Scandrett as an ambassador for the college.


Ebuka Ogwo

Ogwo Receives Research Fellowship for Dissertation Project

Chukwuebuka Ogwo, a graduate student in Oral Science, was awarded a Graduate College Post-Comprehensive Research Fellowship for the Spring 2021 semester. This award will help support Ogwo during his dissertation research, which is aimed at developing resources and information for a quick and easy-to-use web-based application that can accurately predict the risk of cavities and identify how risks can increase or decrease depending on a variety of relevant factors.

More specifically, Ogwo’s dissertation will use secondary data from the Iowa Fluoride Study, a 25-year prospective birth cohort study and examine data from ages 9, 13, 17, and 23 and questionnaire and other data collected from age 9 to 23. The purpose of this research is to determine the relationship between new cavity rates and patterns of cavities in adolescents/young adults sociodemographic variables and 45 other predictor variables collected over the life course to age 23. Using data management tools, the project aims to predict both the most important risk factors for cavities and risk levels and future changes in the cavity risk at specific points in time.

The ultimate goal is to develop a web-based application that accurately and quickly predicts cavity risks based on inputs from dentists or health-care professionals in mere moments. Such a tool has the potential to improve support for and reinforcement of preventive oral health care. This is particularly important since tooth decay is the most common dental disease and the most common disease among all health conditions worldwide, and yet there are no such advanced analytical tools that can accurately predict the risk of dental cavities

As Ogwo completes his dissertation, this award and research will provide preliminary data that will be used as a foundation for an NIH/NIDCR (K99/R00) grant application for post-doctoral research training and transition to a faculty position in the field of Dental Public Health/community and preventive dentistry.


Graphic Showing Information About Why Students Chose Iowa

Admissions Achieves Great Success Despite Pandemic Challenges

DDS Admissions experienced a great deal of success in 2020 despite pandemic-associated challenges.

Number of DDS applicants by gender and yearFor the first time in its 138-year history, the University of Iowa College of Dentistry had more female D1 students than male D1 students. The college values and takes pride in expanding educational and career opportunities for women in the field of dentistry! 2020 was the first year that female applicants outnumbered male applicants. The first-year class reflects this shift, as the class composition is 60% female and 39% male. 

Furthermore, as many prospective dental students around the country were opting out of or deferring dental school for the 2020-2021 school year, Iowa had a banner year. The acceptance rate is the percentage of students who are offered admissions that accept the offer. This year, the College of Dentistry had its highest acceptance rate in history.

The admissions team, under the purview of Dean Timmons and led by Director of Admissions, Rachael Kowbel, focused on in-depth, personal, relational, and timely communication to bring about this result. One part of this strategy involved emails with videos outlining “Why Iowa” by current students. These videos showcased collegiate values, student interest stories, highlights of student organizations, and larger university content. Furthermore, each candidate interviewed received a phone call followed by a hand written post from a student who they interacted with during their Interview Day experience. Candidates offered admission receive an additional phone call from either a current student, an alumni, or Dean Johnsen, urging them to choose Iowa as the premier dental school destination. The Alumni Board generously provides a gift to each candidate offered admission, assuring them they are entering a dental dynasty at Iowa when they choose the Hawkeye family.

D2 student, Morgan Scholtes, reflects on the impact of this personalized outreach:

Way back in 2018 when I interviewed at Iowa, I connected with the current students, faculty, and staff and I left feeling great about the school! A few weeks later, I received a handwritten postcard in the mail from my tour guide reaching out to me to say he hoped he would see me next year! Seeing that he took the time to reach out to me again in such a personal way really made me feel special and really cemented my connection with the school and the people there. I still have my postcard hanging in my room to remind me of my progress since being a predental student and why I decided to pursue dentistry (especially when school gets stressful)!

Ethnic backgrounds of 2020 Applicants to the DDS degreeAnd the college also had its second highest acceptance rate (25.6%) from students who identify as American Indian, Asian Pacific Islander, Black/African American, and Hispanic students. Part of the success is likely attributed to personalized communication approach described above, which also had current students with similar backgrounds reaching out to these applicants. Another reason for the success was the implementation of a Diversity Panel at each DDS Interview Day experience, which began in the fall of 2018. This panel was initially proposed by Associate Dean of Students Dr. Sherry Timmons. There is still  more work to be done, but the college is moving in the right direction.

Twice a year, Rachael Kowbel hosts an internal focus group consisting of D1-D4 students to gauge and assess generational and demographic marketing preferences. Knowing that marketing trends shift and evolve, Ms. Kowbel and Marue White regularly evaluate and assess the metrics behind their relational marketing tactics. This year, Ms. Kowbel decided to use this focus group as a means to hone in to our current underrepresented students to assess their perceptions, feelings, and ideas surrounding collegiate recruitment initiatives. The students who identify as underrepresented and elected to participate had creative ideas to share and glowing remarks about their admissions and Interview Day experiences.

Reasons why incoming DDS students choose IowaOf particular note, this spring Ms. Kowbel surveyed the current D1 class to assess their rationale behind selecting the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. The top 5 reasons selected include curriculum (encompassing specialty exposure as well as patient interaction during the D1 year), the Interview Day experience, geography, regular communications sent out by the Admissions staff, and student involvement opportunities through our robust student organizations. These evaluations will continue to guide how Admissions and recruitment strategy develops prospective-student outreach moving forward.

If you are a dental faculty member and would like to participate in our DDS recruitment, please contact the Student Affairs Office at 319-335-7163 to learn more about how you can serve as an interviewer.

If you are a current student and would like to participate as a tour guide or panelist, please contact the Student Affairs Office at 319-335-7163.

This banner year for Iowa admissions, even during a pandemic, was possible because of the leadership of Rachael Kowbel, and the extraordinary efforts of Marue White, current students, dental administration, the Alumni Board, and the Admissions Committee, which is chaired by Dr. Jeff Banas. 


Dr. Jeremy Tu and Dr. Trish Schminke

Dental Students Participate in Harry-Potter Themed Leadership Retreat
by Doug Lindner
Reprinted with Permission from the North Liberty Leader

“I feel like I’m home,” Dr. Trish Schminke said.

Schminke, 43, obtained her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Iowa (UI) earlier this year and returned in July as a dentist with Design Dental in North Liberty, where she started as a hygienist in 2002.

“It feels even better than I thought it would,” she noted happily.

But it took the 1995 Linn-Mar graduate some time to find her calling. A native of Marion, she initially attended the UI on a pre-med track.

“I wasn’t a very good student,” she recalled. “I always was in high school, then college was a different ball game, so I really had to re-evaluate where I was in life and what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I wanted to help people.”
Although she was learning toward nursing, her mother found an ad in the newspaper for a dentist who would hire an assistant and train them.

It changed Schminke’s life forever. She applied and was hired.

“I fell in love with dentistry my first day in the field,” she said. “I absolutely fell in love.”

Schminke worked as an assistant to Dr. Jeremy Tu at River City Dental Care, in Iowa City.

“Shortly after, he opened Design Dental,” she continued. “And I wanted to follow him, because I thought he was the greatest thing. Still do.”

She completed Kirkwood Community College’s dental hygienist program and spent the next 14 years at Design Dental, first at its Beaver Kreek Centre location and then at the current site on Highway 965.

“From the day he opened his doors, I was there,” said the longtime North Liberty resident.

A dental hygienist is responsible for direct patient care, managing soft tissue and the bone that surrounds the teeth, she explained. Hygienists perform cleanings, take radiographs for dentists and help lay the foundation for oral care, translating the dental treatment prescribed for a patient into terms they can understand, she added. Schminke remembers the early days, when Design Dental had 10 patients, not enough people to keep her busy, so she’d help with the front desk, or go home and get on the treadmill.

“He’d call me up and say, ‘Hey, we had a patient walk in the door.’ So I’d get off the treadmill and run back to work and act like I’d been there the whole time,” she recalled. “The first days were fun when we were fighting for people. It was good.”

Even then, she knew she wanted to go to dental school and started taking classes.

In 2012, she enrolled at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids to tackle her dental pre-requisites, graduating in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in biology. A large class load prompted her to take a year off from Design Dental in 2014 to concentrate on her studies, but she came back for a year before starting dental school in 2016.

Over the next four years, she worked only a handful of days at the North Liberty office.

“The course work is so rigorous, there’s just no time,” she said. “They don’t allow you to work for the first couple years.”

Her traditional dental school education ended abruptly after spring break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and she didn’t get to say goodbye to the faculty, staff and patients.

“I didn’t get to thank them,” she said. “I just disappeared. That was heartbreaking.”

She graduated in June, applied for her licensing and started her first day as a dentist July 7. It’s been a process to adapt to the new protocols inside Design Dental. During her 20 years in dentistry, Schminke’s never had to switch a coat between patients or wear two masks and a visor.

“I really have to stop and think before I walk into each patient– what I’m supposed to have on, physically look to see that I have it on,” she noted.

She was fortunate the staff at Design Dental already adopted recommendations from the American Dental Association and procured the necessary protective equipment.

“I just got to walk in and have them tell me the protocol and put it on,” she explained. “I didn’t have to do any of that. They did a great job of complying with what’s going on.”

She’s settled in with co-workers she’s worked with for years and years, and she wants her patients to feel the same.

“We want you to feel comfortable here, and you should,” she observed. “I love that part of my job. I love taking the fear out of dentistry and being able to help people and help them understand how dentistry has an effect on your entire wellness system. There are systemic links to things that go on in your mouth, and for one to be healthy, the other needs to be healthy,” she continued. “I love educating patients on that.”

Schminke has the ability to put people at ease with her earnest approach to becoming and staying healthy.

“Not a lot of people like to come to the dentist, and it shouldn’t be that way,” she said. “It’s not as scary as it was, the horror stories you hear most often happened so long ago, and it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.”

First and foremost, she wants you to like visiting Design Dental. She remembers back when there were only two hygienists and two assistants. Patients would come for an appointment and not leave. Instead they would hang out at the front desk.

It was a stark contrast to her time as a waitress, when people always seemed miserable even though they were out for an evening. It’s hard to believe she has a job at a dental office where people have fun. Dr. Tu is doing something right, she explained. “He treats his patients with respect and listens to them, and we have fun and the environment here is like no other,” she said. “Dr. Tu has always been a mentor, not just in dentistry but life. He’s a great person. I just can’t imagine being anywhere else.”

Patients are always the first priority, Schminke said. The staff at Design Dental make recommendations as to what they think is best, but it’s ultimately the patient’s decision.

“We’re all about education,” she said. “I’ve always felt if you know what you’re going into, you understand why it has to happen, it makes it easier to accept and then to deal with the procedure.

“I want your dental experience to be comfortable,” she concluded. “I want it to be fearless. I want it to be painless, we do our best with that.”

Students with Harry-Potter-like brooms

Dental Students Participate in Harry-Potter Themed Leadership Retreat

The 5th Annual Student Leadership Retreat was held on Aug. 17 under the planning and direction of Cari Anderson, Director of Dental Student Counseling and Wellness Support Services and a committee of Student Advisory Board members – Lauren Lange (D4), Jeremy Bobera (D3), Shannon Osland (D3) and McKenna Woodward (D3). Thirty-seven current DDS student leaders participated, representing their various organizations, groups, and cohorts. Eleven incoming D1 students, each of whom demonstrated a passion for leadership on their retreat application essays, also participated.

Each year, the Leadership Retreat provides a day-long opportunity for pairing ongoing leadership skills training with opportunities for mentorship, collaboration with other groups, and team building.  This year’s theme “The Triwizard Tournament” was inspired by the Harry Potter books and focused on celebrating difference and navigating personality styles within leadership teams.

D4 Jasmine Butler shared, “The Leadership Retreat is always one of the most exciting events of the year and it’s bittersweet that my last one had to be during COVID but the SAB group and Cari always put 110% effort into this event and it SHOWS!  It’s fun to challenge ourselves through team building games but also take a second to reflect on our leadership styles and learn how we can better work with our student groups and even dental teams following graduation!”

First-time attendee and new Student Advisory Board member, Grant Bolle (D2), stated “Taking part in the student leadership retreat only affirmed how proud I am to attend the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. With such a diverse, passionate, and accomplished group of individuals, the student body is comprised of truly exceptional people that I am happy to learn and lead alongside of.” 

Students participating in the Leadership Retreat Pictured (L to R):  Muna Hakim D4, Catia Atienza D1, Kelsey Wenger D3 and Grant Bolle D2






IMG-2441.jpg Pictured (L to R): Morgan Lauer D4, Aleena Parpia D1, Chichi Adeleke D3 and Kane Louscher D3

“I truly enjoyed every moment of the Student Leadership Retreat especially being a D1 student. I got to learn and grow through those experiences and form lasting connections with upperclassmen. It taught me valuable leadership skills that will help me through the years to come. Overall, it was a great start to orientation week!” – Aleena Parpia, D1







D1 Orientation Speed Networking

The New First-Year Dental Students Arrive on Campus!

Although the D1 orientation was different this year, the College of Dentistry is glad to welcome our newest students. Dean Sherry Timmons, Marue White, and Rachael Kowbel from the Student Affairs Office hosted the orientation for the Class of 2024. The orientation was held in person on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 18 and 19.  

Student organization fair tableThe two-day orientation was condensed from the typical four-day experience to comply with new standards for building use and other limitations related to COVID-19.  The incoming D1 students enjoyed a variety internal and external campus presentations, including a welcome from Dean Johnsen and President Bruce Harreld, an associate deans panel, CRWC resources/wellness updates in the pandemic, the Office of Strategic Communications on branding and social media, faculty TED Talks, Counseling Services, and Gallup Strengths Finders, among many others. OKU generously funded a lunch and team building exercise on Tuesday, while Wednesday’s lunch hour included individual student introductions.  The orientation concluded on Wednesday with a Student Organization fair. 

D1 students participating in speed networking while social distancing.On Thursday, Marue and Rachael facilitated an optional D1 speed networking exercise on the east side of the DSB.  Sixty-three of the 82 D1 student attended.  Rich Tack graciously provided outdoor AV services while the D1s enjoyed conversation and lunch afterwards in the shade. 

Here’s the Class of 2024!



Additional photos from orientation:

A table at dental student orientation. 





A table at the D1 orientation






A table at the D1 orientation.






A table at the D1 orientation






A table at the D1 orientation






Students Taking the Dental Oath During Their White Coat Ceremony

D2s Receive Their White Coats

Typically, dental students receive their white coats at the end of their first year of dental school. The white coat signifies the beginning of a dental student’s career as a health care professional. Because of COVID-19-related disruptions this past spring, the white coat ceremony was held on Saturday, August 22, at 11:00 a.m. in the Dental Science Building Galagan Auditoria. The ceremony was live-streamed, and can still be viewed online here.

White-Coat.pngDean Johnsen welcomed this resilient class of students, and several speakers offered pre-recorded words of wisdom including: Dr. Sara Stuefen on behalf of the International College of Dentists, Dr. Fred Burnham representing the American College of Dentists, Dr. Adam Fuller of the Pierre Fauchard Academy, & Ms. Cathy Skotowski representing OKU. The keynote speaker was Dr. Darren Hoffmann for the ceremony. As each student donned their white coats in the ceremony, Ms. Marsha Cunningham-Ford read each of their names aloud. Dean Johnsen led the recitation of the Dental Oath, and Associate Dean of Students Dr. Sherry Timmons provided closing remarks.

Given the special character of this particular White Coat Ceremony, a special thanks to Rich Tack for audio-visual assistance, Pat Conrad for certificate design, and Dean Timmons for providing Iowa-themed face masks.  We have immense gratitude for our strong and resilient students and to the families, spouses, and partners who support their dental journey. The event was facilitated by the Office of Student Affairs.


Pediatrican Dentistry Residents and Professor in the rain in front of the Capitol building

Pediatric Residents and Dr. Matt Geneser Advocate on Behalf of Pediatric Dentistry in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Matt Geneser, pediatric dentistry residents, and US Representative Dave Loebsack

Before the full gravity of COVID-19 had struck the nation, the college's then second-year pediatric dentistry residents, Dr. Alison Christensen, Dr. Paula Gomez, Dr. Kyle Nordeen, Dr. Jenn Feingold, and Dr. Katrina Goebel, and Dr. Matt Geneser, clinical associate professor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, traveled to Washington, D.C., to take part in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's Pediatric Oral Health Advocacy Conference March 1-3.

Dr. Matt Geneser, Pediatric dentistry residents, and US Senator Chuck Grassley

At the conference, residents were instructed on the legislative process and how to advocate for the profession. Our Iowa contingent met with Senator Ernst, Senator Grassley, Representative Loebsack, as well as staff from Representative Finkenauer and Representative Axne's offices, to discuss issues and legislation that affect pediatric dentistry and dental resident education.




Dr. Teresa Marshall

Dr. Teresa Marshall Awarded Prestigious Award for Excellence in Dental Nutrition Education

The American Society for Nutrition awarded Dr. Teresa Marshall the Roland L Weinsier Award for Excellence in Medical/Dental Nutrition Education. The award is given in recognition of an outstanding career in medical/dental nutrition education with far-reaching national and international impact.

Dr. Marshall has been a professor in the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry at the College of Dentistry since 1991, and she is a registered dietician. As a leader in the field of nutrition, Dr. Marshall has participated in an international workshop hosted by the Burrow Foundation on best practices for future oral health birth cohort studies, leading expertise in nutrition and her experience in the Iowa Fluoride Study. Dr. Marshall was also one of the experts and leaders for providing the scientific rationale for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

She is also a leader in dental education. She serves as the director of the Dental Student Research Program at Iowa, which is one of the leading programs in the country. Read more about her leadership of the Student Research Program and her mentorship of students in her field of expertise here. Dr. Marshall's contributions to dental education, particularly in evidence-based dentistry and nutrition content in dental education, is also well represented by numerous publications in the Journal of Dental Education.

Dr. Marshall brings both of these expertise together in support of the College of Dentistry. She developed and teaches an innovative nutrition curriculum that aligns with the overall oral health curriculum at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry.


Mayor Bruce Teague issuing face covering mandate

Iowa City Mayor Issues Mask Mandate

On June 21, Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague issued a mandatory mask mandate until mid-September.

The order requires face coverings when people are at a business open to the public and outdoors when social distancing is not possible

The College of Dentistry has been requiring masks for everyone in the building since the start of the COVID epidemic. Those who do not have a mask are given one. Signs are posted in the building and are being posted outside the entrances to the Dental Science Building indicating that masks are required.

Mayor Teague said Iowa City needed to take action now before the University of Iowa’s 30,000 students returns for the fall semester.

The photo of Bruce Teague issuing the proclamation was taken by the Press-Citizen.


Dr. Rebecca Slayton

Alumna Dr. Rebecca Slayton Receives Evidence-Based Dentistry Service Award from AAPD

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) awarded Dr. Rebecca Slayton the 2020 Suzi Seale Coll Evidence-Based Dentistry Service Award. Dr. Slayton graduated with her DDS from Iowa in 1992, and she earned her PhD in Genetics and a Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry from Iowa in 1998.

The following is taken from the AAPD's list of award winners.

The Evidence-Based Dentistry Service Award, established in 2016 by the AAPD’s Evidence-Based Dentistry Committee (EBDC), recognizes pediatric dentist(s) who have made a major contribution, on a national or international level, to the dental profession and the specialty of pediatric dentistry through evidence-based clinical practice, academics or policy development over the past year. Nominees are solicited from the membership and considered by the EBDC, which shall make the final selection.

Dr. Rebecca Slayton is currently a Professor and recently retired as Director of The Center for Pediatric Dentistry and Chair of the UW Department of Pediatric Dentistry. She served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. She is a consultant to the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, an ad hoc reviewer for several leading dental journals and a member of the Executive Committee, Section on Oral Health for the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Slayton has numerous publications and made significant contributions to evidence-based dentistry and oral health guidelines with her recent work while serving on the American Dental Association's Council on Scientific Affairs.

Dr. Slayton’s honors and awards include Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Fellow (2012-13); International College of Dentists; and Chief Dental Officer and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee, National Children’s Oral Health Foundation.

Dr. Mike Callan

The College of Dentistry Welcomes World-Class Orthodontist and Humanitarian Dr. Michael Callan as a New Faculty Member
by Dr. Tom Southard

Dr. Callan on a mission trip.Carlos, a 17 year old Haitian boy, awakens with his upper lip massively swollen and protruding to the tip of his nose. Having eaten sugarcane his entire life, his maxillary incisors are hopelessly decayed to the level of his gums. The teeth have abscessed, and purulence has eroded through the maxillary bone – exiting into his upper lip. As the hot morning sun blazes through the window of his parent’s shack, his condition worsens. He tries to sit up but is unable. His mother brings him a bowl of watery soup but he refuses to eat. He grows weaker. His parents kneel next to his bed and pray that the American will soon arrive. Suddenly, the village becomes alive with excitement. Dr. Mike Callan has made his way through the winding, dust-caked roads leading from Port Au Prince to their impoverished village. Mike sets up the portable dental clinic, removes Carlos' hopeless teeth, places him on antibiotics, and gives the family his own money to have a maxillary denture made by a Haitian dentist once the swelling has subsided. Mike works tirelessly throughout the day and night caring for many other patients from that and surrounding villages. The next morning, sleepless, spent and hungry, Dr. Callan completes treatment on his final patient, loads his equipment, and moves on to the next village. As he passes Carlos’s home, he smiles. Carlos waves from his front porch. Scenes similar to this have played out for decades in Haiti, Cambodia, and the Philippines where Mike travels yearly, often seeing one hundred patients each day.

In Mike’s own words: "During my first trip to Cambodia, I became aware of poverty that I never really knew existed. I lost 11 pounds during the two-week trip due to nausea (culture shock and anti-malaria prophylaxis.) I also became aware of the healing that comes from the Lord. At the end of the trip, during a church service held by orphans, I was healed of heart break and heart sickness. I came home and everything was better. The food tasted sweeter, carpet felt softer, my wife seemed more beautiful. My life was better, but I was “bitten.” From then on I have no sooner arrived home than I am in the process of making plans for the next trip. What started out as a way to distract myself from my own problems became an encounter with a Living God. From there these trips have morphed from an adventure for Christ into an adventure with Christ!"

Dr. Mike Callan is a humanitarian and orthodontist extraordinaire. He is a son of Iowans, attended the University of Iowa, and earned his DDS from Iowa. He completed his orthodontic residency at the University of Michigan and maintained a practice in Clinton, Iowa for the past 30 years. We have been fortunate to have had Mike as a Visiting Clinical Professor in the University of Iowa Department of Orthodontics since 2009. He is a cornerstone in the department.

Dr. Mike Callan is the only orthodontist in the United States and Canada to have supervised orthodontic residents in the treatment of two winning cases in the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Orthodontics annual resident case competition. Mike is beloved by our students, staff, patients, and faculty. Recently, Dr. Callan has been awarded the 2021 American Association of Orthodontists Humanitarian Award which he will receive next spring at our annual meeting in Boston.

Perhaps once in a lifetime will we encounter an individual as compassionate as Dr. Callan. Perhaps once in a lifetime will we encounter an individual with the incisive intellect and clinical skills possessed by Dr. Callan. Perhaps once in a lifetime will we encounter that one man or one women who epitomizes the best of what we were, the best of what we are, and the best of what we hope to become. That person is Mike Callan.


Dr. Teresa Marshall

UI Professor Mentors Students to Research Excellence

Under the leadership of Dr. Teresa Marshall, professor in the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry, the UI Dental Student Research program has continued to flourish. But the success of the larger program doesn’t tell the whole story. Dr. Marshall has also been an important mentor for many students, four of whom have gone on to win student research awards from the IADR Nutrition Group, and nutrition research is Dr. Marshall’s primary area of research. 

In 2007, Kim Bell won the award for her project, “Caries experience in methamphetamine users.” In 2009, Maegan Johnson Scott won the award for her project, “Dietary beverages create surfaces conducive to microbial biofilm development.” In 2011, Julie Grobe Hendricks won the award for her project, “Characterization of milk as a protective factor against dental erosion.”  And most recently, in 2020, third-year dental student Madison Kasparek won the award for her project, “Use of social media by dental students and recent alumni.”

Madison KasparekFor each of these student researchers, Dr. Marshall would want the focus to be on their success. But Madison Kasparek is quick to highlight Dr. Marshall’s role in her successes.

Dr. Marshall served as Ms. Kasparek’s research mentor during her participation in the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates program before she began dental school and participated in the Dental Student Research Program. Ms. Kasparek credits her experience as an undergraduate researcher and as a dental student researcher under Dr. Marshall as the reason for her passion for research.

Many of our graduates from the Dental Student Research Program say that one of the great values of student research is that it teaches future dentists to be lifelong learners capable of understanding, processing, and evaluating complex research for clinical application and making evidence-based decisions in their future practices.

Ms. Kasparek similarly sees great value in her research experiences, and said, “Dr. Marshall has taught me the magic of problem solving, how to communicate my research, and has boosted my confidence in speaking overall, and that even if you fail in research, it can open up a number of doors.”

 Ms. Kasparek expressed her gratitude for Dr. Marshall’s help as a mentor.

“Whether it was her knowledge, how she helped me become the researcher I am today, or her genuine character that made me feel welcome, she has a played a significant role in my education, career, and life,” Ms. Kasparek added.

The positive research mentoring relationship that Dr. Marshall has with her students makes an impact on their lives, both as researchers and future clinicians, but also as well-rounded people more generally.


Testing setup with Justin Newnum, Dr. Howe, Sylvia Rojas in an operatory

Aerosol Testing in the Student Clinics

Thanks to collaboration with the University of Iowa Health and Safety Office, the College of Public Health, and the College of Dentistry, aerosol testing is into its second week in the student clinics.

Aerosol testing in open operatoriesJustin Newnum, an industrial hygienist with the University’s Health and Safety Office, oversees the sampling and testing in the clinics, and he works with Dr. Renee Anthony, a professor in the College of Public Health and an industrial hygienist, who has done research in aerosol spread.

The purpose of the testing is to measure and determine the effects of aerosols that are generated during dental procedures and to see if wall height will make a difference in the spread of aerosols. The aerosols are measured by devices in the operatory where the procedures are being performed as well as in the four operatories adjacent and across from the operatory. 

Monitors on an assistant to test aerosols in an open operatory.Dr. Michael Kanellis and Dr. Brian Howe have been performing the various aerosol-producing dental procedures on mannequins in the operatories, with College of Dentistry assistants (Silvia Rojas is shown). Justin Bringman, Kelby Scandrett, and Curtis Iburg are part of the College's testing team. The experiments are randomized and repeated for control.  Testing has been completed in the Family Dentistry Clinic where the operatory walls are higher than in the D3 clinics.  Testing in the Sophomore Operative Clinic will be completed by the end of June.

Upon completion of the testing next week, data will be analyzed and recommendations made.  The testing is an important step toward allowing dental students to perform aerosol-generating procedures in open operatories.


Neda Barrett

Neda Barrett Receives UI Outstanding Strategic HR Business Partner of the Year Award

At the University of Iowa Human Resources and Business Conference (held via Zoom), Neda Barrett in Clinical Administration and Patient Care received an award given to one employee per year. The award recognizes Ms. Barrett's contributions at the College of Law.

In particular, Ms. Barrett is a key member of the College of Law's Management Team, Strategic Planning Steering Committee and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Her key accomplishments include:
1. Embedding DEI practices into recruitment and retention goals at the College of Law.

2. Streamlining the faculty and staff recruitment process at the College of Law.

3. Championing change for the College of Law; navigating leadership changes and implementation of HR policies and practices due to COVID-19.

4. HR Advisor for P3 initiative (Chilled Water Plant).

Ms. Barrett is a invaluable leader and trusted partner. 


Health care professional taking samples

COVID-19 Testing at the College of Dentistry

Testing of patients for COVID-19 is available at the College of Dentistry on a limited basis. The purpose of the testing is to allow dental residents to safely provide aerosol-producing procedures in open operatories when access to closed operatories is not available. The hope is that future expansion will include pre-doctoral patients. This would allow dental students to perform aerosol procedures in open areas.

The COVID-19 testing is from 8 a.m.–9:30 a.m., Monday through Thursday. A test is scheduled by a department clerk when recommended by a practitioner. The test is performed by healthcare staff at the college who swab the patient’s throat or back of the nose. The test takes just a few minutes and results are usually back in 24 hours, before the next day dental procedures (Tuesday through Friday).  If a practitioner requests testing for a procedure on Monday, UIHC drive thru testing is available on the weekend.

Patients with a positive test result will be contacted by their dental providers and the dental procedures will be canceled and rescheduled at a later date.  Patients with negative results will not get a call and can plan to attend their scheduled appointments.

The college’s COVID-19 Testing Committee includes:  Dr. John Hellstein, Dr. Brian Howe, Scott Arneson, Keeley Carter, Kaitlin Wenndt, Beth Huse, Kelly Lindahl, Sarah Stanley, Kelby Scandrett, Lynn Conway, Bridget Barba, Malory Randall, Megan Peterson, and Jacki Knorr.

COVID Testing at the College of Dentistry is limited to patients.  Employees and students who are interested in being tested may contact TestIowa to set up an appointment for free testing. Whether you have symptoms or you are feeling perfectly healthy, you can be tested at one of several locations around the state as part of the TestIowa program. Go to https://www.testiowa.com/  for more information, to take the assessment, and to set up an appointment.

Burt and Eklund's book Dentistry, Dental Practice, and the Community

College of Dentistry Faculty Contribute Prominently to New Dental Public Health Textbook

A new and updated textbook in dental public health, Burt and Eklund's Denistry, Dental Practice, and Community, was recently released by Elsevier in association with the American Association of Public Health Dentistry. Iowa is strongly represented among the authors of various chapters, which speaks to Iowa's role as a leader in the field of dental public health. Of the 28 chapters, six had authors affiliated with the College of Dentistry. 

This completely revised and updated definitive text presents dentistry and dental practice against the ever-changing backdrop of economic, technological, and demographic trends, as well as the distribution of the oral diseases that dental professionals treat and prevent.
The American Association of Public Health Dentistry

The Iowa contributions are:

Chapter 3: Access to Dental Care - Susan McKernan, Julie Reynolds, and Michelle McQuistan

Chapter 7: Financing Dental Care - Victor M Badner, David Albert, and Peter Damiano

Chapter 13: Application of Biostatistics in Dental Public Health - Deborah V Dawson, Derek R Blanchette, and Bruce Pihlstrom

Chapter 19: Measurement and Distribution of Dental Fluorosis - John J Warren and Steven M Levy

Chapter 22: Health Education and Health Literacy in Dental Public Health - Richie Kohli and Eli Schwarz

Chapter 23: Diet and Oral Health - Elizabeth Krall Kaye and Teresa A Marshall


College of Dentistry Faculty and Staff Kneeling in Support of White Coats for Black Lives


Along with thousands of other health care workers across the U.S., UI College of Dentistry faculty and staff took part in the #WHITECOATSforBLACKLIVES national observance to remember George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others on Friday, June 5. The event was held on the lawn outside the back of the building.

Racial justice is a health care issue, and it affects our patients and their oral health. Read the College of Dentistry's statement here

Dr. Sherry Timmons and Dean David Johnsen 







College of Dentistry Faculty and Staff Kneeling








White Coats for Black Lives speaker











Congratulations sign on the Dental Science Building lawn

Celebrating the Dental Class of 2020

Ms. Callie Espanto, Class of 2020, and Mrs. Lori Kayser, Dental Registrar, both received pictures through social media of school displays across the US celebrating graduating seniors. Callie asked if the college would consider a similar celebration for our graduates. After receiving approval from the university and collegiate administration to create a display celebrating the Dental Class of 2020, Lori contacted Ms. Pat Conrad in the College of Dentistry’s Ed Media about the project.  Pat was very excited to work on it and started looking through materials to determine what could be created for our graduates.  Sean Kelley, also in Ed Media, worked on project development also.  With the help of Sean Kelley, Gage Anderson and Chuck McBrearty, the Dental Class 2020 display was installed in front of the Dental Science Building on May 22.  

Dr. Sherry Timmons said, “The final result was awesome and Lori was very excited to notify the graduating seniors about the project.”  

The project will continue to be on display until the virtual Dental Commencement on June 5 at 3 p.m. A virtual tour of the photos is available below:

Lawn signs with graduates pictures lining the driveway to the Dental Science Building







Lawn signs with graduates pictures lining the driveway to the Dental Science Building












Lawn signs with graduates pictures lining the driveway to the Dental Science Building











Lawn signs with graduates pictures lining the driveway to the Dental Science Building












Lawn signs with graduates pictures lining the driveway to the Dental Science Building











Lawn signs with graduates pictures lining the driveway to the Dental Science Building











Pediatric Dentistry Zoom Virtual Award Ceremony

2020 Pediatric Dentistry Awards

The Department of Pediatric Dentistry held their annual awards recognition a little differently this year. Instead of a customary luncheon celebration, they held a virtual ZOOM meeting celebration to recognize the awardees. Adam Woroniecki received the Dale Redig Award.  Dr. Redig was a 1955 UI College of Dentistry graduate and was a renowned leader in pediatric dentistry and dental education. Adam will be attending the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE to pursue training in pediatric dentistry upon his graduation this June. Olivia Lofgren was awarded the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Award for outstanding performance in the field of pediatric dentistry by a predoctoral student. The Department of Pediatric Dentistry is looking forward to having Olivia begin her residency program at Iowa later this year. 

Adam Woroniecki, 2020 Dale Redig Award recipient

Adam Woroniecki Receiving Award Adam Woroniecki with gifts 






Olivia Lofgren, 2020 AAPD Award recipient.

Olivia Lofgren with award  Olivia Lofgren with gifts






Screenshot of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry’s  virtual award celebration

Zoom Virtual Meeting










IADR/AADR Virtual Awards Ceremony

Hawkeyes Recognized for IADR/AADR Contributions

Several Hawkeyes received awards at the 2020 Virtual IADR/AADR Awards Ceremony, including:

Dean Johnsen with Dr. Kathryn Kell receiving Honorary Membership Award (photoshopped)2020 IADR Honorary Membership to Kathy Kell (DDS ’79). The award was mailed to Dean David Johnsen, and we created the presentation photo from prior photos.

Dean Johnsen presenting via photoshop the 2020 Innovation in Oral Care Award to Dr. Isabelle Denry2020 Innovation in Oral Care Ward to Dr. Isabelle Denry. Read more about Dr. Denry’s award here. The award was mailed to Dean David Johnsen, and we created the presentation photo from prior photos.

2020 IADR/AADR William J. Gies Award in Clinical Research to Sandra Guzman-Armstrong (shown in the ceremony here) for her coauthored paper, Nonrestorative Treatments for Caries: Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis

Second-year dental student, Chinyere Adeleke, for AADR Student Research Day Award.

Second-year dental student, Madison Kasparek, for 2020 IADR Group/Network Award-IADR Nutrition Research Group Award.


Dr. Leonardo Marchini

Special Care Dentistry Association Awards Dr. Leonardo Marchini the Ronald L. Ettinger Award 

Dr. Leonardo Marchini, associate professor in Preventive and Community Dentistry and chair of the Special Care Dentistry Association Council of Geriatric Dentistry, was awarded the Ronald L. Ettinger Award.

The Ronald L. Ettinger Award recognizes persons who have had noteworthy achievements at the local, regional, or national level which support and promote the mission and goals of the Special Care Dentistry Association; it recognizes individuals who embody the finest qualities of character, dedication, and ethical standards as exemplified by Ronald L. Ettinger, professor emeritus at the University of Iowa Department of Prosthodontics.

Dr. Marchini received a DDS degree in 1996 and a MS degree in 2000, both from the State University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 2006, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Sao Paulo. He joined the University of Iowa College of Dentistry in 2013, where he teaches dental and graduate students in the geriatrics and special needs program and treats his own patients in the faculty general practice.

Dr. Marchini's current research focus includes geriatric dentistry and patient satisfaction with dental treatments. Dr. Marchini is also interested in researching the best way to teach dentistry, with particular interest to geriatric dentistry. he has published six textbooks, 14 book chapters, and 142 peer-reviewed articles. Sixty-eight of those articles were included in the Scopus database and have received 603 citations. 


The College of Dentistry Hosts Annual Give Kids A Smile Event

The College of Dentistry Hosts Annual Give Kids A Smile Event

The College of Dentistry hosted its annual Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) event on Friday night, February 28, at the Iowa Children’s Museum in the Coral Ridge Mall. Fifty-four children received free oral health education, dental screenings, fluoride treatments and take-home bags of oral hygiene supplies.  Dental providers included Department of Pediatric Dentistry faculty Ms. Cathy Skotowski, Drs. Tad Mabry and Polly Iben and pediatric dentistry residents Drs. Leah Barhsinger, Kelly Binding and Ada Reyes.  Members of the student pediatric dentistry club who volunteered included: McKenna Woodward, Emily Starman, Allison Schollmeyer, Morgan Scholtes, Alex Hsieh, Larkin Jacobson, Melanie Stoss, Pooja Kinariwala, Adam Woronecki, Muna Hakim, Luke Farley, Shelby Roszhart, Jordan Roszhart, Kelsey Edwards and Bailey Youngblade.  Pre-dental club members who volunteered included: Rachel Rhoads, Kylee Spurgeon, Katherine Karjalhti and Hallie Reuter.  The GKAS event has always been a popular event and the children and their parents were appreciative and thankful. Photos from the event included below.

Dental Faculty, Students, and Residents Front row: Bailey Youngblade, Muna Hakim, Shelby Roszhart and Kelsey Edwards.

Back row:  Pooja Kinariwali, Adam Woronecki, Jordan Roszhart, Kelly Binding, Leah Barshinger, Tad Mabry, Cathy Skotowski and Luke Farley.







Dental faculty, students, and residents Front row: McKenna Woodward and Emily Starman.

Back row: Kelly Binding, Larkin Jacobson, Melanie Stoss, Alex Hsieh, Polly Iben, Ada Reyes, Cathy Skotowski, Leah Barshinger, Allison Schollmeyer, and Morgan Scholtes.







IMG_5445b.jpg Rachel Rhoads and Kylee Spurgeon ready to obtain parental consent for the children participating in the GKAS event.










IMG_5450.jpg Katherine Karjalahti and Hallie Reuter posed by an educational banner at the GKAS event, ready to obtain parental consent for the children participating.











Clare Swanson, Jessica Day, and Julia Paul

The College of Dentistry Welcomes Three New Greeters

Shown from left to right in the photo:

Clare Swanson is a first-year student at Iowa, and comes to us from Shueyville just outside of Cedar Rapids. She is studying Speech and Hearing Sciences in the hope of becoming a speech pathologist. She enjoys traveling, calligraphy and spending time with family and friends. 

Jessica Day is a sophomore studying Human Physiology on the pre-dental track. On campus, she regularly attends pre-dental club meetings and Salt Company, and she is one of the Coffee House Chairs on the Campus Activities Board. In her free time, she enjoys playing board games and watching shows like New Girl or Grey's Anatomy. She also loves watching movies and is always looking for new movie recommendations. She is excited to be working here and looks forward to meeting some of you!

Julia Paul is a third-year biochemistry major from Omaha, Nebraska. She volunteers at the Domestic Violence Intervention Program and is a member of Alpha Chi Omega. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with my friends and sitting down with a good book. 


Dr. Steven Levy and Dr. John Hellstein

Drs. John Hellstein and Steven Levy Serve As CODA Commissioners

Drs. John Hellstein, professor and DEO in the Department of Oral Pathology, Radiology and Medicine, and Steven Levy, the Wright-Bush-Shreves Endowed Professor of Research in the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry, participated in the Winter 2020 meeting of the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) in Chicago January 30-31, 2020. Dr. Hellstein is in his first year of a 4-year term as one of 30 CODA commissioners and chair of the Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Review Committee, and Dr. Levy is in his fourth year of his 4-year term as CODA commissioner and chair of the Dental Public Health Review Committee. CODA is responsible for establishing educational standards for all the dental programs, including dentistry, dental hygiene, dental assisting, dental laboratory technology, dental therapy, and all the advanced dental educational programs. It is also responsible for site visits and for determination of accreditation status. The University of Iowa is the only university with two CODA members!


Dr. Austin Steil and Dr. Maria McNurlen Steil

Love is in the Air at the College of Dentistry 

Here are a few of the pictures and stories of how several couples got together at the College of Dentistry! You can also share your stories and photos along with these on the College of Dentistry Facebook account.

Thanks to Dr. McNurlen (’83 DDS) for kicking this off and sending us this wedding photo of his daughter, Dr. Maria (McNurlen) Steil (’18 MD), and Dr. Austin Steil (’19 DDS) taken in August at the college! (Shown in the thumbnail to the left.)

Pat and Jeanne BrambertPat Brambert (’17 DDS) and Jeanne Brambert (’15 BSN) met in an interprofessional class IPE. Their first date was to the downtown Java House, and the photo shows them together at their first dental prom at Riverside Casino. The Bramberts now have five children.











Deb Nanda and John McCartneyDeb Nanda (’93 DDS) and John McCartney (’92 DDS) met at the Psi Omega house, and they’ve been married for 26 years.







Josh Doyle and Diana (Pickard) DoyleJosh Doyle (DDS ’17) and Diana (Pickard) Doyle (DDS ’15) met at the D1/D2 class picnic in 2012. They got married in 2018.











Marissa (Gregg) Phan and Alex PhanMarissa (Gregg) Phan (’17 DDS) and Alex Phan (’17 DDS) were in the same class in dental school at Iowa! Their mannequin heads were kitty corner in the Sim Clinic and they got to know each other through many hours of lab work, tooth waxing, and crown preps. During their 4th year, a few days after they “got their wings” by ringing the cowbell, Alex proposed outside of the dental school (with a puppy!) They are now both general dentists in the Des Moines area, and they have two dogs!








Alex and Serena WhitesellAlex (’15 DDS) and Serena Whitesell (’17 DDS) met in 2014 when Serena was a D1 and Alex was a D3. During the Iowa Section of the AADR Annual Meeting, the D1s were all randomly assigned to visit some of the upperclassmen’s presentations. “Lucky for me, I was assigned to Alex’s poster presentation,” Serena said. They are now happily married and just had a baby last June!








Nicholas and Sara LukeNicholas (’16 DDS) and Sara Luke (’16 DDS) started dating their first year in dental school, and they got married a week after graduation. Sara said, “We are so grateful to the College of Dentistry!”





Derek Furrow proposing to Emily FlesnerDerek Furrow (’17 DDS) and Emily Flesner (’17 DDS) met during their first year of dental school, and since they were pod mates, they spent a lot of time together! They started dating during their second year of dental school. After graduation, they moved to Ankeny, IA and they are both practicing dentistry in the Des Moines area. On June 14, 2019, Derek proposed in front of the dental school, since it was the place that brought them together. They are getting married on August 22, 2020! Emily said, “We are forever grateful that we were both accepted to the University of Iowa College of Dentistry Class of 2017!”




The Atienza FamilySalvador Atienza (’94 DDS) and Michelle Kohl Atienza (’93 RDH) met in 1992 at the College of Dentistry. Sylvia and Karen from the dispensary introduced them, and Salvador and Michelle were later both involved with the American Cancer Society 12 hour run/walk. They currently live in Iowa, and they have 3 children. Chiara just graduated from Iowa in December 2019, and she starts hygiene school in August. Catia will graduate from Iowa in May 2020 and will start dental school at Iowa in August, and our son, Caiden, is a senior in high school and a huge Hawkeye fan! Hopefully, we will have a fifth Hawkeye from their family!




Patrick Clancy and Leah HollawayPatrick Clancy (’17 DDS) and Leah Hollaway (’17 DS) started dating as D2 students and were engaged a few months before graduation. Leah said, “We are so proud to be Hawkeyes in the Milwaukee area! We are always very thankful for our time in dental school since we both have jobs we love and we found each other! Iowa City will always have a special place in our hearts.”





Sara Miller, Dr. Mary Marazita, Dr. Cristina Vidal, Dr. Brian Howe

The College Hosts the Iowa Section of the AADR Annual Meeting

Last Friday on February 7, the College of Dentistry hosted the Iowa Section of the AADR Annual Meeting. With around 80 oral and poster presentations and a keynote address by a long-time friend of the college, Dr. Mary Marazita, the event was a great success. As Dean David Johnsen said, “Research is an essential part of what it means to be a university.” Thank you to our Iowa Section of the AADR officers (shown on the left with Dr. Mary Marazita): Sara Miller, Dr. Cristina Vidal, and Dr. Brian Howe.

Presenting Putting Up Their Posters Presenters often place their posters up the night before the meeting, or early in the morning. Here are several presenters putting up their posters before morning coffee!









Discussing a poster presentation The posters provide an opportunity to open a discussion about a student's research.










A Judge Talking with A Researcher One of our judges for the Iowa AADR competitions discusses a poster with one of our post-doctoral researchers.









Faculty members and Judges evaluate research presentations A couple of faculty members and judges listen in as one of our researchers presents her work.










Joe Montana, Colin Iglehart, Dr. David Iglehart, and Jerry Rice

Dr. David Iglehart's First-Hand Account of Attending the Super Bowl

My son's name is Colin Iglehart and he lives in Omaha. He is engaged to a woman from Kansas City and she told him to take his father (me) to the game!

We were cheering for the Chiefs. Neither of us has ever attended a Super Bowl.

The trip ended up including much more than just the opportunity to go to the game:

  • Round-trip airfare to Miami
  • 3 nights in a Miami Beach hotel
  • Lots of free Super Bowl swag, including clothing and autographed footballs
  • An evening at Topgolf with four current NFL players
  • Meeting Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald on a yacht
  • Tickets to Maroon 5 concert at the Bud Light Music Fest
  • Meeting Joe Montana and Jerry Rice on game day
  • Tickets to the pre-game Super Bowl Tailgate featuring Pitbull
  • Tickets to watch the game in Verizon's suite at Hard Rock Stadium

As you would expect, this was the experience of a lifetime that my son and I will never forget.


Mrs. Pugh with Dr. Holmes

From the Director’s Chair to the Stage: Shannon Knipfer’s Performance in Annie

Shannon Knipfer, department clerk for Family Dentistry, has a great deal of experience in acting and directing. As a student in high school and college in Nebraska, Shannon regularly participated in theatre. She also earned her college degree in music performance, and has used that degree here in Iowa City as assistant director of theatre previously at West High and as director at Liberty High. She directed and co-designed Clue on Stage in the Fall of 2018, and was lead costume and makeup designer for Liberty’s Seussical the Musical in the Spring of 2018.

Warbucks House StaffThis past December, Shannon had the opportunity to move from the director’s chair for a role with the City Circle Theatre Company, a local community theatre, in its production of Annie. This is the first time that Shannon has performed since she moved to Iowa almost sixteen years ago, playing the role of Mrs. Pugh, a chef that is part of ‘Daddy’ Warbucks house staff (shown on the right; Shannon is on the far left), and other ensemble members.  Along with procuring props, Shannon also helped with major set pieces for the show, including painting several backdrop pieces and installing the lights in the signs for the New York City scene.

Family Dentistry with Mrs. PughA large group of 20 colleagues from Family Dentistry (shown with Mrs. Pugh on the left) attended Shannon’s performance on December 13. Dr. David Holmes, who has been referring to Shannon as Mrs. Pugh, said that it was great to “get up close and personal with the star of the show,” and that everyone “thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Shannon also loved that they came.

“I was so excited to have so many of the FAMD department attend that performance, and it is so great to have that kind of support,” she said.

Shannon plans to continue her community acting career and will be auditioning for future roles with other community theatre companies.  She is also presently working with the local children’s theatre, Young Footliters, as music assistant for their upcoming production of Treasure Island.

More pictures are below:

Annie and Sandy Camila as Annie and Sandy.










Jean Redlinger and Dr. Holmes Jean Redlinger as Annie and Dr. Holmes as Sandy.






Shannon's Family Shannon's mother and sister came from Colorado to see a show, and they are shown with Shannon's husband, Chad, and their kids Katie and Jackson.






Hooverville Ensemble Hooverville Ensemble; Shannon has a blue shawl and brown hat








Dr. Azeez Butali

Iowa-University of Lagos Research Collaboration Award

The University of Iowa International Programs awarded Dr. Azeez Butali, associate professor in the Department of Oral Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine, and Dr. Maria Marcela Hernandez, clinical associate professor in the Department of Family Dentistry and chair of the International Affairs and Programs Committee at the college, a Global Research Partnership Award.

These awards are intended to help initiate new or expand existing international partnerships and to generate pilot data, with the goal of developing a sustainable research relationship and laying the groundwork for externally funded programs. This particular award includes funds of up to $10,000 and will help strengthen the ongoing research partnership between the University of Iowa and the University of Lagos in Nigeria. More specifically, faculty from the Faculty of Dental Sciences at the University of Lagos will visit the University of Iowa for 8 weeks and work in the Butali lab on genetics and genomics of orofacial clefts with the aim of generating preliminary data in orofacial clefts research for our future NIH grants. These visiting faculty will also serve as resource person for our dental students by interacting with them through a series of oral presentations and one-on-one sessions organized by the International Affairs and Programs Committee at the College of Dentistry. Dr. Hernandez is representing the International Affairs and Programs Committee as a co-investigator on the award.

This opportunity will help our dental students, faculty and staff to learn about the practice of dentistry in developing countries, expose our dental community to international experiences, broaden the global perspective of the College of Dentistry, and open opportunities for mission trips and other collaboration efforts.

Dr. Cristina Vidal

Dr. Cristina Vidal Awarded ADEA Grant and Receives Career Development Award

The American Dental Education Association awarded Dr. Cristina Vidal, assistant professor in the Department of Operative Dentistry, a $3,000 grant for her project, “Anti-Cariogenic and anti-proteolytic effects of an experimental silver nanoparticles and fluoride containing solution.”

This project will compare the anticariogenic and anti-proteolytic effects of silver diamine fluoride (SDF) with a silver-nanoparticle and fluoride containing solution. SDF has been shown to be a simple, safe, affordable and non-invasive treatment to arrest and prevent caries, especially in primary teeth and in root caries in the elderly. However, an important drawback of SDF is the significant discoloration or staining of the treated tooth surfaces after its application. Recently, a solution composed of silver nanoparticles associated with fluoride has been proposed as an alternative to SDF since it may present similar anticariogenic effect without causing significant staining of enamel and dentin.

This project will test if these two different solutions are able to arrest the progression of artificial caries lesions created on root dentin surfaces. By investigating alternatives for non-surgical treatment of initial caries lesions, this project reinforces the importance of caries management and control of lesion progression at initial stages, with a focus on non-invasive therapies. The development of anti-cariogenic solutions with the same potential as SDF to prevent/arrest root caries without causing staining of teeth opens new venues in dental research and could influence dental education and delivery of oral health care in a cost-effective and non-invasive way.

This is a collaboration with the University North Parana (UNOPAR) in Brazil. A graduate student from the Department of Operative Dentistry (Camila Zamperini Navarro) and a visiting Ph.D. student from UNOPAR (Flaviana Alves Dias) are also part of the research team.

Dr. Vidal also received a career-development award as part of the KL2 Scholars Program designed to identify and train outstanding junior faculty at Iowa in clinical and translational research.

For this award, Dr. Vidal is interested in the tooth breakdown mediated by the interaction of the microbiome with host mechanisms in caries lesion progression. Her long-term goal is to develop reparative and preventive dental therapies that promote dentin and pulp healing orchestrated by tissue’s components. This in vitro work will characterize the modulation of the expression and activity of host endogenous proteases by the complex oral microbiome in dentin caries lesions that could change completely the traditional concept of caries etiology and open new possibilities for dental research and patient care. Using extracted carious teeth, odontoblast-like cells, and cariogenic bacteria, she will conduct studies to: 1) clarify the unique contributions of matrix metalloproteases (MMPs) to the different stages of caries progression, 2) reveal the specific role of MMPs in dentin degradation or in reparative processes, and 3) characterize interactions between the dentin organic matrix components and odontoblasts with bacterial metabolites that modulate MMPs expression and activation.

Passport Logo

Fitness Passport: College of Dentistry Takes a Trip towards a Healthier Lifestyle

by Lauren Lange

This fall, the Student Advisory Board and Counseling office in partnership with the Office of Student Affairs introduced a new program to the College of Dentistry called the Fitness Passport. The aim of the program was to help support and promote mental health and wellness, within the entire community at the College of Dentistry. Collegiate counselor and Student Advisory Board Director, Cari Anderson, states “It was very clear from the Mental Health and Wellness Survey administered to our students in previous academic years that for our student body, physical exercise is the most popular and effective form of stress management they have and it is typically the first thing they give up when time becomes compressed for them during the program.” Members of the Student Advisory board emphasized the positive impact physical activity has on mental health and the importance of self-care for students as well as faculty and staff.

The Fitness Passport program not only allowed students, staff, and faculty to enjoy group fitness, but also introduced them to a wide variety of wellness opportunities available in the community. Collaborative relationships were formed with many local businesses in the Coralville/Iowa City area that participated in this program by coming to the College of Dentistry to offer a free class or opening their doors to allow a “take over” of their facilities. Through these collaborations, the Passport classes were able to be offered free of charge or at low cost to participants.  Throughout the semester, a series of 14 classes were offered by the following organizations: Orange Theory Fitness, Hot House Yoga, Title Boxing Club, Downward Dog Yoga, Barre3, ICOR Boxing Club, Jazzercise, and University of Iowa Recreational Services. Fitness Passport participants got to experience a wide variety of group fitness including boxing, high intensity interval training, dance fitness, weight training, yoga, and barre. 

Similar to receiving a stamp on an actual passport as you enter a country, the Fitness Passports were stamped as participants attended a new activity. At the end of the semester, the passports were turned in to be eligible for prizes. Anyone attending at least 5 classes was eligible to win a one month free membership to Orange Theory Fitness or a month of free classes at Hot House Yoga. Anyone attending at least one class was eligible to win one of three smaller prizes: a foam roller, a set of resistance bands, and a pressure/massage roller set. The winners of the first Fitness Passport program along with the Fitness Passport Committee members are listed and pictured below:


Front row: Fitness Passport Winners (left to right) Chase Wedemeier (D3); Hannah Souhrada (D4), Monzer Shakally (D2), Lena Poonnopatam (D3) and Marilyn Wessels-Elvers (staff, not pictured)
Back row: Student Advisory Board Fitness Passport Committee members (left to right) Lauren Lange (D3), Hannah Klaassen (D3), Trystan Wiedow (D3), Drew Carlson (D3) and Cari Anderson (Director).

Staff member Marilyn Wessels-Elvers attended the majority of the classes and said, “The Fitness Passport workouts were all amazing! Where else are going to have the opportunity to try out 13 different exercise classes available in our community, and decide what works best for you?” Hannah Klaassen, SAB and Fitness Passport committee chair echoed this, “My favorite aspect of the Fitness Passport program, besides bringing fitness classes directly to the dental school, is the opportunity for all faculty, staff, and students to try various different types of fitness they may want to implement into their routine.” 

Throughout the semester, more than 300 participants were involved in the Passport program.  Anderson shared “We did what we aimed to do, participant outcome survey feedback indicates that the overwhelming majority of participants who engaged in the program saw this as a very effective way to manage stress and believe that the program helped both their physical and mental well-being.” The Student Advisory Board is looking forward to the future of this program and hopes to bring it back each year.

Photos from the classes are below.

"" Fitness Passport jazzes it up at the Jazzercise studio in Iowa City!







"" All smiles after punching and kicking away the stress during Les Mills Body Combat offered by recreational Services!







"" Fitness Passport had a blast taking over Orange Theory Fitness in Coralville twice this fall for high intensity, heart rate focused workouts!







"" Shaking out stress to high-energy Latin and international beats in Recreational Service’s Zumba class.







"" Participants got kicked into boxing shape when they took over Title Boxing Club, and even got to learn how to properly wrap their hands.








"" Students, staff, and faculty WERQ-ing hard during a dance based fitness class called WERQ, put on by Recreational Services.







fp9.jpg Dental students feeling rough and tough after boxing class at ICOR Boxing Club.









"" Students, faculty, and staff enjoy Vinyasa flow yoga class with Kelli from Downward Dog Yoga.







"" Getting mobile and feeling the burn during Barre3 class.








Fall 2019 Dental Tech Students

A Partnership in Action: Kirkwood’s Dental Tech Program and the College of Dentistry

As dental technology and materials increase in sophistication, the need for trained dental technicians to be part of a comprehensive dental clinic will become all the more important. The Kirkwood Community College dental technology program is one of only 13 accredited programs in the country and the only one in Iowa and the Midwest. The program offers a 2-year applied science degree that trains its students so that they can become certified dental technicians.

Over the course of the program, students learn five specialty areas: dentures, partial dentures, ceramics, orthodontics, and crowns and bridges, and they take a semester-long rotation at the College of Dentistry and in Hospital Dentistry.

Dr. Terry Lindquist, associate professor in the Department of Prosthodontics, is the College of Dentistry’s representative for the program's advisory committee.

Dr. Lindquist said, “This partnership is the only one of its kind, and it has been mutually beneficial for the students and for both colleges.”

At the College of Dentistry, dental technology students get the opportunity to sit chairside with patients, dental students, and faculty as they work together and learn from one another. It provides a unique glimpse into what work in a dental practice will be like.

dental-tech.jpg“As a result of the rotations through the various clinics at the College of Dentistry and the hospital, students have a better understanding of what they are doing and they are able to visualize the end results in real life,” Leah Coleman, the program director at Kirkwood, explained.

Coleman added, “It’s wonderful for our students to see the direct effects of a prosthesis they’ve helped make—whether that involves improvements in mastication or a willingness to smile again.”

The partnership between Kirkwood and the College of Dentistry has been going on for at least 15 years, and approximately 10 students graduate each year. Since Coleman has been involved in the program, it has had a 100% placement rate and for the last 2 years, all graduates have secured employment before they graduated. Coleman said that she expects that trend to continue this year.

The College of Dentistry has also benefited directly from the program as several of our current dental technicians are recent graduates from the program.

On the right, Leah Coleman is helping explain a concept to dental technology student Kacy Cowan.





Girls Go Stem Event

Girls Go Stem and the College of Dentistry

On Saturday, December 7, the University of Iowa College of Dentistry participated in the annual UI Girls Go STEM event, where approximately 200 junior high girls and their parents rotate through a plethora of health science career paths. The rotations contain hands-on activities and education components. The College of Dentistry was proud to showcase Dr. Natalia Restrepo-Kennedy and Dr. Amira Elgreatly. Together, they facilitated a tooth drawing activity (for information about how tooth drawing improves dentistry, read more here). The junior high students were guided by current DDS students including Caroline LaRoy (D3), Hannah Mumm (D1), & Haley Rozeboom (D1).  Director of Dental Student Admissions, Rachael Kowbel, was also present.  Thanks to all for your advocacy of the dental profession!​

Helping at Girls Go Stem







Natalia Restrepo-Kennedy Talking with a Parent at Girls Go Stem Event







Overseeing Tooth Drawing Exercise







Helping students finishing their tooth-drawing exercise







Overseeing the tooth-drawing exercise







Helping a student draw a tooth







Bruno Cavalcanti

Dr. Bruno Cavalcani Elected As Vice President of the IADR’s Pulp Biology and Regeneration Group

Dr. Bruno Cavalcanti, associate professor and clerkship director in the Department of Endodontics, was elected to a two-year term as vice president of the IADR’s Pulp Biology and Regeneration Group. The Pulp Biology Group is one of the oldest network groups of the IADR, focusing in all aspects of the pulp biology, including pulp physiology, inflammation, response to clinical procedures and tissue engineering. In the last few years, this group has become much stronger with the addition of the “Regeneration” field in its name and with the organization of a satellite symposium every three years after the IADR meeting. The last meeting was in June in Portland, OR with researchers and students from all 5 continents discussing the top and latest advances in the Pulp Biology. Since 2004, Dr. Cavalcanti has been a long-standing member of the group and has published more than 30 peer-reviewed papers in the field, not including book chapters, abstracts and award-winning research. About 400 international members of the organization elected Dr. Cavalcanti to become the 2022 President of the PBRG and to help organize the next satellite symposium.​

AAWD Students

AAWD Tooth Fairy Event

Oral hygiene instruction with the tooth fairyOn December 14, the American Association of Women Dentists (AAWD) hosted a Tooth Fairy story time event at Sidekick Coffee and Books. Sidekick Coffee is a new coffee shop and bookstore on Melrose Avenue next to Maggie’s Farm (Wood-Fired) Pizza. The event included a science experiment, a plaque disclosing demonstration, and oral hygiene instruction. The tooth fairy, second-year dental student Megha Puranam, made a special appearance. The event was organized by Kelsey Edwards and Emma Miller, Co-Philanthropy and Community Outreach Chairs. AAWD decided to do a community event this semester rather than philanthropic efforts in order to encourage more families to establish their dental home at the College of Dentistry. Members of the AAWD also gained the experience of hosting community events and teaching children about the importance of brushing. Members that participated in the event were third-year dental students Katie Giles and Taylor Steffans, second-year dental students Kelsey Edwards, Emma Miller, and Megha Puranam, and first-year dental students Hannah Mumm, Michaela Bobenhouse, Megan Rott, Rachel Hulme, Sarah Einck, Jordan Schnathorst, and Bailey Youngblade.

A science experiment conducted at the event










Dr. Eric Van Otterloo

Dr. Eric Van Otterloo Receives Three-Year NIH Grant for Over $700K

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research awarded Dr. Eric Van Otterloo a three-year grant for his project, “Understanding the interaction of Memo1 and Runx2 in craniodental mineralization.” The grant includes funding for three years with over $700K total.

Dr. Van Otterloo joined the College of Dentistry as an assistant professor in the Department of Periodontics and the Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research this past fall. The award is part of a larger project including a mentored- and independent-phase. This grant is for the independent phase (R00) of the project, building on the work established during the mentored-phase of the award (K99).

The overall goal of the project is to advance understanding of cranial and dental development and the underlying gene regulatory networks (GRNs) governing their development. During the earlier K99 award, Dr. Van Otterloo focused on the role of MEMO1—an elusive oncogene—in both cranial and dental mineralization, its integration into larger developmental GRNs, and how these networks can be used for therapeutic purposes.

Dr. Van Otterloo is further developing this work, and will test his hypothesis that Memo1 and Runx2 are central components of a GRN responsible for mineralization of craniodental tissues. He will be testing this hypothesis using cranial endochondral bone and dental enamel models with the following aims:

 Aim 1: Determine intersection of MEMO1, RUNX2, and their interactors, in cranial mineralization GRNs.

Aim 2: Identify MEMO1’s role and genetic interaction with additional factors during cranial bone mineralization.

Aim 3: MEMO1 and RUNX2’s role within the ameloblast lineage during enamel mineralization.

Hispanic Student Dental Association

A Successful Fall Semester for the HSDA!

This past semester, the Hispanic Dental Association Student Chapter (HSDA), led by third-year dental student Kali Disterhoft, participated in many activities, including fundraisers, educational events, and outreach events. 

dunk-tank.jpgOn September 9, the HSDA held a Dunk Tank event on the South side of the building with faculty and students braving the tank. The proceeds from this fundraiser are supporting a student who is active in both HSDA and DPH and plans to attend the mission trip to Xicotepec, Mexico in Spring 2020. The fundraiser helped us to collect $222 dollars. Third-year dental student Jasmine Butler shown on the right is waiting for a bath in the Dunk Tank. Jasmine was very brave even after receiving over five baths! The following individuals braved the perils of the dunk tank: Dr. Ahmed Mahrous (prosthodontics), Dr. John Hellstein (OPRM), Hunter Paddie (D1), Kobi Voshell (D2), Jasmine Butler (D3), and Donte Nesbit (D4)

 On October 22, the HSDA also offered a Spanish class, which was very well attended and was offered to the college community. The class was taught by second-year dental student Melanie Stoss, and it was well received. The HSDA group will continue with the Spanish classes during the next semester. Stay tuned for more information! The lesson for the first class is available:















The HSDA has also been active through its Outreach Events. These events included a visit to St. Patrick’s Church on October 20 where patients received dental screenings after the morning mass, and a HSDA-hosted outreach event at Terry Trueblood on November 10. Through these outreach events, many of the Hispanic patients screened are continuing their care at the college! These events have been great opportunities for students in all classes to give back to those in need while learning or practicing Spanish.

It is amazing to see the commitment of our students and faculty to support, teacher, and help those in need.

Suicide Prevention Week, January 13-17

Suicide Prevention Week Comes to the College of Dentistry
by Katie Giles and Lauren Lange​

The College of Dentistry’s inaugural Suicide Prevention Week campaign presented by the Counseling Office and the Student Advisory Board begins Monday, January 13. This week of events comes in conjunction with increasing suicide prevention efforts on campus and nationwide to address the rising number of attempted and completed suicides by college and graduate students. Collegiate counselor and Student Advisory Board Director, Cari Anderson, described that a primary goal for this week is to “not only increase awareness about the prevalence of suicide risk in our college and the dental profession but to also further de-stigmatize mental health and combat the culture of silence on this topic.”

The campaign is also timely with the recent introduction of UI’s campus-wide suicide prevention training initiative entitled Kognito. Kognito is an online, interactive simulation training program for students, staff and faculty that builds awareness, knowledge and skills about mental health and suicide prevention. Kognito is designed to equip users to lead real-life conversations with fellow students and colleagues who are in distress and understand the importance early recognition, intervention, and referral.

Suicide Prevention Week at the COD will offer various opportunities to receive training and gain skills in suicide prevention and risk identification, understand the impact of suicide loss, and increase awareness of the prevalence of risk for students and professionals in the health sciences. Morgan Lauer (D3), Student Advisory Board and Suicide Prevention Committee member, states “Suicide is something that impacts most people at some point during their life. I hope that this week gives people a space to reflect, the confidence to ask someone about suicide, and the power of hope.”

A visible reflection of this hope can be viewed throughout the week by visiting the “Messages of Hope” art piece carved and decorated by Student Advisory Board and Suicide Prevention Committee members, Shannon Osland (D2) and Katelyn Stine (D4), respectively. Throughout the week, students, staff, faculty, and patients will be able add their own messages of hope to our collegiate community when they pass through the 3rd floor lobby or attend the opening event on Monday. When asked what inspired her wood carving, Osland stated “Building and creating something is how I best express myself and I felt like I could express my passion about this week through building something that can be used for many years.”

Additional planned events for the week will include Monday’s opening event entitled “Steps Toward Hope,” a guided memorial exhibit and interactive “Messages of Hope” display. All students, staff, and faculty are urged to stop by and take part in this unique event.  Tuesday will feature a special presentation by Loni Parrott about her personal experiences in coping with the loss of her husband, Dr. Dick Parrott, to suicide.  Dr. Parrott was a D.D.S. graduate of the UI College of Dentistry and Co-Founder of the Dick Parrott Free Dental Clinic in Iowa City. Wednesday offers a roundtable discussion and lunch for students where frequently asked questions and suicide myths will be explored. Thursday and Friday will provide suicide awareness and prevention training opportunities including a demonstration of navigating the Kognito training program. Further details including locations, time and CE credit can be found in the flyer attached to this newsletter. “As a Student Advisory Board member, I really hope awareness and acceptance have the biggest impact this week,” states Osland. I hope people feel open to ask and talk about suicide, and realize it’s more common than we all want to think.”


Susan McKernan

Dr. Susan McKernan: Up and Coming Researcher in Health Disparities

In July, Dr. McKernan attended the annual Health Disparities Research Institute held on campus at the National Institutes of Health. The 5-day program offers career development for early-stage investigators to stimulate research in minority health and health disparities science.  Dr. McKernan was one of 50 investigators—and the first dentist—selected to participate in the program. Participants were selected based on their proposed research ideas and potential to submit competitive research applications to the NIH. Attendees heard lectures from prominent researchers, networked with NIH program staff, and participated in a grant-writing session and a mock-grant review. The event was sponsored by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, whose mission is to make a transformative difference in minority health and reduce health disparities in underserved communities.

In August, Dr. McKernan also received $35,000 NIH Loan Repayment Program award for Health Disparities Research.

Introduction at Tots to Teens Course

Pediatric Dentistry Presents to a Large Continuing Education Crowd

On November 15, over 230 individuals attended a continuing education course sponsored by the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and an unrestricted educational grant from the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation entitled “Tots to Teens: Meeting the Challenges of Today’s Pediatric Dental Patient.”

The full-day fast-paced, informative program covered a variety of contemporary pediatric dental topics including lip and tongue in infants, minimally invasive treatment approaches, hypoplastic molars, new sealant information, first permanent molar extractions, destructive teen habits, oral health care for the pregnant adolescent, gender awareness, strategies for high -isk patients and interesting clinical cases.  Department faculty presenters included Drs. Matt Geneser, Mike Kanellis, Kecia Leary, Amy Lesch, Tad Mabry, and Polly Iben. Department hygienists, Gayle Gilbaugh and Cathy Skotowski, presented table clinics reviewing pediatric oral health resources during the lunch time and afternoon breaks.  Several of our colleagues from Federally Qualified Health Centers attended including several National Network of Oral Health Access Members (NNOHA) and Scholars from the National Network for Oral Health Learning Institute (NOHLI). 

A team from Arctic Dentistry, a private-practice in Muscatine, attended and produced a video (on Facebook) of their experiences.

Photos are also available below:

Ms. Amanda Shoemaker, Dr. Karin Weber-Gasparoni and Dean David Johnsen Ms. Amanda Shoemaker, Dr. Karin Weber-Gasparoni and Dean David Johnsen






Dr. Matt Geneser presenting on Lip and Tongue Tie in Infants and Children Dr. Matt Geneser









Dr. Tad Mabry presenting Dr. Tad Mabry








Dr. Mike Kanellis presenting 'What is Atraumatic Restorative Treatment?' Dr. Mike Kanellis







Ms. Gayle Gilbaugh presenting a table clinic. Ms. Gayle Gilbaugh










Ms. Cathy Skotowski presenting a table clinic Ms. Cathy Skotowski







Leary and crew.jpgBack row:  Drs. Moli Day (Lawrence, KS-NOHLI Scholar), Sybil Fortner (NNOHA Practice Management Committee), Tina Sopiwnik (Ashland, WI, NNOHA President), and Kecia Leary (NNOHA Secretary).

Middle row: Dr.  Janette Garcia (Des Moines-NOHLI Scholar).

Front row: Drs. Diana Jones (Cedar Rapids-NOHLI Scholar), and Ryan Tuscher (Chicago, IL—NNOHA Board Member).







Dr. Shankar Rengasamy Venugopalan

The International Team of Implantology Awards Dr. Shankar Rengasamy Venugopalan, Dr. Satheesh Elangovan, and Dr. Erliang Zeng Two-Year Grant Totaling $50,000

The International Team of Implantology (ITI) has awarded Dr. Shankar Rengasamy Venugopalan, Dr. Satheesh Elangovan, and Dr. Erliang Zeng $50,000 to study the epigenetic mechanisms leading to peri-implantitis. The principal investigator of this grant, Dr. Shankar Rengasamy Venugopalan, is an associate professor in the Department of Orthodontics. The co-investigators are Dr. Satheesh Elangovan, professor in the Department of Periodontics and Dr.Erliang Zeng, associate professor in the Division of Biostatistics and Computational Biology.

Peri-implantitis, like periodontitis, is characterized by loss of alveolar bone beyond physiological limits, which makes it an irreversible condition and a complex problem to tackle. Currently, no single clinical strategy is available that can be utilized to treat peri-implantitis in a predictable manner. The epigenetic modifications play a significant role in the development of human diseases, such as cancer, neurological disorders, and autoimmune diseases. However, its role in peri-implantitis is not well characterized. Dr. Rengasamy Venugopalan and his team, with the grant funding from ITI, will study the epigenetic mechanisms underlying peri-implant pathologies using advanced next-generation sequencing technology. Understanding the epigenetic mechanisms behind peri-implantitis may help to develop novel and predictable preventive or therapeutic approaches.

Lord Jephthah Joojo Gowans

Dr. Gowans Receives Grant totaling over $450K from the NIH

The National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research awarded Dr. Lord Jephthah Joojo Gowans an Emerging Global Leader Award (K43), which is a training grant for junior faculty from countries such as Ghana, where Dr. Gowans resides. Dr. Gowans’ primary US mentor for the grant is Dr. Azeez Butali, associate professor in the Department of Oral Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine.

Dr. Gowans is currently a faculty member at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), in Kumasi, Ghana, and he has conducted a great deal of his Ph.D. research at Iowa and he has worked extensively in Dr. Jeff Murray and Dr. Azeez Butali’s labs.

Dr. Gowans’ overall research is focused on the etiology of birth defects, particularly craniofacial and dental anomalies and he employs genetic, genomics, developmental biology and other functional genomics tools in his research.

For this project, he is studying nonsyndromic orofacial clefts in multiplex families and families with twins from Africa, since such families benefit from the detection of probable etiologic variants. The goal of the project is to determine genetic and environmental risk factors that predispose Africans to craniofacial and dental anomalies, which may subsequently be extrapolated to other human populations.

Normally faculty at Dr. Gowans’ institution dedicate about 70% of their time to teaching and instruction, will little time remaining for research. This award allows Dr. Gowans to spend 75% of his time conducting research, thereby freeing him up to contribute to the larger clefting research programs around the world. The long-term aim is for Dr. Gowans to develop a research profile that allows him to study a greater number of orofacial cleft multiplex families and twins discordant for orofacial clefts across the whole of Africa.

Rachael Kowbel and Sherry Timmons shown with Herky

A Northwest Iowa Student Recruitment Trip

IMG_0946.jpgOn November 17-19, Dean of Students Dr. Sherry Timmons and Director of Dental Student Admissions, Rachael Kowbel, embarked on a health science recruitment trip to northwest Iowa in collaboration with the undergraduate Admissions Visitor Center, UI Healthcare/Carver College of Medicine, and the College of Pharmacy.  The goals of the trip included visibility for the University of Iowa, increased engagement with underrepresented and rural high school students, hands-on learning, and alumni collaboration.  The trip included evening programs, focused classroom learning, and program-specific presentations where Ms. Kowbel connected with high school students and their parents, encouraging them to pursue dental education at the University of Iowa.  On the trip, six counties were reached, 13 schools were engaged with 150 total student attendees, and 4 DDS alumni advocated for careers in dentistry. 

IMG_0929.jpgWhile at Sioux City East High School, Dean Timmons led a presentation on health science careers and taught 20 high school students how to restore an anterior defect with composite material.  The students were engaged and eager to learn! Dr. Richard Hettinger, a retired 1979 DDS alum, assisted at an evening event at the Sioux City Career Academy, offering his expertise and wisdom to students and parents. 

IMG_0955.jpgWhile in Storm Lake, Dr. Chris Hansen (DDS 2008) mingled with participants and vocalized his strong support of Iowa’s DDS program and his willingness to allow high school and college students the opportunity to shadow at his practice.  Wrapping up the trip in Fort Dodge, Dr. Shaun O’Neill (DDS 2017) spoke about the many reasons students should consider a career in health science and the impact of technology on the profession.  Dr. O’Neill brought in a CEREC machine and demonstrated how this technology is significant to the field of dentistry.  Dr. O’Neill then allowed students to use the CEREC, which was a smashing success!




Azeez Butali

Research Team with Dr. Azeez Butali as Co-Investigator Awarded Grant for over $3 Million

The National Institutes of Health awarded Dr. Richard Smith (Carver College of Medicine) a 5-year grant for over $3.1 million for his team’s project, “Non-Syndromic Hearing Loss - A Collaborative Study.” Dr. Azeez Butali is a co-investigator for the project.

This grant represents the 24th-28th years of funding for Dr. Smith’s project. One primary goal during these years of the overall project is to address a limitation in the team’s prior research in which certain ethnicities were underrepresented.

Dr. Azeez Butali is a co-investigator for the project. He will be coordinating the recruitment of 500 families from Nigeria by working closely with collaborators in Nigeria (at the University of Lagos and the University of Ibadan) on phenotyping, data, and sample collection. He will also assist in the analyses and interpretation of genetics and genomics data that will be generated following sequencing of these families in order to identify variants and genes that contribute to non-syndromic hearing loss.

Other co-investigators for the project include Akeem Lasisi, E. Ann Black-Ziegelbein, Cynthia Morton, Jun Shen, W. Daniel Walls, Uli Mueller, and Suzanne Leal.

Dean David Johnsen presenting the James H. and Hermine E. McLeran Award to Dr. Chris Barwacz

Dr. Chris Barwacz Receives McLeran Award at Dean’s Club Reception

The Dean’s Club reception was held on April 15, 2019. Dr. Chris Barwacz, associate professor in the Department of Family Dentistry and the Craniofacial Clinical Research Program, received the James H. and Hermine E. McLeran Award because of his excellence as an educator and his commitment to patient-centered care.

Dr. Karin Weber-GasparoniTo the right: Dr. Karin Weber-Gasparoni speaking at the reception.

Bailey OBrien To the left: Fourth-year dental student Baily OBrien speaking at the reception.

Read more about Dr. Barwacz below:

Known as an outstanding clinical teacher and lecturer who is a role model for both predoctoral and graduate students in the college, Dr. Chris Barwacz has been teaching at the college for the past ten years. As an undergraduate (and throughout dental school), Dr. Barwacz was a research assistant in the laboratory of Dr. Stefan Strack, professor of neuroscience and pharmacology and associate chair for research.

After completing his D.D.S. at Iowa, he completed a residency in Advanced Education in General Dentistry at the Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, Texas. He then returned to Iowa as a research fellow in oral implantology and clinical research for two years before becoming a visiting assistant professor, and later an assistant professor in the Department of Family Dentistry. In 2018, Dr. Barwacz was promoted to associate professor with tenure.

As an educator, Dr. Barwacz lectures in five predoctoral and five graduate courses. For first-year dental students, he teaches didactic courses in periodontal aesthetics, and for fourth-year dental students, he is instrumental in their training and clinical supervision as it pertains to the restorative component of dental implant therapy. At the graduate level, he created and teaches a new course aimed at meeting a specific accreditation standard on implant provisionalization for periodontics. He is also actively involved in mentoring student researchers, and in 2015, he was recognized by the Student Research Group as the Mentor of the Year.

Dr. Barwacz SpeakingDr. Barwacz (shown speaking on the right) receives the most joy and satisfaction in observing fourth-year dental students grow and develop over the course of their last year of study and training. Their clinical and patient experiences over the course of the fourth year help them transition from often hesitant students who are completing initial comprehensive exams to confident and competent practitioners fully capable of making professional judgments and treatment plans for their patients independently.

“It is remarkable to see their progress over the course of the year, and it is particularly telling when you see the progress in reverse—seeing how skilled our graduates are by late spring, and then just weeks later seeing the incoming class start that process anew for themselves,” Dr. Barwacz explained.

During this process, Dr. Barwacz’s chief pedagogical goal is not only to educate his students, but to begin the process of treating his students like future colleagues, and part of that means guiding them to recognize when they should push beyond their comfort levels, while also identifying their own limits.

“Mutual respect is crucial to the teacher-student relationship; it is important to respect your students as future colleagues, to have high expectations of them, and help them become continual self-directed learners in the profession,” said Dr. Barwacz.

This relationship between the teacher and student carries over into how patients are treated.

Dean David Johnsen Presenting the McLeran Award to Dr. Chris Barwacz“My highest aim is for our students to be interested in, empathetic toward, and to provide excellent outcomes for their patients as ethical and honest practitioners. To do that, I realize that I have to model that behavior directly with students and patients,” Dr. Barwacz added.

Dr. Barwacz is also active in the larger profession as an active member of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR), American Dental Association (ADA), and Iowa Dental Association (IDA). He is also a recognized fellow of the International College of Dentists (ICD) and the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). Dr. Barwacz also serves on the Fellowship and Certificate Steering Committee for the Academy of Osseointegration (AO), of which he is an active member. Furthermore, this past summer, he was inducted into the National Dental Honor Society Omicron Kappa Upsilon. This is a very selective recognition, as our local chapter can only elect one full-time faculty member each year.

According to Dr. Gustavo Avila-Ortiz, professor and Department Executive Officer (DEO) of the Department of Periodontics, and Dr. David Holmes, professor and DEO of the Department of Family Dentistry, “Dr. Barwacz has proven his commitment to the mission of our College and his extraordinary skills as a teacher and as a health care provider. We cannot think of a more qualified individual than Dr. Barwacz to be the recipient of the 2019 James H. McLeran Faculty Award.”

Because of his excellence as an educator and commitment to patient-centered care, it is our great honor to award Dr. Christopher Barwacz the 2019 James H. and Hermine E. McLeran Faculty Award (shown with the award and Dean David Johnsen).


Dr. Steven Means and Dr. Hayley Harvey

Dr. Steven Means Makes the Extramural Rounds

Dr. Steven B. Means is Faculty Group Leader for Family Dentistry Group 2.  Those students are away on their extramural rotations from mid-October through early January.  Dr. Means arranged to visit some of them at their extramural assignments, and to meet with the faculty preceptors at those sites. Here are a few photos from Dr. Means’ travels in the past couple of weeks:

Dr. Steven Means and Dr. Hayley HarveyDr. Means visited Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines on Thursday, November 7. The photo on the right shows Dr. Means with Dr. Hayley Harvey, section chief and director of dental education at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines. Dr. Harvey is a 1994 (D.D.S.) and 1996 (M.S., Dental Public Health) graduate of The University of Iowa College of Dentistry. She also recently received the Service Recogntion award from the college and its alumni association.

Fourth-year dental student Michael Parker in the Broadlawns Reception AreaThe photo on the left shows fourth-year dental student Michael Parker in the reception area of the Broadlaws Dental Clinic.


Concerning his visit to Broadlawns, Dr. Means remarked, “The visit could not have gone better. For one thing, I had no idea what the clinic or facility looked like. Wow, I realize something that takes a tremendous amount of effort and skill. There is a palpable good vibe going on there. I had an opportunity to spend time with the clinic coordinator Ashley Lansman, and the Adjunct Faculty working with our students.  Additionally, I was able to talk to most of our students currently at Broadlawns. They all expressed that the experience has been fantastic.”



Dr. Ritu Bansal, Dr. Means, Ms. Sara A. Sodawasser, and Dr. Scott M. Anderson Dr. Means also visited the Dr. Rhys B. Jones Dental Health Center at UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Dental Health Center in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, November 12.


The photo on the right shows Dr. Ritu Bansal (director of the Dr. Rhys B. Jones Dental Health Center), Dr. Means, Ms. Sara A. Sodawasser (manager of the Dr. Rhys B. Jones Dental Health Center), and Dr. Scott M. Anderson (staff dentist at the Dr. Rhys B. Jones Dental Health Center).  Dr. Anderson is a 2010 (D.D.S.) graduate of The University of Iowa College of Dentistry.


fourth-year dental student Addison Miller treating a patient at the Dr. Rhys B. Jones Dental Health CenterThe photo on the left shows fourth-year dental student Addison Miller treating a patient at the Dr. Rhys B. Jones Dental Health Center.


Regarding his visit to the Dr. Rhys B. Jones Dental Health Center, Dr. Means said, "This is a clinic with a lot of soul and they are doing heavy lifting with the population they serve. Another great example of Iowa Public Health initiatives. Dr. Bansal is a great leader and you could feel the warm positive energy with the Staff and patients."






Santa Claus

Dr. David Drake is the New Santa Claus

Most children don’t realize that as Santa ages, he begins preparing another man to take on the red suit and the responsibility of delivering gifts to children all over the world. It’s a big job, and Iowa’s Dr. David Drake, professor in the Department of Endodontics and in the Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research, has been selected as the next Santa Claus. You can visit the jolly old man Nov. 16 through Dec. 23 at Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville.

So, how did he become Santa?

It began three years ago when Dr. Drake was at the mall doing some holiday shopping. He saw Santa, and with a twinkle in their eyes, Santa and Dr. Drake nodded and waived to one another.

A year later, Dr. Drake was visiting the mall again, and Santa waved for Dr. Drake to come over and talk. This was their first conversation, and Santa complimented Dr. Drake’s beard.

“I really had a much better beard than Santa at the time,” Dr. Drake said.

Last year, Santa was more forceful.

“You need to do this,” Santa said. And when the season ended, Santa said it was time for him to retire, and he wanted Dr. Drake to become Santa Claus.

With a laugh, Dr. Drake accepted the offer. “I felt called to do it,” he said, and he spent the past year being transformed into Santa Claus as he prepared at the North Pole, grew out his beard, made sure that the toy shop is functioning at peak efficiency, and oversaw the training routine of his reindeer. It’s a busy schedule, and Santa won’t be around the Dental Science Building as much over the holiday season because of it.

During an interview with the new Santa, he shared some fascinating details about his experiences. His chief elf is named Bernard, and the elves' favorite food is COOKIES!

He also said that he’ll often get tough questions from kids.

A little boy asked him, “So, how did you get here? How does your sleigh land if there’s no snow?”

“That’s one of the great things about my sleigh,” he responded. “You know those shoes that have retractable wheels. My sleigh has those, and Bernard, the reindeer, and I land on top of the mall, and Bernard takes care of the reindeer and sleigh as I go and visit with the children.”

Many kids also ask him about all the other Santas that they see around town.

“I’ve got a big family, with lots of brothers and relatives, and they all look a lot like me. Obviously, I can’t be in more than one place, and everyone wants a picture with Santa this time of year. So, I ask them to pitch in and act like me sometimes,” he explained.

With a wink and a twitch of his nose, he adds, “Of course, you know that I’m the real Santa.”

If you want to see the real Santa, he will be at Coral Ridge Mall from Nov. 16 through Dec. 23. Schedule a time to visit him at the following website.

Of course, you know what he’ll be doing on Dec. 24. And don’t worry. Santa and Bernard have the elves at peak efficiency and all the toys will be ready by then!    


ADA President Visits Iowa

ADA President Chad Gehani Visits Iowa

Earlier this week, the American Dental Association President Chad Gehani visited the UI College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics. He spent time talking with our students about ADA membership, and he also spoke with our esteemed faculty about our Geriatric and Special Needs program, professional policies and standards for dentistry and its specialties, research support, and the opioids crisis.

UI College of Dentistry graduates are involved in community projects and professional organizations, including the ADA. Iowa has an excellent ranking in terms of the percentage of Iowa graduates who join the ADA. 

President Gehani with Students 





President Gehani with Students






Geriatric and Special Needs program faculty with Dr. Gehani Iowa has the best geriatric and special needs program in the country, which supports the mobile unit, advanced program, and leadership and research in the field. Older patients with special needs are a critical underserved population, and Iowa is at the forefront of coming up with better strategies for meeting those needs. 





DEOs with President Gehani With national leaders in all recognized specialties, Iowa is a leader in setting the professional policies and standards for each of the specialties and for dentistry as a whole. 





Dr. Gehani with Dean Johnsen and UI Faculty











Dr. Gehani with Students






Dr. Gehani











Dr. Gehani and Iowa Leaders






Iowa Researchers and Dr. Gehani






Dr. Howard Cowen with Patient

Dr. Cowen Named As Inaugural Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation Professor in Geriatrics and Special Needs

Dr. Cowen with Delta Dental Foundation RepresentativesGeriatics and special needs adults are a critical underserved population in dentistry, and there are few efforts to address their needs as a group. Their dental care is closely linked to their overall health, and Iowa is a leader in the field. The UI College of Dentistry has the best Geriatric Dentistry program in the country, and the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation has provided a large donation to support this work with an endowed professorship.

Endowed Professors help advance the strategic academic and clinical goals of the College of Dentistry, and they ensure that the college will maintain its status as a leader in geriatric and special needs dentistry. Dr. Howard J. Cowen has been named as the inaugural Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation Professor in Geriatrics and Special Needs.

Dr. Cowen Receives Medallion "I'm humbled and honored to receive this amazing, incredible, and awesome inaugural presentation of the Inaugural Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation Professor in Geriatrics and Special Needs," said Dr. Cowen. He added, "This professorship will add sustainability and advance our nationally recognized Geriatric and Special Needs program by fortifying the graduate certificate program, helping to develop new models for multidisciplinary geriatric patient care, education, and research, and expand the Geriatric and Special Needs program so all predoctoral students will have this needed experience."

Dr. Cowen joined the College of Dentistry in 1982, and he is director of the Geriatric and Special Needs Dental Program and director of the Geriatric and Special Needs Postgraduate Certificate Program, as well as a clinical professor in the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry. Dr. Cowen treats private patients at the College of Dentistry, with an emphasis on geriatric, medically, physically and cognitively impaired adults. He is a fellow of the American Society of Geriatric Dentistry and a diplomate of the American Board of Special Care Dentistry.





Bethany Doolittle

The College of Dentistry at the American Society of Human Genetics

At the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics, several College of Dentistry representatives, including first-year dental student Bethany Doolittle, Associate Research Scientist Aline Petrin, and Waheed Awotoye attended and presented their research.

First-year dental student Bethany Doolittle, M.S., presented her Master’s research at the conference. She received her Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences from Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL under the mentorship of Dr. Bryan Bjork from the Department of Biochemistry. Her poster was titled, “Phenotypic and molecular characterization of orofacial development of Mecom loss-of-function mutants." As a member of the Dental Student Research Program, Bethany is continuing her research efforts under the mentorship of Dr. Martine Dunnwald; her project is “Assessing the Role of Arhgap29 in Craniofacial Development”.

Aline PetrinDr. Aline Petrin presented her project, "A Population-based Study of Gene X Smoking Interactions and Orofacial Cleft Risk".

Azeez Butali and Waheed AwotoyeDr. Waheed Awotoye also presented his project, "Exome Sequencing Identify Damaging Mutation in ABI3BP in Hereditary gingival fibromatosis". 






IASDA Sand Volleyball Tournament

Bump Set BrushOn September 5, IASDA held a sand volleyball tournament for charity at the Dovetail Volleyball Courts in Coralville. Over 80 students and friends participated in the tournament, and the Bump Set Brush team won the tournament. The team members of Bump Set Brush included Kelsey Wenger, Nathan McMillan, Cortlyn Kasik, Brady Ellis, Katie Ellis, and McKenna Kilburg. Congratulations on your victory! The tournament raised $470 for charity.

Caroline LaRay, Barbara Vinograde, and Kayla ErpsIn early October, IASDA philanthropy cochairs, Caroline LaRoy and Kayla Erps, delivered $470 raised to the Iowa City Free Medical and Dental Clinic. The free clinic is an amazing organization that provides a wide range of services to people that would otherwise not have access to care. Barbara Vinograde, the executive director at the free clinic, said that the funds raised would provide $2,350 or more worth of care. 






Dr. William Synan

new (1).jpgDr. William Synan Named as Outstanding Predoctoral Educator in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Dr. William Synan, D.D.S., was recently recognized with the 2019 Daniel M. Laskin Award for Outstanding Predoctoral Educator in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Thomas Indresano, AAOMS president, presented the award to Dr. Synan. (shown on the right).

Honorees are recognized because they exemplify the ideals of an educator, are respected by both peers and students, work to improve the relationship between dental students and oral and maxillofacial surgery residency programs, and are actively involved in efforts to improve undergraduate education.

Dr. Synan with Oral surgery faculty.jpegAs an oral and maxillofacial surgeon himself, Dr. Synan is devoted to the well-being of his students, the program at Iowa, and his profession. In addition to his ongoing work in oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMS), Dr. Synan has served as the predoctoral director educating hundreds of dental students at the College of Dentistry for 25 years. Dr. Synan also directs the resident’s educational and clinical experiences while they rotate from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to the College of Dentistry.

Dr. Synan has developed a unique “block system” where students focus solely on oral surgery for eight weeks during dental students' third year of dental training.

During this block, Dr. Synan has assembled and directs a first-class team of oral surgeons who provide an intensive exposure to dentoalveolar surgery, single drug sedations and outstanding didactic lectures. He personally developed the “check clinic” where the students present each and every scheduled surgery for that day, discussing the medical history and surgical implications including sterile technique, surgical technique and potential complications. Many of the oral surgeons on the "block" team joined Dr. Synan when he was presented with the award, as seen in the photo to the left.

According to Dr. Kirk Fridrich, DEO of the Department of OMS, “It is truly incredible to see how far he is able to “bring them along surgically” during this eight-week block rotation.”

Dr. Synan’s efforts have certainly born fruit. Thirty-two of Dr. Synan’s predoctoral students have gone on to match and complete their oral surgery residency at the University of Iowa; another fifty-eight have gone on to match and complete oral surgery residency at other programs in the United States for a total of 90 oral surgeons.

Dr. Synan has also served as a research mentor to countless students, which has resulted in numerous national presentations, awards, and scholarly contributions to the literature. He also served on eight Master's thesis committees for UI graduate OMS residents.

Dr. Synan with son, Nick, and wife, AnnDr. Synan's efforts have long been recognized by the UI College of Dentistry. He was the recipient of the prestigious James H. and Hermine E. McLeran Faculty Award for outstanding teaching in 2007. UI dentals students have also honored Dr. Synan with the Instructor of the Year award and the Instructor of All Four Years award. He has received the University of Iowa College of Dentistry Collegiate Teaching Award. Furthermore, in September of 2018, Dr. Synan was honored by the Iowa Dental Alumni Association as the Dental Educator of the Year.

The College of Dentistry is proud that the wider profession is now recognizing Dr. Synan’s educational impact on OMS at the University of Iowa and the profession as a whole. The photo on the right shows Dr. Synan with his son, Nick, and his wife, Ann. 

Photos with the the OMS College of Dentistry and Hospital Dentistry staff are below.

Dr. Synan with Staff







Dr. Synan with Staff









Herky at the STEM Festival

Pediatric Dentistry Student Group Participates in Recent STEM Festival

On October 10, the pediatric dentistry student group interacted with many children and their parents at the Johnson County STEM festival at the Kirkwood Regional Center in Coralville. The dental exhibit featured an interactive beverage display where participants arranged nine beverages in ascending order of sugar content. The participants were also challenged to match amounts of sugar to each of the nine beverages. Over 1,100 people attended the STEM event and many who visited the dental exhibit commented how much they enjoyed it. Even Herky the Hawk and Sammy the Eagle (Kirkwood’s mascot) stopped by to play the beverage game! The dental students who volunteered at the event included Ben Olson, McKenna Woodward, Alex Hsieh, and Muna Hakim. Pre-dental student helpers included Jessica Grundmeyer, Michael Pyevich, Loren Jackson and Annabelle Dibert. The group’s faculty advisor, Cathy Skotowski, also helped with the event. Photos from the event are posted below.






































































































Houjun Cao

NIH Awards Dr. Huojun Cao a 2-year grant for over $300K

The National Institutes of Health awarded Dr. Huojun Cao, assistant professor in the Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research and the Department of Endodontics, a 2-year grant for his project, “Computational Method for Identification of Master Transcription Factors in Craniofacial Tissues.”

The long-term goal of Dr. Cao’s research is to identify master transcription factors that are responsible for craniofacial development. A master transcription factor is a gene that regulates other transcription factors and associated genes. Thus, a change in the master transcription factor can significantly alter the entire cell or tissue type, and it, therefore, shows great promise for regenerative medicine.

Nevertheless, it is cumbersome, costly, and difficult to identify master transcription factors using experimental methods. Dr. Cao’s team has developed the prediction tool MTFinder to provide a computational method for identifying these master transcription factors. MTFinder incorporates both transciptome and epigenome data within a Bayesian statistical model so that the tool can identify master transcription factors in an inexpensive, efficient, and comprehensive manner. In preliminary studies, the tool successfully ranked all known master transcription factors in mouse embryonic stem cells and liver hepatocytes. Dr. Cao is now expanding this work to systemically identify master transcription factors that control craniofacial development.

He has two aims in the project:

1. Evaluate and determine the optimal configuration of MTFinder in various cell/tissue-types.

2.  Identify MTFs for craniofacial tissues using MTFinder with FaceBase’s transcriptome and epigenome data.

The hope is that this line of work can properly identify master transcription factors for cell lineage reprogramming and thereby improve the prospect of regenerative medicine, disease modeling, and drug screenings among others.

Dr. Cao’s team includes Dr. Brad Amendt, Dr. Xian Jin Xie, and Dr. Shankar Rengasamy Venugopalan.


Steve Levy

NIDCR Awards Dr. Steve Levy Two-Year Grant Totaling Over $650K

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) has funded a new contract with Dr. Steven Levy (Wright-Bush-Shreves Endowed Professor of Research, Department of Preventive and Community, College of Dentistry, and Professor, Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health) and colleagues at the University of Iowa. The Iowa Fluoride Study (IFS) and Iowa Bone Development Study (IBDS) have been funded by NIDCR research grants since 1991 and 1998, respectively, and have studied a cohort of participants from birth to age 24+.

The new award is for the period of September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2021 for a total of $657,649. The focus will be on data management and sharing of the 28 years of data collected previously in the Iowa Fluoride Study and Iowa Bone Development Study. This includes detailed questionnaire data starting from birth on fluoride exposures, tooth brushing, dietary patterns, and other factors; physical activity questionnaires and assessments with motion sensors; dental examination results for dental fluorosis, dental caries, malocclusion and other dental conditions; bone densitometry assessments; genetics data; and other study information. All study information will have individual identifiers removed and then will be prepared for sharing with other researchers in the United States and around the world. Then these data will be placed into a special repository supported by the National Institutes of Health and interested researchers will apply to have access to the data.

Other faculty directly involved with the new award are Drs. John Warren and Teresa Marshall (Professors, Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry), Dr. Kathy Janz (Professor Emeritus, Departments of Health and Human Physiology and Epidemiology), and Dr. Punam Saha (Professor, Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Radiology). Also assisting will be Dr. Xian Jin Xie (Professor, Division of Biostatistics and Computational Biology/Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research/Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry) and Dr. Veeratrishul Allareddy (Professor, Department of Oral Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine). Other faculty involved in the previous collection and ongoing interpretation and reporting of all the IFS/IBDS data are: Dr. Justine Kolker (Department of Operative Dentistry), Drs. Karin Weber-Gasparoni and Michael Kanellis (Department or Pediatric Dentistry), Dr. Joseph Cavanaugh (Department of Biostatistics), Drs. James Torner, Trudy Burns, and Linda Snetselaar (Department of Epidemiology), and Dr. Julie Eichenberger-Gilmore (Iowa City Veteran Affairs Medical Center).


Xi Chen

Dr. Xi Chen Receives Two-Year $426K Grant From NIH

The National Institute of Nursing Research awarded Dr. Xi Chen, associate professor in preventive and community dentistry, a two-year R21 grant totaling over $426K for his project “Functionally-tailored Oral Care Intervention for Community-dwelling Older Adults with Dementia and Their Caregivers.”

Dr. Chen’s research project focuses on the oral health of older adults who have dementia and yet live in the community, rather than in a nursing home. These persons tend to have poor oral hygiene and a high risk of dental decay and other oral diseases, and their oral health declines can significantly diminish their overall health and well-being.

Dr. Chen said, “As a result of cognitive impairment, persons with dementia gradually lose their ability to perform oral self-care. They have to rely on caregivers for mouth care. However, the help from family caregivers is often limited because caregivers often don’t know how to assist their loved one, especially those with resistant behaviors. As a result, oral health is often poor in persons with dementia living in community, which can not only cause pain, infection and other systemic issues, but also make the relationship tense between caregivers and care recipients. We therefore want to develop a program to help these patients and their family caregivers.”

Dr. Chen’s prior research has investigated how oral-health interventions can improve overall health of older adults with dementia. With the support of his NIH K23 Career Development Award, Dr. Chen developed  “The Dental Activities Test”, which enables dental professionals to objectively evaluates the deterioration of oral self-care resulting from cognitive impairment. Together with his colleagues, Dr. Chen also developed the “Mouth Care Without A Battle”, which has become a standard oral hygiene protocol for residents of nursing homes in many states.

Based on his previous work, Dr. Chen’s current project will create an individualized oral hygiene intervention for community-dwelling persons with dementia and their caregivers, in order to improve oral health in persons with dementia, reduce oral care burden in family caregivers, and improve care partner relationships. The project has two specific aims:

1. Develop a staged and modifiable dyadic oral care intervention to provide functionally-tailored oral care rehabilitation for community-dwelling persons with dementia and need-based skills training their family caregivers.

2. Evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of the intervention in home settings through a randomized, controlled trial with 40 pairs of persons with dementia and their primary caregivers, including immediate post-intervention and 3-month follow-up.

Dr. Chen’s research team includes Dr. Xian Jin Xie from College of Dentistry, Dr. Sato Ashida from College of Public Health and Dr. Kristine Williams from the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Third-grade classroom

SNDA Students Volunteer at Kirkwood Elementary School

Kirkwood StudentAs a part of the Student National Dental Association’s (SNDA) national initiative to promote diversity within dentistry and combat oral health disparities, SNDA members presented a career development and oral hygiene instruction presentation for third-grade students at Kirkwood Elementary School on Thursday, September 12.

Cathy Skotowski, clinical associate professor in pediatric dentistry, provided toothbrushes to give to the classes, a brushing calendar, and magnetic tooth whiteboard. In the future, SNDA students will be purchasing the toothbrushes from the pharmacy as they expand into other grades, and they will likely look into getting our own tooth whiteboard, since it very useful for instruction. 

SNDA StudentsThe SNDA Members who participated in the event include Chichi Adeleke, Kareem Gayar, Makinzee Thomas, Pia Alonso, and Nathan McMillon.






OKU Awardees

Students and Faculty Honored at OKU May Banquet

The Mu Chapter of Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU), the national dental honor society, with the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics, held their Annual Convocation Banquet to honor newly chosen members for the year 2019 on Thursday, June 6, 2019, at the Radisson Hotel in Coralville, Iowa.

The banquet began with a reception. The William S. Kramer Award of Excellence was presented to third-year dental student Adam Woroniecki by Professor Marsha Cunningham-Ford, professor with the department of preventive and community dentistry at the UI College of Dentistry and past president of the Mu OKU Chapter. The William S. Kramer Award of Excellence is presented annually to a third-year dental student on the basis of scholarship, character and potential promise for future advancement of the profession of dentistry, and service to humanity. The award honors Dr. William Kramer, pediatric dentist and former president of the Supreme Chapter of OKU.

Dr. Mike Murrell, president of the Mu OKU Chapter, professor in the department of family dentistry, presented the Past President Award to Professor Marsha Cunningham-Ford.

After the banquet an induction ceremony was held to honor the new honorary, faculty and alumni members. Alumni, honorary and faculty members were presented the traditional OKU key and certificates of membership. OKU Mu Chapter President Dr. Mike Murrell presented the new graduating alumni members for induction.

Award RecipientsFourth-year dental students inducted into OKU were Ben Alpen, Brooke Brown, Kelsey Dierikx, Blake Louscher, Grant McCaulley, Amanda Piche, Dillon Schloerb, Kyndra Weber, and Andrew Welling.

The Mu Chapter also inducted a faculty member, Dr. Chris Barwacz, department of family dentistry, and honorary member, Dr. Jeff Banas, department of pediatric dentistry.     

About Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU):

OKU was founded in 1914 and was established to promote and recognize scholarship and character among students of dentistry. OKU’s goals include the recognition of individuals who distinguish themselves in the pursuit of excellence. Members are selected from among the highest ranking students in the senior class. Faculty members who have dental degrees may also be elected to membership and are recognized that they have contributed to the art, science, or literature of dentistry. Non-dentist faculty members may also be elected if they have made a substantial contribution to the art, science or literature of dentistry. Election to OKU is one of the highest honors in the dental profession.

Individual Photos

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Students and President Harreld at the Block Party

Block Party 2019!

Ann Synan and a group of dental students and pre-dental students passed out toothbrushes at the 2019 Block Party. Dr. Benny Hawkins, emeritus faculty member in the Department of Periodontics, stopped by the table. President Bruce Harreld and Mary Harreld also stopped by the table for a photo. 

Passing out toothbrushes to students 







Block party crowd 







Second-year dental student volunteers








Dr. Benny Hawkins and Ann Synan








President Harreld and student volunteers








Mary Harreld and Ann Synan








Pre-dental student with freshmen








Pre-dental student volunteers









Advanced Standing Students with their white coats
Emily Lanzel

The Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation Awards Dr. Emily Lanzel $25K Grant

Sjögren's syndrome is an immune system disorder that typically presents with two symptoms—dry eyes and a dry mouth. Although anyone can develop the disorder, most people aren’t diagnosed until later in life and the diagnostic process relies primarily on signs found in various tests (e.g., blood, eye, biopsy) that are used to rule out other medical explanations of the symptoms. The diagnosis is even more complicated for children, since when children have the syndrome, they often don’t present with dry eyes and a dry mouth.

Dr. Emily Lanzel’s project ““Salivary biomarkers for diagnosis of childhood Sjögren syndrome” addresses this difficulty by identifying biomarkers of the disorder so that clinicians will have a much more reliable method for detecting Sjögren's syndrome in children. Although prior studies have observed biomarkers in the saliva of individuals with adult Sjögren's syndrome, Dr. Lanzel and her team will expand this work by finding the biomarkers present in the saliva of children with Sjögren’s syndrome. They expect that they will be able to develop a specific biomarker profile for children with Sjögren’s syndrome so that diagnosis can be done earlier and more precisely. An early diagnosis would give clinicians and researchers more time for testing early intervention strategies that could help identify effective therapies for the disorder. 

Dr. Lanzel’s research team includes Dr. Paula Gomez Hernandez (resident in Pediatric Dentistry), Dr. Scott Lieberman (College of Medicine), and Dr. Kim Brogden (director of the Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research)


Kyungsup Shin

Dr. Kyungsup Shin Receives $20K Grant from the American Association of Orthodontists Foundation

The American Association of Orthodontists Foundation (AAOF) awarded Dr. Kyungsup Shin (Orthodontics) a $20K grant for his project “Fracture Energy Assessment Using CBCT: a pilot study for predicting risk of Post-Traumatic Craniofacial deformities.” Dr. Shin’s Co-Investigators are Dr. Donald Anderson (College of Medicine), Dr. Veeratrishul Allareddy (OPRM), and Dr. Xian Jin Xie (Biostatistics and Computational Biology).

Temporomandibular disorders are when injury or inflammation of the temporomandibular joint (the joint at the back of the jaw) causes pain in the area. About 60–70% of the general population are afflicted with the disorder, and it is particularly challenging to effectively treat without early diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Shin’s project is investigating whether cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) can be used to determine how likely it is for disorders to develop as a result of a traumatic event. Post-traumatic osteoarthritis is one of the most challenging degenerative joint disorders, and the degree of trauma plays an important role in the development of the disorder.

Thus, Dr. Shin is using CBCT to determine the degree of trauma—that is, the objective fracture energy, and how that energy is distributed over different anatomical regions of the mandible. The method has been used previously in determining the fracture energy in long-bone (i.e., leg) fractures, and Dr. Shin believes it may be useful for trauma to the jaw as well.

He has two primary aims in this pilot study:

1. Validate the objective fracture energy scores computed from CBCT data.

2. Determine the association between fracture energy and anatomical regions of the mandible.

The ultimate aim is to develop a diagnostic tool for identifying the risk of developing a temporomandibular disorder, which can substantially improve early diagnosis and treatment.

“This study was initiated with dental student summer research and I acknowledge the hard work of Ms. Isabella Jasek and Mr. Ryan Mooneyham. I also thank the Student Research Program, including Dr. Teresa Marshall, Dr. Justine Kolker and Dr. Satheesh Elangovan for their support. With my co-investigators, I will work for successful completion of this study so that this can be another preliminary work for further scientific investigation.”  

Dr. Shin and the Department of Orthodontics also received another subcontract grant from the University of Alabama at Birmingham to continue studying “Anterior Openbite Malocclusions in Adults: Recommendations, Treatment, and Stability.”


Cathy Skotowski

Cathy Skotowski Receives the 2019 Collegiate Teaching Award

At the All-College Conference on Monday, August 19, Cathy Skotowski was awarded the 2019 Collegiate Teaching Award. The award is given to a faculty member who exhibits an “outstanding contribution to dental students’, graduate students’ or residents’ intellectual and professional development.”

Ms. Skotowski has taught in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry since 1989, and been a fulltime faculty member since 2003. She teaches a variety of courses in pediatric and preventive dentistry, and on the use of fluoride.

“I absolutely LOVE the position I have as Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry!  It is very important to me to be able to interact and teach dental students,” Ms. Skotowski said.  “Often my role involves helping students take all of the preventive dentistry knowledge and skills they have acquired and apply it to children, adolescents and their parents,” she added.

Her teaching is so effective that her students have even named a particularly location on molars “the Skotowski spot.” This spot is easy to miss, but still needs to be cleaned. It really means a great deal to her when she sees the success of her students making a difference for their patients.

Ms. Skotowski’s educational impact also extend well beyond the classroom and our student clinics. She has been involved in the creation and authoring of an educational flip chart, offered both in English and in Spanish, that is used to educate parents of young children on good oral health habits. This is one way that Ms. Skotowski helps “dental students find ways to connect to their patients and to personalize their preventive messages.”

She is also the faculty mentor of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Student Organization, and thus, she helps facilitate and organize numerous community and outreach events where children and families receive oral health education, dental screenings, and fluoride applications. This work is a passion of Ms. Skotowski.

“I am always amazed at the interest and enthusiasm dental students have in volunteering at community events, especially when most are on weekends and evenings,” Ms. Skotowski said.  “And I firmly believe, and have seen over the years, those dental students who participate in these events as students are more likely to be involved in their communities long after they leave the dental school,” she added.

Dr. Karin Weber-Gasparoni, professor and chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, said of Ms. Skotowski, “I truly believe that Cathy’s significant contribution to the education of our students is so very unique because she is not only a role model when it comes to reaching out to those in the community who are in higher need, but she works very hard to provide students with opportunities to experience the delivery of educational and preventive dental care outside the walls of a dental office.”

Liu Hong

Dr. Liu Hong Awarded $45K Grant

Synthetic bone-graft substitutes are considered a promising alternative approach to current standard treatments for oral and craniofacial bone defects. MicroRNAs (miRs) are small, non-coding RNAs that have emerged as important transcriptional regulators in both physiologic and pathophysiological conditions. The findings from preliminary research demonstrate that great potential exists to develop novel therapeutics for bone regeneration of craniofacial and periodontal bone defects by targeting miRs, and miR-200a specifically.

The NaturemiRI, LLC R&D team has developed the Plasmid-based microRNA inhibitor system (PMIS), a non-toxic, nucleic acid-based method of microRNA inhibition. 

This particular research project is part of an overall series of projects intended to validate and commercialize a PMIS-infused collagen sponge for use in clinical dentistry. Specifically, Dr. Hong’s team expects to show that a PMIS construct inhibiting miR-200a (PMIS-miR-200a) promotes high-quality bone growth in the alveolar ridge of dental patients, thereby offering a new tool in the treatment of craniofacial defects and tooth extractions performed in anticipation of dental implantation.

The project has three primary aims:

  1. To optimize the in vitro transfection efficiency and osteo-inductive capacity of PMIS-miR-200a from collagen sponges.
  2. To determine in vivo osteoinductive capacity of PMIS-miR-200a adsorbed in collagen sponges.
  3. To determine the toxicity risk of PMIS-miR-200a in vitro and in vivo.
Scavenger Hunt

This Week in Photos

The beginning of a new semester is always full of new faces and exciting times. 

IMG_0604.jpg Our new first-year dental student came through wind and rain for their first day at the college.







IMG_2392.jpg Dental student groups had a scavenger hunt when the weather was a little nicer!







IMG_0532.jpg Dean Johnsen recognized Associate Dean Lily Garcia for her service to the college on the occasion of her accepting a new position as the dean of the School of Dental Medicine at UNLV. Iowa has a long history of faculty and administration moving on to become the deans of other dental colleges. Dr. Garcia continues that important legacy! Congratulations, Dr. Garcia. 






IMG_20190820_173208.jpg Dr. Eric Van Otterloo is a new faculty member in the Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research and the Department of Periodontics. Dean Johnsen and Dr. Van Otterloo saw President Bruce Harreld at the new faculty reception this week.







Transgender.jpg  At the All-College Conference, Dr. Barry Schreier gave an illuminating talk on how to treat transgender patients with dignity and respect.











Marsha-Cunningham-Ford.jpg Ms. Marsha Cunningham-Ford was recognized at the All-College Conference for her 40 years of service.













IMG_2401.jpg More scavenger hunt fun!









IMG_2402.jpg And more scavenger hunt fun!










Aline Petrin

NIH Awards Dr. Aline Petrin Grant Totaling Almost $700K

Dr. Aline Petrin (Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research) has been awarded a 5-year career-development NIH K01 grant totaling almost $700,000 for her project, “A Twin Approach for Genome-Wide Differential DNA Methylation in Orofacial Clefting.” Dr. Petrin developed the proposal as a post-doctoral researcher with support from the college’s R90/T90 training grant.

Dr. Petrin’s project draws on a powerful approach to the study of epigenetics and disease using discordant monozygotic twins to detect key epigenetics factors that play a causal role in orofacial clefts. The twin approach allows researchers to control for confounding factors, including genetic background, environmental exposure, age, gender, and other such effects, and thereby uncover epigenetic risk factors that are invisible to conventional genome-wide association studies and sequencing methods. Dr. Petrin and her mentors have successfully applied this twin approach to oral facial clefts (OFCs), and they have discovered the first causal gene for Van der Woude syndrome, the most common syndromic form of OFCs.

Dr. Petrin’s project expands on this work. She hypothesizes that aberrant DNA methylation plays an important role in the etiology of OFCs and she, with the support of her mentors, gathered the largest (to date) set of monozygotic twins in which one has a nonsyndromic OFC and the other does not to characterize genome-wide differentially methylated regions that can impact the risk for orofacial clefts. Her two primary research aims are to:

  • determine genome-wide methylation patterns in DNA samples from monozygotic twins discordant for OFCs
  • explore the genetic-epigenetic interactions involved in the etiology of OFCs.

Dr. Petrin expressed her gratitude for the grant and the support she has received from the college: “I am truly honored to receive this award and thankful for the support I have received from the Department of Orthodontics, the Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research, and the College of Dentistry. This award is a wonderful opportunity to leverage my knowledge of craniofacial genetics into the proposed epigenetic studies. I feel incredibly lucky for having a team of outstanding researchers and clinicians involved in the project and I will take this opportunity to further develop my line of research and skills as a mentor and educator.”

Servolution Team

Several College of Dentistry Employees Participate in Servolution

Tameka.JPGA team from the College of Dentistry consisting of Sofia Iribarren (Pediatric Dentistry), Kelly Binding (Pediatric Dentistry), Tameka Brown (General Practice Residency), Katrina Goebel (Pediatric Dentistry), and Kelby Scandrett (Periodontics) joined Melissa Ringnalda from Johnson County Public Health to provide 105 pediatric dental screenings in 3 hours.

Katrina Servolution.JPGServolution is an program started by Life Church in Coralville that pools together resources from all over the community for several big events, including a large before-school event.  Servolution had over 2,000 people attend and served over 800 children. The children were provided with new back packs, new shoes, school supplies, haircuts, a dental screening, a vision screening, bicycle helmets, groceries from the food pantry, and opportunities to interact with the local fire, police, and ambulance services. 




Jakob Freeman

The College of Dentistry Welcomes Two New Student Greeters

Jakob Freeman is going into his senior year at the University of Iowa. He is from a small town in the southwest corner of Iowa called Avoca. The town has about 1500 people in it, and he graduated high school with around 60 people in his class. He studies business and plans to graduate in May. He enjoys traveling and camping, sports, and is a huge movie and TV buff. He looks forward to meeting new people and working at the College of Dentistry!

Zach LettermanZach Leatherman is a new Student Greeter at the College of Dentistry. He is from Rock Island, Illinois.  He is going into his senior year at the University of Iowa. He studies Business Analytics and is minoring in Spanish. He also studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain last semester and took classes while seeing different parts of Europe on the weekends. Although he had fun studying there, he is glad to be back in Iowa City. Some of his hobbies include skiing, listening to music, and his favorite hobby is following Iowa Football. He loves summer but is excited for the season to start!

Kecia Leary

Delta Dental Awards Dr. Leary and Pediatric Dentistry Two Grants

Delta Dental has awarded two grants, totaling over $17,000 to the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Dr. Kecia Leary.

The first, titled "University of Iowa College of Dentistry’s 2019 Students’ Oral Health Projects," in the amount of $13,776 is for several student groups, including the local AADR, the Hispanic Dental Association, the Student National Dental Association, the Pediatric Dentistry Club, and the Dental Public Health Club. The funds will be used to support student activities, such as providing reimbursement to the groups' invited speakers and support for their outreach activities.

The second, titled "Pediatric Dental Resident Outreach Project," in the amount of $3,500 is for pediatric dental outreach efforts in Forest City and Waukon. The funds will be used to help offset the expense of new equipment, a Nomad, that will be used for these outreach events. The equipment will allow pediatric residents to provide care in a more efficient manner to individuals in those communities. The remainder of the cost of the equipment is coming from the Pediatric Dentistry Excellence Fund. 


Walton Endodontic Clinic

The Walton Endodontic Clinic Dedication

Walton clinic DedicationThe Department of Endodontics hosted the Walton Endodontic Clinic Dedication on Monday, July 29, in honor of Dr. Richard Walton’s career and accomplishments. During the dedication, the plaque was unveiled where it hangs next to the door of the Walton Endodontic Clinic in the shared waiting room. Dean David Johnsen, Dr. Fabricio Teixeira and Dr. Walton spoke at this celebration. 

In his comments during the dedication, Dr. Teixeira said, “Today is a special day for our department, the college and endodontics.  Dr. Walton served as a chair for 14 years and took the department to a different level.  His passion for teaching remains evident. He is being recognized nationally and internationally as one of the major contributors to our specialty. The AAE has recognized his legacy with two of the most prestigious awards in endodontics the I.B. Bender Lifetime Educator Award and Lois I. Grossman Award.  It is a great honor to name our clinic as Walton Endodontic Clinic. Thank you to everyone that made this day possible. Congratulations, Dr. Walton.” 




Shaoping Zhang

Dr. Shaoping Zhang Receives NIH Grant

Dr. Shaoping Zhang (Periodontics) was awarded a three-year National Institutes of Health grant totaling almost $750,000. The project is part of Dr. Zhang’s ongoing work to better understand host-pathogen interactions at the mucosal surface, and this type of grant is intended to help independent investigators develop as a researcher. The hope is that this research will lead to the development of novel preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic means to improve oral health and address periodontal disease.

Dr. Zhang’s aims for the project are to:

1. Determine the role of the IL-17/TRAF3IP2 pathway-modulated local gingival immune response with a focus on IL-22 activity

2. Investigate the role of the IL-17/TRAF3IP2 pathway in mucosal physical barrier function and mechanism of IL-17-regulated tight junction structure.

3. Determine the TRAF3IP2 variant effect on immune response as reflected by the transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of chemokine synthesis and barrier function in genomically engineered, human gingival epithelial cells.


The College of Dentistry at the IADR in Vancouver!

In June, several faculty, staff, and students attended the IADR/AADR Annual Meeting in Vancouver. It was an eventful conference: the college had 54 presentations, the second-most among U.S. Dental Colleges. Dr. Isabelle Denry received the 2019 Wilmer Souder Award—an IADR Distinguished Scientist Award, and Dr. David Drake was named to the 2019 Class of AADR Fellows.  Graduate Student Yan Sweat won first prize in the Craniofacial Biology Group for her research, and the Iowa’s Student Research Group was honored at the National Student Research Group’s meeting and awards ceremony for having the greatest percentage of student members for 2018-2019. 






























































































Johnson County Fair

The College of Dentistry at the Johnson County Fair!

On July 22, the College of Dentistry had a booth at the Johnson County Fair. Volunteers answered questions, passed out free toothbrushes, and used a display showing the sugar content of various popular beverages to educate the public. 















































St. Ambrose University 2019 Health Careers Adventure Camp

St. Ambrose University 2019 Health Careers Adventure Camp Visit to the College of Dentistry

On July 17, 27 middle school students visited the College of Dentistry (COD) as part of the St. Ambrose 2019 Health Careers Adventure Camp. During the weeklong camp, participants were introduced to a variety of health professions. Campers experienced hands-on learning sessions provided by faculty, students, and clinicians. On the COD visit, the students learned about various dental careers, such as being a dentist, a dental hygienist, a dental assistant, and a dental lab technician.  Students had the opportunity to take impressions of dental models and also participated in a team-based dental trivia contest. The event was coordinated by Cathy Skotowski (Pediatric Dentistry) in cooperation with the Office of Student Affairs. Four dental students also assisted with the event: Kane Louscher (D2), Emily Starman (D2), Kelsey Wenger (D2), and Liz Skotowski (D3).

Group.jpg Kelsey Wenger, Liz Skotowski, Kane Louscher, and Emily Starman helping at the St. Ambrose Health Careers Event.









Starman.jpg Emily Starman helping with impressions.










Wenger and Louscher.jpg Kelsey Wenger and Kane Louscher helping with impressions.







Skotowski.jpg Liz Skotowski helping with impressions.














Michelle Krupp with other panelists

The College of Dentistry Makes a Difference for Dental Education Around the World

In April, Dr. Lily Garcia, associate dean for education, organized and participated in the ADEA International Women’s Leadership Conference in Brescia, Italy.

M.Krupp with other presenters - Brescia April 2019.jpgMichelle Krupp, Director of Education Development, presented “Facilitating Change in Curriculum (Education)” in a panel discussion on learning to navigate within your own institution.She is shown with her fellow panelists in the image to the right.

C.Bergeron-K.Kell-LTG Brescia April2019.jpgTwo other prominent Iowa alumni, Dr. Cathia Bergeron (Dean, Université Laval Faculté de Médecine Dentaire) and Dr. Kathy Kell (President, FDI World Dental Federation) also presented at the conference. They are shown in the image to the left with Dr. Garcia.

The website for the conference, in addition to presenting the qualifications and accomplishments of each of these women, also tells “Her Story”—short vignettes of how each balances her professional and personal life. 

The women of Iowa continue to make a difference all around the world. The college is proud of all their accomplishments.





Health Science Visit Day

High School Students from Iowa and Illinois Participate in Pre-Dentistry Event

On June 22, Dr. Natalia Restrepo-Kennedy, in partnership with Rachael Kowbel and the Office of Student Affairs, hosted and facilitated a pre-dentistry session at the annual University of Iowa Health Science Visit Day.  Fifteen participants from across Iowa and Illinois expressed interest in dentistry and visited the Dental Science Building to engage in an activity using composite material. All the participants were rising high school seniors.  After hearing an informative presentation by Dr. Restrepo-Kennedy, the group was fortunate to have current dental students guide and talk with them.  The dental students were Kane Louscher, Brady Ellis, Josh Chamberlain, Charlie Rupp, and Chichi Adeleke. 

















































Chapter Advisors

The Iowa Chapter of Delta Sigma Delta International Dental Fraternity Hosts the Midwest Annual Regional Meeting

Students Attending.JPGThe Iowa Chapter of Delta Sigma Delta International Dental Fraternity hosted the Midwest Annual Regional Meeting (ARM) the weekend of April 12 and 13 in Iowa City.  Students and advisors from all 5 dental schools in the region were in attendance.  Schools represented were University of Minnesota, A.T. Still Kirksville/St. Louis, University of Missouri – Kansas City, University of Colorado and the University of Iowa.  Over 60 students were present for the Saturday morning program and afternoon luncheon and reception.

The ARM’s are annual regional meetings put on by the student members for the student members from schools in their region.  Third-year dental student Erin Leppek, the Iowa Chapter President, did a fantastic job of planning and organizing the weekend.  There is a formal CE presentation, discussion and presentation from each chapter, a luncheon and Loving Cup Ceremony.  Students were given a tour of the College of Dentistry.  The meeting concluded with a social get-together Saturday night. 

CE Presntation.JPGThe CE presenters were Dr. Hellstein (OPRM) and Dr. Ahmed Mahrous (Prosthodontics).  Dr. Hellstein presented a collection of unusual oral pathology cases, including the salad lizard he personally encountered.  Dr. Mahrous presented on new methods of teaching prosthodontics to millennial students.  Both were very interesting and well received.  And they both had much discussion later in the day at the social events.  The students from the other chapters were impressed with the facilities and our interesting faculty.  You could say that they were jealous of what Iowa has.

Loving cup Ceremony.JPGThe luncheon was held at the Clinton Street Social Club in downtown Iowa City.  At the conclusion of the luncheon, the Loving Cup Ceremony was performed with everyone participating.  At the conclusion, third-year dental student Logan Sardzinski and fourth-year dental student Mark Polle led the group in the Delta Sigma Delta fraternity song.





First-year dental students

First-Year Dental Students Marshalling Support for Everyone for Veterans

E4V Letters2.jpgA group of five first-year dental students (Kelsey Edwards,  Kane Louscher, Emily Starman, David Strabala, and Melissa Williams) gathered to sign over 80 letters to dentists across the state of Iowa to encourage their participation in Everyone For Veterans (E4V). E4V is a national program that connects low-income combat veterans to a nearby dentist for donated dental treatment. Many veterans do not qualify for dental care through the VA and cannot afford dental treatment, and while the College of Dentistry is an E4V participant, the D1 class is hopeful that other dental offices throughout Iowa will join in supporting this great cause. Their letter is included below:

I am a first-year dental student at The University of Iowa College of Dentistry. I am writing to tell you about the Class of 2022 project, which involves the collaboration between the college and a nation-wide organization that connects low-income combat veterans to much needed dental care. The program is called Everyone for Veterans (E4V). You may already know that most veterans do not receive dental benefits. As a future Iowa-practicing dentist, I would like to ask for your help to join the College of Dentistry in teaming up with E4V to honor veterans in your area. The application process for veterans and dental providers is simple. 

An eligible veteran (combat, low-income, and no insurance) completes a brief application on the E4V website and is contacted by E4V for a short phone interview to determine if he or she qualifies for the program. When a veteran is accepted into the program, E4V contacts the closest participating dentist and asks if they are willing to accept the veteran. As a participating dentist, you have the freedom to decide how many veterans you would like to treat during a given year and the services that you will provide, at no cost to the veteran. Accepting one E4V Veteran each year would make a significant difference for the people serviced.

While the college is an active E4V participant in serving qualified veterans from around the state, we are not able to accommodate all low-income combat veterans across Iowa, especially those who live a distance away, and we currently have a waiting list for the new school year. We are confident that the staff at E4V do a fantastic job of screening and emphasizing patient participation.

As a first-year dental student, I am just beginning patient interaction, but when talking with upperclassman, faculty, and staff, one thing is very clear: veterans make incredible patients. They are reliable and grateful for the services they receive. I hope that I will be fortunate enough to treat veterans as a pre-doctoral student, and I plan to help veterans in my own practice after graduation.  While providing dental care may seem like a small gesture, it is one that is needed and meaningful to our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country.  

Your consideration to participate in this national movement for dentists to better serve combat veterans is greatly appreciated, and means a lot to the Class of 2022.  Please visit the Everyone for Veterans website https://www.everyoneforveterans.org/for-dentists.html or call 425-584-8387 to find out more information about the work E4V has done and what it takes to become a participant.


AAPD Meeting

The Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Annual Session

The Department of Pediatric Dentistry was well represented at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) 72nd annual session in Chicago, IL May 22–26.  Dr. Karin Weber-Gasparoni participated in the Council of Clinical Affairs workshop which revises and updates the AAPD guidelines.  Drs. Kecia Leary and Matt Geneser attended Joint Academic day. Drs. Leary and Geneser and Cathy Skotowski also served as poster judges for the research poster competition    

The second-year pediatric dentistry residents—Drs. Casey Goetz, Bryce Evans, Kirstina Gratz, Nate Green and Liz Hechler—presented their research in poster presentations. Dental students also presented research posters, including second-year dental students Ryan Hemsley, Erin Kallsen, and Nate Peterson, third-year dental students Samantha Resnick, and Adam Woroniecki,  and fourth-year dental students Amanda Phan and Beth Pfohl. 

As per the department’s tradition, on Saturday evening of the AAPD meeting, they hosted an Iowa reception which was well attended by Iowa alumni traveling from all over the US.  The evening provided an opportunity for alumni, current residents and faculty to reminisce, share good times, and of course, sing a rendition of the Iowa Fight Song.  This year, however, the reception had a very special guest with HERKY stopping in to wish everyone HAWKEYE CHEER and pose for pictures.  A great time was had by all!

Herky with UI Faculty Kecia Leary and Matt Geneser with HERKY







Pediatric Dentistry Residents with HerkyPediatric dentistry second year residents Casey Goetz, Liz Hechler, Bryce Evans, Nate Green and Kirstina Gratz having some fun with HERKY





Casey Goetz Casey Goetz at his research poster







Kecia Leary, Bryce Evans and Matt Geneser Kecia Leary, Bryce Evans and Matt Geneser







Nate Green Nate Green with his research poster







Liz Hechler Liz Hechler with her research poster







Kecia Leary and Kirstina Gratz Kecia Leary and Kirstina Gratz at Kirstina’s poster







Amanda Phan and  Kecia Leary Amanda Phan and her research mentor Kecia Leary







Beth Pfohl Discussing Her Poster with another person Beth Pfohl at her research poster







Adam Woroniecki Adam Woroniecki with his research poster







Cathy Skotowski and Samantha Resnick Samantha Resnick (right) with her research mentor Cathy Skotowski







Nate Peterson and Kecia Leary Nate Peterson with his research mentor Kecia Leary







Erin Kallsen Erin Kallsen at her research poster






Ryan Hemsley and Kecia Leary Ryan Hemsley (right) at his poster presentation with Kecia Leary







Walker Clark Walker Clark, 2017 Iowa alumnus, was the winner of the AAPD Resident Poster Competition.  His research mentors were Drs. Matt Geneser, Arwa Owais and Mike Kanellis.  Dr. Clark is completing his pediatric dentistry residency training at the Intermountain Healthcare Program in Salt lake City, UT.






Karin Weber-Gasparoni, Brian Darling and Kecia Leary. Karin Weber-Gasparoni, Brian Darling and Kecia Leary.  Dr. Darling is a 2016 Iowa alumnus who received the Pugh Award for finishing in the top 3% of all people taking the Qualifying Examination for the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry






Amy Lesch, Kecia Leary and Cathy Skotowski Amy Lesch, Kecia Leary and Cathy Skotowski at the Iowa Alumni party







Student Awards

The Annual Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Awards Luncheon

On May 22, Dr. William Synan presented awards to third- and fourth-year dental students at a luncheon for the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

0522191225_resized.jpgPictured in photo from left to right: Dr. Tim Holton, Kelsey Strand Dierikx , Dr. William Synan, Dr. Maria Nord, Dr. Larry Lenth, Elaine Boosalis, Gabrielle Moen, Sarah McGowan, Mitchel Frerichs, Carl Reitz, Michael Dietzel.

The awards presented were:

American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Award – Kelsey Strand Dierikx​

American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Dental Implant Student Award – Elaine Boosalis

American Dental Society of Anesthesiology, Inc. Award – Sarah McGowan

American Academy of Orofacial Pain Award – Carl Reitz

Iowa Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Award – Kelsey Strand Dierikx

Kimberly S. Swanson Dental Scholarship Award – Kelsey Strand Dierikx and Gabrielle Moen

Col. Calvin Thompson Dental Scholarship Fund Award – Kelsey Strand

Mary Ann Vercande Scholarship Fund Award – Michael Dietzel

Ralph A. Fenton Memorial Award – Mitchell Frerichs

Efaw Family Award – Gabrielle Moen


Amy Rood

Amy Rood Selected as a College of Dentistry Ambassador

With her cheerful attitude and warm smile, Amy Rood has become a vital part of the Department of Prosthodontics and the College of Dentistry. In November 2017, she became the administrative specialist for Prosthodontics, and since that time she has consistently demonstrated her commitment to helping students, residents, faculty, and staff. Whether it’s ordering specialized prosthodontics devices or supporting the junior clinic, Amy has a reputation for getting the job done in a timely and efficient manner.  Several prosthodontics faculty members highlighted how she will go the extra mile—not only answering a question from a student or faculty member, but making sure that the underlying need is addressed and then following up at a later date to ensure that it was met to their satisfaction. It is no surprise, then, that so many of her prosthodontics colleagues identify Amy as “the embodiment of what an ambassador for our College should be.”

Teixeira Podcast

AAE to Launch Endo Voices Podcast Featuring Dr. Fabricio Teixeira​​

Dr. Fabricio Teixeira (DEO Endodontics) was invited to participate in an educational podcast centered on advancing the art and science of endodontics while promoting the highest standards of patient care. It’s called American Association of Endodontist’s Endo Voices and intends to update endodontists on the hottest topics and trends in the field. The first episodes were recorded live on the exhibit floor at AAE19 in Montréal and will be published for listening in July. 

Speed Mentoring Participants

 The Local Chapter of the American Association for Women Dentists Hosts Spring Speed Mentoring Event

Each spring, the AAWD hosts a Speed Mentoring Event to connect students and female faculty over food and good conversation. On May 8, Dr. Emily Lanzel, the AAWD's fearless leader, helped to coordinate the speed mentoring event at the Vue in downtown Iowa City. Ten faculty members spanning the departments of ORPM, Geriatrics, Preventive, Endodontics, Pediatrics, and Operative, and over 25 students with representation from all four classes attended the event. Fourth-year dental student Beth Pfohl said, "It was a wonderful event where women were able to connect from different aspects of the dental profession!" The AAWD looks forward to hosting the Speed Mentoring Event next spring and thanks all of those who made the event memorable this year! 

















































































Eric Van Otterloo

The College of Dentistry Welcomes Dr. Eric Van Otterloo

Dr. Eric Van Otterloo joins the Department of Periodontics as an Assistant Professor today, May 31. Dr. Van Otterloo earned a BA in Biology from Dordt College in 2005 and a PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology from the University of Iowa in 2012. Since 2012, he has been a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Colorado.

He is an expert in the area of gene networks linked to craniofacial and dental development. Dr. Van Otterloo will be primarily focused in basic science research, spending most of his time at the Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research. He will also have didactic teaching and student mentorship responsibilities.

Please welcome Dr. Van Otterloo to the College of Dentistry!

Spring Banquet

Operative Recognizes Outstanding Students

Operative Dentistry held their annual Spring Banquet on Thursday, May 16, at the Iowa River Power restaurant in Coralville.  A number of students were presented with department awards.

Dr.  Natalia Restrepo-Kennedy presented the Rudy Minger Award to Kobi Voshell (D1). This award is in memory of Dr. Rudy E. Minger for a deserving first year dental student. Minger Award 2019resized.jpg







AOD Award 2019.jpgDr. Justine Kolker presented the Academy of Operative Dentistry Award to Vanessa Wadden (D4).  It is awarded to a predoctoral student for excellence in operative dentistry. 







Williamson Award 2019resized.jpgDr. Justine Kolker presented the Walter Williamson Award to Logan Sardzinski (D3).  In memory of Dr. Williamson, it is awarded to a deserving dental student who has demonstrated excellence in restorative dentistry. 







Dr. Marcela Hernandez and Dr. Steven Means presented joint awards from Family Dentistry and Operative Dentistry.  The Caries Management Award was given to Amanda Piche and Brooke Brown.  This award is presented to deserving graduating D4 students who excel at providing high-quality comprehensive patient centered care management to complex high caries risk patients.

 Caries Management Brown 2019.jpg  Caries Management Piche.jpg







Carl Svare PreDoc 2019.jpgDr. Erica Teixeira presented the Carl Svare Predoctoral Research Award to Katelyn Stine (D3). This award recognizes a predoctoral student who has conducted outstanding research in the field of dental materials including biomaterials. 







Carl Svare PostDoc 2019.jpgDr. Rodrigo Maia presented the Carl Svare Postdoctoral Research Award to Arwa Alhakami (Third Year Operative Resident).  This award recognizes a postdoctoral student who has conducted outstanding research in the field of dental materials including biomaterials. 






Also receiving awards (not pictured):

Andrew Welling (D4) is the recipient of the Wallace W. Johnson Operative Dentistry Award, which is given in memory of Dr. Wallace Johnson to a student who has demonstrated outstanding character, professional education, and clinical excellence in operative dentistry.

Caroline LaRoy (D2) is the recipient of the Academy of Dental Materials Award.  It is awarded to a dental student who has demonstrated excellence in dental materials.

Also presented were awards for departmental years of service.Congratulations to Dr. Steve Armstrong and Lynn Fritz for 20 years in Operative Dentistry.Also honored were Dr. Chad Wagener for 15 years Dr. Erica Teixeira for 5 years in Operative.

Finally, our two graduating residents were recognized.Congratulations and best wishes to Dr. Maram Jaradat and Dr. Arwa Alhakami.


Ashley Daniels

Ashley Daniels Nominated for 2019 Hancher-Finkbine Medallion Award

On April 23, fourth-year dental student Ashley Daniels had the distinct honor to be recognized at the 102nd Anniversary Finkbine Dinner held in honor of student leaders at the University of Iowa. Ashley was one of the 2019 Hancher-Finkbine Medallion Award nominees invited to the ceremony. The criteria for nomination and selection include that individuals exemplify a distinguished level of learning, leadership and loyalty. Ashley has been involved in many student organizations, often with high leadership roles. For the past two years, Ashley has served as Co-President of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry University of Iowa Student Organization.  The organization’s faculty advisor, Cathy Skotowski, nominated Ashley for the award.


Miguel Romero-Bustillos

Dr. Miguel Romero-Bustillos Awarded Research Prize at the International Osteology Symposium

The International Osteology Symposium was held in Barcelona April 25-27. This conference occurs once every three yeras, and it is one of the most prestigious scientific meetings in the field of oral regeneration. The 2019 meeting was attended by over 3,000 people from all over the world. A total of 318 abstracts were submitted to the conference, 221 of which were invited to give poster presentations and 6 were selected to give oral presentations.

Dr. Romero-Bustillos, first year resident in the Advanced Education Program in Periodontics, was awarded first prize in Basic Research Competition for his presentation, "Understanding the development of dental supporting structures: Basis for the next regeneration." 

OPRM Student Award

The OPRM Department Holds Its Annual Awards Luncheon

On Thursday, May 9, OPRM presented their 2019 OPRM Student Awards during their annual luncheon. The awards are as follows:


20190509_121417.jpgAmerican Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology Award – This certificate is awarded to a senior student who has shown a high achievement in the undergraduate curriculum in oral and maxillofacial radiology.  Winner this year is Brooke E. Brown, and she is pictured with Dr. Allareddy.







20190509_121620.jpgAmerican Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Award – This certificate is awarded to a senior student who has shown outstanding interest, accomplishment, and promise in the field of Oral Pathology.  Winner this year is Elaine C. Boosalis, and she is pictured with Dr. Hellstein.







20190509_121910.jpgA.K. Fisher Oral Pathology Award – This certificate and monetary award is presented to the sophomore dental student who has demonstrated the highest level of scholarship in oral pathology.  Winner this year is Alexis Borgestad, and she is pictured with Dr. Handoo.







American Academy of Oral Medicine Award – This certificate is awarded to the senior student who shows the most promise in the field of oral medicine.  Winner this year is Kathleen Bohr, but she was not able to attend the luncheon.

Dr. Sophia Chen

The College of Dentistry Participates in the Iowa Dental Association Annual Session

The Iowa Dental Association (IDA) Annual Session was held in Coralville April 30-May 2. Several faculty members, such as Karen Baker and Dr. Trishul Allareddy, led sessions for the meeting and many more alumni also led sessions. Fourth-year dental students had the opportunity to network and learn more about IDA, and the college also had a booth at the meeting.The College of Dentistry greatly values the opportunity to help support the IDA and dentistry across the State of Iowa. Some pictures are below:

E610D5F5-2107-4E51-BDD7-4C0BE2731214.jpeg Left to right (all from Dental Clinic Administration) Pat Juffer-Flake, dental hygienist, Terri Pizinger, dental hygienist, Debbie Mazzocco, support services coordinator.







FE5E2C90-EA59-482C-8DD6-D9D6662F0941.jpeg Dr. Sophia Chen, UI College of Dentistry Class of 2018, Greenwald Dentistry, Keokuk, Iowa.









Anatomy and Cell Biology Award Recipients

Two College of Dentistry Students Earn Top Honors for Performance in Anatomy and Cell Biology

This past month, the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology recognized Nathan Peterson and William Burns at a reception and award presentation. Peterson received the award for Superior Achievement in Dental Gross Anatomy, and Burns received the Michael W. Finkelstein Award for Superior Achievement in Dental Histology.

IMG_1779.jpg From Left to Right: Associate Dean for Student Affair Dr. Sherry Timmons, Nathan Peterson, William Burns, Dr. Darren Hoffman.








Davenport West High Students

The College of Dentistry Hosts Students from Davenport West High School for a STEM Event

On Monday, April 22, the College of Dentistry hosted 18 students from Davenport West High School for a STEM event.  The students began with a discussion on the careers of dentistry and then participated in an activity where they applied disclosing solution to their own teeth to determine where plaque may have accumulated.  The event ended with a question/answer session with a panel of four dental students.  Coordinating the event, with cooperation from the Office of Student Affairs, was Cathy Skotowski, faculty member in Pediatric Dentistry.  The four students who assisted with the event were third-year dental student Shelby Perkins and second-year dental students Olivia Paulsrud, Jackie Hughes, and Katie Giles.

2019 Dav West High 1.PNG Cathy Skotowski presenting to a group of high school students from Davenport for a STEM event.






2019 Dav West High 6.PNG Panel portion of the STEM event.  Pictured from left to right, Katie Giles, Jackie Hughes, Olivia Paulsrud, Shelby Perkins and Cathy Skotowski.








Dr. Justman and Predental Students in Hawaii

Dr. Bruce Justman (Endodontics Emeriti) Visits With Predental Students in Hawaii

Dr. Bruce Justman (Endodontics Emeriti) presented to the University of Hawaii – Manoa Predental Student Association on March 30.  He presented information about the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and its curriculum so that students could more adequately plan their applications for dental school.  The students and particularly the advisors were very interested in the fact that students at Iowa begin their clinical experiences as early as the summer of their first year.  Dr. Justman and the students discussed the application process and personal statements, interviews and suggestions, Iowa’s curriculum, facilities, and research potential.  The students showed a great deal of interest in Iowa and had many good questions.  Of course, they did ask about the winters in Iowa.  A special thank you to Rachael Kowbel and Sarah Kelly for providing informational material and handouts to give the students and advisors.

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Kyungsup Shin

Two Orthodontics Faculty Receive Prestigious Faculty Fellowship Awards from the AAO

Shankar Rengasamy VenugopalanThe American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) awarded three prestigious $60,000 Faculty Fellowship Awards, and Dr. Kyungsup Shin and Dr. Shankar Rengasamy Venugopalan were honored to receive two of them after a national level review, based on their commitment to dental education and academics.

Given that there were only three awards given across North American, Dr. Tom Southard said that it was “amazing for two of Iowa’s faculty to receive them.”

These fellowships were instituted by the AAO in response to a 2015-2016 American Dental Education Association report that a large number of dental and dental specialty faculty are close to retirement. Thus, in 2018, the AAO 2018 House of Delegates reinstated the Faculty Fellowship Awards Program. Each award provides funding in an amount of $60,000 for two years.

Regarding the award, Dr. Shin said, “I am truly honored by this fellowship and attribute this to the support from our Department and the College of Dentistry. I will leverage this opportunity to become a dedicated educator and an excellent mentor in our specialty.”

Dr. Rengasamy Venugopalan added, “I am truly humbled to receive this fellowship award from the AAO. The biggest road block for pursuing an academic career in dentistry is the student loan burden. The AAO has done a commendable job in alleviating this burden by providing these fellowship awards. I am delighted and thrilled that two of these awards was given to our faculty. This award has given me a renewed hope to pursue bigger dreams in orthodontic education, research, and service.”

Many other specialty organizations have similar fellowship opportunities like this, and Dr. Shin and Dr. Rengasamy Venugopalan’s experiences show that many of our college’s faculty members would be competitive for those awards. Please reach out to Dr. Shin and Dr. Rengasamy Venugopalan if you are interested in applying for such an award within your specialty area.


Several Iowa Faculty Members and Students Present at the Annual Meeting of the Special Care Dentistry Association

In mid-April, several faculty members and students attended and presented at the annual meeting of the Special Care Dentistry Association in Atlanta. Photos of the participants are included below:

0412191459_resized_cropped.jpg Dr. Ron Ettinger, Dr. Jennifer Hartshorne, and Dr. Leo Marchini.






0412191605~2_resized.jpg Lex Cashmore giving her oral presentation at the SCDA meeting.







0413191506a_resized.jpg Dr. Leo Marchini and Ryan Rucker with Rucker's poster presentation.







0413191539a_resized.jpg Emma Mueldener presenting her research poster, which won 3rd place at the SCDA.







0413191542b_resized.jpg University of Iowa attendees at the SCDA Annual Meeting.







FB_IMG_1555436863912_resized.jpg  Dr. Leo Marchini taking his oath as a new board member and chair of the Council of Geriatric Dentistry.







Week of the Young Child

Pediatric Dentistry Student Group Participates in “Week of the Young Child” Event at the ICM

On Saturday, April 6, several dental students, pre-dental students, and members of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry participated in the “Week of the Young Child” event at the Iowa Children’s Museum. The students provided oral health education, dental screenings and fluoride varnish to 55 children.  The annual event allows young children and their families a chance to interact with several organizations and receive health, social and cultural services, and information.  Pediatric Dentistry residents Drs. Katrina Goebel, Paula Gomez, Kyle Nordeen, Liz Hechler and Pediatric Dentistry faculty member Cathy Skotowski supervised the event. Dental students helping with the event are pictured below.

2019 Week of the Young Child 1.jpg Dental students Adam Woroniecki, Ashley Daniels, Beck Schneider, Shelby Perkins, Drew Carlson, Riley Gray and faculty advisor Cathy Skotowski.








Residents Week of the Young Child 2.jpg Pediatric dentistry residents Drs. Katrina Goebel, Paula Gomez, Kyle Nordeen, and Liz Hechler.









Faculty Awards from Students

IASDA Presents Their Annual Faculty Awards

At the 2019 Frolics, dental students presented awards for faculty and staff of the year.

D1 Faculty of the Year - Dr. Boonsiriphant​

D2 Faculty of the Year - Dr. Mahrous​

D3 Non-Superblock Faculty of the Year - Dr. Handoo​

D3 Superblock Faculty of the Year - Dr. Mahrous​

D3 Support Staff of the Year - Steve Vercande​

FAMD Faculty of the Year - Dr. Iglehart​

D4 Support Staff of the Year - Becky Todd

D4 Faculty of All Four Years - Dr. Mahrous​

Dr. James M. Harris Family Dentistry Adjunct Faculty of the Year - Dr. Wettach









































































Dental Public Health Faculty, Students, and Alumni at the 2019 National Oral Health Conference

In mid-April, several dental public health faculty, students, and alumni attended and presented at the 2019 National Oral Health Conference (NOHC) in Memphis. Dr. Michelle McQuistan is president of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD), which meets jointly the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors at the NOHC. During the conference, Dr. John Warren also served as the outgoing president of the American Board of Dental Public Health, the organization responsible for developing and administrating board examinations for dentists specializing in dental public health. The NOHC is the premier meeting for the field of dental public health. 

IMG_5150.jpg  Current and former Iowa faculty and students at the NoHC Meeting 








IMG_5174.jpg Iowa faculty and former Dental Public Health residents who are Dental Public Health Diplomates. Dr. John Warren is the Outgoing President.









Endodontics Awards

Dr. Hazard and Dr. Vislisel Receive Awards at the 2019 AAE Annual Meeting

Dr. Mikaela Hazard and Dr. Jered Vislisel, both second-year Endodontic residents, each received awards for their oral presentations at the 2019 American Association of Endodontics Annual Meeting. According to Dr. Fabricio Teixeira, DEO of the Department of Endodontics, "this was a magnificent achievement considering the level of presentations at the meeting. We had a total of 875 presentations and the University of Iowa had two winners among the 10 ten in the Oral presentations category. They did a superb job and made all of us very proud."

Endo Awards.jpg Dr. Hazard and Dr. Vislisel are shown in the center of the photo.







Oral Science Gathering

Oral Science PhD Students Learn About Certificate in College Teaching

Several Oral Science PhD students attended a lunch gathering on April 10 with President Bruce Harreld and Dean John Keller from the Graduate College to discuss the University of Iowa's Certificate in College Teaching. The gathering included Dr. Mitchell Kelly is the director of the certifcate program. Dr. Erin Barnes, a Clinical Assistant Professor who previously completed her Certificate in College Teaching at the University of Iowa, and many University of Iowa graduate students also attended the gathering. 

The lunch was an opportunity for University of Iowa graduate students from different disciplines to get together and share their motivation for pursing the Certificate in College Teaching, and how the certificate has helped them grow academically/professionally to become effective educators. Also, President Harreld, Dean Keller, Dr. Kelly, and Dr. Barnes expressed their support of the Certificate in College Teaching, and openly answered our questions about teaching as all the attending graduate students shared their personal thoughts about the certificate and teaching.

To learn more about the program, please visit the following website: https://education.uiowa.edu/services/office-graduate-teaching-excellence-ogte/graduate-certificate-college-teaching

The images below show: President Bruce Harreld, Dean John Keller, Dr. Mitchell Kelly, Dr. Erin Barnes, Dr. Daniah Alhazmi (student), Demah AlGheithy (student), Dr. Eman Ismail (student).


















Hawkeye Caucus

The Hawkeye Caucus in Des Moines!

On Tuesday, April 9, the College of Dentistry participated in the annual Hawkeye Caucus in Des Moines. It was a great opportunity to highlight to state legislators how vital the College of Dentistry is to the State of Iowa and how important Iowa is to the college. In particular:

  • Nearly 80% of Iowa's dentists are alumni of the University of Iowa College of Dentistry delivering over $800 million in oral health care services to Iowans annually.
  • An estimated 99% of Iowans are within a 30-minute drive of a practicing University of Iowa alumnus.

Photo were taken by Justin Torner and Ann Synan.

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DSCN0950.JPG 2019_04_09-Hawkeye Caucus-jatorner-1000.jpg








Dr. Timmons and Dr. Mcquistan

Catalyst Award 2019 for Dr. Michelle McQuistan​
by Dr. Sherry Timmons

It is my honor to introduce Dr. Michelle McQuistan for the Diversity Catalyst Award.  Dr. McQuistan is dedicated to fostering an inclusive, welcoming environment for our campus.  I would like to present just a few activities that highlight the impact her actions have had on our college and community.

  • She has served as Chair of the College’s Diversity Committee for the last 5 year bringing noteworthy speakers such as Mary Otto to campus to discuss economic and social barriers to accessing healthcare and inviting members of the Jewish, Hindu and Muslim communities to discuss culture and beliefs with an emphasis on oral healthcare. She has worked collaboratively on the University’s Health Science Diversity Committee and has been active in development and programming of the Annual Culturally Responsive Health Care Conference.
  • Dr. McQuistan has worked toward equity and inclusion by developing programming about the LGBTQ community, their experiences in healthcare, and methods to ensure we provide respectful, inclusive care to this population.
  • Her efforts in this area led to an invitation to develop the American Dental Education Association’s Policy Statement on Diversity and Equity which impacts dental education and oral healthcare in the US.

For those of us that look to the leaders of DEI we always note individuals who work with un-paralleled passion and dedication. I submit to you that Dr. McQuistan champions these causes through the lens of opportunity and possibility.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Michelle McQuistan.


Drake, David

Dr. David Drake Named a 2019 AADR Fellow

For his leadership and service to the AADR over his distinguished career, Dr. David Drake has been named to the 2019 Class of AADR Fellows. Dr. Drake has served as Treasurer for the AADR for the past three years, and he will conclude his term this coming June. Since the late 1980s, Dr. Drake has a distinguished record of research and service for the AADR—with numerous presentations, serving a member or chair of various AADR committees, and so forth. Given that the purpose of the AADR Fellows Program is to recognize leaders of the AADR, it is no surprise that Dr. Drake's peers have elected him as a 2019 Fellow. 

As a fellow himself, he will take part in the election of new Fellows; serve as an ambassador of excellence in oral, craniofacial, and dental research; advise the AADR Board and/or AADR Council on matters as requested; and mentor other AADR members.











Medicaid Meeting

The College of Dentistry Meets with Iowa Medicaid Officials

On Thursday, March 28, several representatives from the College of Dentistry met with Iowa Medicaid Enterprise (IME) in Des Moines. IME is a government agency charged with working with health care providers in order to provide quality and cost-effective access to health care, including dental care, for Iowa Medicaid members. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the College of Dentistry's participation in the Dental Wellness Plan, which is the dental part of Iowa Medicaid, and to explore opportunities to improve access to timely and accurate information related to patient care. 

IMG_1609.jpg Dean Johnsen, Dr. Mike Kanellis, Lynn Conway, Ann Huss, Shelly Eden-Ellison, and Jerry Gehling meeting with State Medicaid Director, Mike Randol.








Pediatric Dentistry Awards

The Department of Pediatric Dentistry's Awards Luncheon

The Department of Pediatric Dentistry held their annual awards luncheon March 25. Ashley Spooner was awarded the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Award for outstanding performance in the field of pediatric dentistry by a predoctoral student. Ashley will be attending the University of Florida in Naples, FL to pursue resident training in pediatric dentistry upon her graduation this June. Leah Barshinger received the Dale Redig Award. Dr. Redig was a 1955 graduate the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and was a renowned leader in pediatric dentistry and dental education.  The Department of Pediatric Dentistry is looking forward to having Leah begin the department’s residency program July 1.  Congratulations to Ashley and Leah!

IMG_1229.JPG Dr. Karin Weber-Gasparoni, Ashley Spooner, Leah Barshinger and Dr. Tad Mabry pictured at the Pediatric Dentistry awards luncheon.







IMG_1223 edited.jpg Ashley Spooner receiving her award from Dr. Tad Mabry.







IMG_1225.JPG Leah Barshinger receiving her award from Dr. Tad Mabry.










 The College of Dentistry Represents in Chicago at ADEA and the American Academy of Cariology

On March 15-19, many collegiate faculty, staff, and students attended the annual ADEA conference and the Third Annual Conference of the American Academy of Cariology in Chicago. Dean Johnsen and Dr. Leo Marchini passed along several pictures from the two conferences. 

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American Academy of Cariology Attendees; ADEA Session presenters with Dr. Leo Marchini







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Dean Johnsen, Dr. Kecia Leary, and Dr. Leo Marchini after a presentation. Dental Student Nicole Krois with her presentation poster.










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Dr. Patricia Meredith completed the ADEA Leadership Institute Program, and Dr. Lily Garcia, a Faculty Fellow for the ADEA Leadership Institute presented awards to other fellows. 







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Dr. Erica Teixeira and Dr. Natalia Restrepo-Kennedy; Dr. Pete Damiano's oral presentation







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Dr. Lily Garcia's presentation; Dr. David Drake, Dr. Keith Krell, Dr. Chris Fox the AADR Executive Director, Dr. Mark Herzberg, the AADR Vice President (University of Minnesota), and Dr. Christy McKinney, AADR Board Member at-large (University of Washington).






IMG_1587.jpg IMG_3285_resized.jpg

Sessions with Dr. Jennifer Hartshorne.






Teddy Bear Clinic

Dental Students Participate in the UIHC Teddy Bear Clinic

On Saturday March 9, some members of the Pediatric Dentistry Student Group volunteered at the UIHC Teddy Bear Clinic held at the Iowa River Landing.  In cooperation with the College of Medicine, the College of Dentistry has participated the past few years by setting up a dental booth along with other stations from the College of Medicine.  Children are invited to bring their teddy bears or dolls and rotate through the various stations.  At the dental booth, children simulate a dental visit for their teddy bears.  They use some of the tools used in a dental appointment and receive a toothbrush.  This event has always been a popular one and the children, families and dental students all seem to enjoy the experience.  The dental students participating this year were Erin Kallsen, Ashley Daniels, Macey Pribil and Chase Wedemeier.


IDA to Host Session on "Life After Dental School" on April 4

On April 4, 2019, the IDA will be providing all D4's with complimentary pizza at noon in room N212 (the OralB classroom).  Leaders from IDA, including IDA President, Dr. Martin Gleason, ADA New Dentist Committee 10th District Representative, Dr. Sara Stuefen and 2018 New Dentist of the Year recipient, Dr. Scott Anderson will join to discuss a variety of topics including "life after dental school." Don't miss this opportunity to learn more about organized dentistry and gain valuable insights from leading dentists in Iowa. 

In addition, IDA will be providing you the opportunity to partake in National Signing Day—your first step towards success as a practicing dentist. National Signing Day gives senior dental students the opportunity to convert their student membership into a tripartite membership and continue to enjoy all the benefits of the Iowa Dental Association, the ADA and your local dental society.

Converting Your Membership Comes with Perks

  • After you apply online, show your confirmation email at the National Signing Day event to receive your free copy of The Chairside Instructor ($105 value)
  • Receive a graduation gift bag including the ADA Dental Drug Handbook ($60 value) courtesy of the ADA for attending the National Signing Day event. 
  • Complimentary membership for the remainder of 2019 and 2020.
  • Automatic enrollment in the graduated dues discount program. Receive 75% discount off your dues in 2021, 50% off dues in 2022, and 25% discount off 2023.

Plus, if 95% of the University of Iowa College of Dentistry D4 students sign up, the class of 2019 will receive $500 to their class funds!

Questions?  Contact mackenzie@iowadental.org or call 515.331.2298.

In addition, IDA cordially invites you to attend the IDEAS19 conference down the road in Coralville from May 2-4. Students receive complimentary registration!  You are also invited to attend the New Dentist Social on Friday, May 3 from 5:00-7:00 PM at Backpocket Brewing to meet and network with dentists in their first years of practice.


Peds Outreach

The Pediatric Dentistry Student Group Participates in Two Recent Outreach Events

Members from the Pediatric Dentistry Student Group and the Pre-Dental Club recently participated in two community dental outreach events. Assisted by pediatric dentistry faculty and residents, they provided free oral health education, screenings, and fluoride treatments to 50 children at the Iowa Children’s Museum at the Coral Ridge Mall on Friday night, February 22. On Tuesday night, February 26, they participated in Family Enrichment Night at Hoover Elementary School in Iowa City. The students provided three twenty-minute interactive PowerPoint presentations entitled “Dental Trivia” to children from kindergarten to 6th grade.  Both events gave pre-dental and dental students opportunities to interact with children and their parents in community settings. 

1 group use as cover photo.jpg Dr. Polly Iben, Shelby Perkins, Dr. Alison Christensen, Rebecca Schneider, Kali Disterhoft, Dr. Paula Gomez, Shelby Roszhart, Jordan Roszhart, and Cathy Skotowski pictured at the Iowa Children’s Museum Give Kids A Smile event.








2 Kali.jpg Kali Disterhoft providing a dental screening.










3 Shelby P.jpg Shelby Perkins providing a dental screening.









4 Shelby R.jpg Shelby Roszhart providing a dental screening.













5 Emily.JPG Emily Starman applying fluoride varnish.













6 group 2.JPG Emily Starman, Steven Thrap, Dr. Kyle Nordeen, Dr. Jennifer Feingold, Shelby Perkins, Kali Disterhoft, McKenna Kilburg, Megha Puranam and Kelsey Edwards pictured at the Iowa Children’s Museum Give Kids A Smile event.











7 Hoover PPT.jpg Cathy Skotowski pictured delivering a dental trivia presentation to children attending the Hoover Elementary Family Enrichment night.







8 group Hoover cropped.jpg Steve Thrap, Annabelle Dibert, Whitney Peterson, Drew Carlson and Emily Starman pictured at the Hoover Family Enrichment night pediatric dentistry outreach event.







Gustavo Avila-Ortiz

Maximizing Bone Preservation

For each month spent on the International Space Station, an astronaut will lose approximately one to two percent of bone mass. Since the skeleton is not being used to support the full weight of the body, the bones weaken and lose mass and density. When a bone is not being properly stimulated, it usually undergoes disuse atrophy and subsequently shrinks. When a tooth is removed from its socket, this resorptive phenomenon also occurs with the alveolar bone—the bone that provides direct support to the teeth.

Just as scientists have found ways for astronauts to maintain and strengthen bones while living in space, Dr. Gustavo Avila-Ortiz is exploring new therapies to preserve the alveolar bone.

It is common to lose a significant amount of alveolar ridge volume in the first three to six months after a tooth extraction. “Without a tooth there to stimulate the bone, the alveolar ridge volume will decrease,” Avila-Ortiz explained. “Bone loss can lead to an intense remodeling of the contour of the alveolar ridge, which may make it difficult to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant,” he added.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, clinicians began to explore various ways to preserve the alveolar bone. “Over the years different bone substitutes, like bovine-derived xenograft or a human-derived allograft, typically applied in a particulate form, have been used to fill the tooth socket after tooth extraction in an attempt to reduce alveolar bone resorption. It has also been shown that sealing the socket orifice with a barrier material, such as a biocompatible membrane, is important to protect the underlying bone during the healing process.  This approach, known as alveolar ridge preservation, is a widely used therapy in contemporary practice. But it is not the only available option” Avila-Ortiz commented.

Another alveolar ridge preservation treatment involves intentionally leaving part of the tooth in the socket to stimulate the bone. “Although it can work, this treatment is technically hard, it isn’t always possible, and it may increase the risk of infections and failure of implant integration,” Avila-Ortiz said.

Although he admits that there is no single fix-it-all solution, Avila-Ortiz has been researching how different biomaterials can preserve the natural architecture of the bone after an extraction, minimize the detrimental effects of tooth loss, shorten the healing time between extraction and placing an implant, and reduce the need for additional bone grafting to allow for implant placement.

Recently, Avila-Ortiz has been working with Dr. Liu Hong and Dr. Brad Amendt, using the extraction socket as a research model, on therapies that would apply microRNA therapy for oral bone regeneration purposes. “It’s really very promising, and we are almost ready to initiate the first clinical trials with humans,” Avila-Ortiz said.

One of the main goals of Avila-Ortiz’s research in this area is to discover both new therapies and the influence that patient-specific factors (i.e., local and systemic) have on the outcomes of treatment.  “One size does not fit all. One of our objectives is to deliver individualized care to each of our patients,” Avila-Ortiz explained.



The College of Dentistry Goes to Washington

IMG_1457.jpgTwo different groups of representatives from the College of Dentistry visited Washington, D.C. on February 26 to advocate on behalf of important oral-health-related legislative priorities.

Dean Johnsen, Dean Amendt, Dr. Teresa Marshall, and fourth-year dental student Leah Barshinger visited with the offices of Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack and Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst to advocate on behalf of continued and increased research funding for the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. They were there as representatives of the AADR and the National Student Dental Research Group. The image to the right shows Leah Barshinger, Dean Amendt, Chris Fox (CEO of the AADR), and Dr. Teresa Marshall. 

Dean Johnsen said that it was also an excellent opportunity to communicate the “value the College of Dentistry brings to Iowa.”

Representative Loebsack also addressed 100 delegates from around the country. He spoke on the importance of oral health as a crucial part of overall health and the value of advocating on behalf of oral-health fields.

2019 AAPD Advocacy Day.JPGThe Department of Pediatric Dentistry also sent representatives to Washington, D.C. on February 26 as part of the annual Pediatric Oral Health Advocacy Conference organized by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. This is particularly fitting given that February is Pediatric Dentistry month.

Dr. Matt Geneser (Pediatric Dentistry) and second-year pediatric dentistry residents Dr. Liz Wilkinson, Nate Green, Kirstina Gratz, and Casey Goetz met with the offices of Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and with Representatives Dave Loesback and Abby Finkenauer to advocate on behalf of continued support for Title VII funding for pediatric dentistry training programs and dental faculty loan repayment plans.

The image on the left shows Dr. Liz Wilkinson, Dr. Nate Green, Congressman Loebsack, Dr. Matt Geneser, Dr. Kirstina Gratz, and Dr. Casey Goetz.





Bald Eagle

Winter 2019—​Bringing Lots of Snow and Lots of Bald Eagles

Dean Johnsen snapped a few photos of the host of bald eagles foraging on the Iowa River. Seeing these majestic creatures is one of the bright spots of this (rather long) winter.



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Rebecca Meyerholz

The College of Dentistry Welcomes Rebecca Meyerholz

The College of Dentistry and the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is delighted to introduce Rebecca Meyerholz as a new assistant nurse manager. Becky comes to us from UIHC Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, where she worked for a number of years. She lives in Kalona with her husband, Jay, son Leyton, 7, and daughter, Lyric, 2. She enjoys spending time with family and attending her son’s sporting events. Please join us in welcoming Becky to the College of Dentistry.


Rena D'Souza

The College of Dentistry’s Annual Local AADR Research Day Was a Great Success

With over 100 presentations from students, staff, and faculty and an excellent keynote address by Dr. Rena D’Souza, the College of Dentistry’s Annual Local AADR Research Day was a great success. 

Our keynote speaker, Dr. D’Souza, is Professor of Neurobiology, Pathology, and Medicine and the Associate Vice President of Research at the University of Utah School of Medicine. As an outstanding scholar, leader, and mentor in our profession, she has held and continues to hold many prominent positions at her university and in the wider profession, including serving as President of the International Association for Dental Research, the 41st President of the American Association for Dental Research, and many other prominent positions related to oral health. 

According to Dr. Brad Amendt, this is the first time that the current IADR president has addressed the college for our Research Day.

Dr. D’Souza expressed admiration for the college's efforts to develop an integrated research program that includes basic science, translational, and clinical research. She said that the college has become a cutting-edge institution in this respect, and in her opinion, it is why “Iowa is one of the top 10, if not top 5 dental colleges in the United States.”

Dr. D’Souza’s keynote address covered a variety of topics including important areas for research in dentistry and the oral sciences, her goals for the IADR, and the specific kinds of genetic research that she has explored personally.

College of Dentistry researchers are playing important roles in some of the important areas for research that Dr. D’Souza highlighted, including big data analysis, precision and personalized medicine, genomic research, microbiome research particularly regarding prebiotics or probiotics for the oral microbiome, and translational and clinical research.

And Dr. D’Souza’s own research shows the great value of collaborating with colleagues in a variety of related fields—from clinicians working with basic science researchers to oral science researchers learning from hair follicle research.

After her keynote address, Dr. D’Souza spent a great deal of time talking with faculty, staff, and students.

It was a wonderful opportunity for the college to deepen our relationship with Dr. D’Souza.

 Pictures of Research Day 

Research Day really starts years in advance as students, faculty, and staff produce their research. These posters are a reflection of their work, and the support from our excellent staff in Ed Media. Presenters hung their posters the night before Research Day.












Research Day started bright and early with a great deal of snowfall the night before.












Dean Johnsen speaking with our keynote speaker, Dr. Rena D’Souza.












Despite the weather, Dr. D’Souza was speaking to big crowd.












A series of photos of students presenting their research



































































Butali, Azeez

Dr. Azeez Butali Received a $25,000 Subaward Grant to Study Genetic and Environmental Risks for Oral Clefts in Puerto Rican Hispanics

As a part of Dr. Butali’s broad collaboration with researchers around the world, Dr. Butali and his research team will sequence DNA from cleft families and controls from Puerto Rico. They will also analyze and interpret results. Furthermore, Dr. Butali will provide input on all aspects of future specific study designs, train personnel from the San Juan site, and assure safety and quality of the data.

This project is part of his larger research goal of understanding population differences in cleft etiology and providing new insights in craniofacial development.

Dr. Butali discusses this on-going work in this video.



Residents in Dental Public Health and Pediatric Dentistry Discuss Oral Health and Inequality with Author and Reporter Mary OttoOtto-Residents.png

On January 25, Dental Public Health (DPH) and Pediatric Dentistry residents met Mary Otto, the author of the book "Teeth, The Story of Beauty, Inequality and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." They had an inspiring conversation with her as she shared about being a Washington Post reporter covering the story of Deamonte Driver, a 12-year-old who died due to a dental infection. Based on this experience, Mary Otto went on to examine oral healthcare in America and how inequalities affect it. 

Relatedly, the University of Iowa is having an #iloveUIOWA campaign in celebration of the university’s 172nd Birthday this February. For a snapchat contest associated with the campaign, the residents sent a picture of their meeting with Mary Otto and their UI toothbrush and they won first place!

Happy Birthday UI! May the story of Deamonte Driver inspire us all to better meet the oral health needs of vulnerable populations.

Pictured from left-to-right in the group picture: Demah AlGheithy (DPH), Olayinka Adekugbe (DPH), Mary Otto, Paula Gomez (Pediatric Dentistry), Chukwuebuka Ogwo (DPH).

Erliang Zeng

Dr. Erliang Zeng Awarded $68,652 Grant for a Project Investigating Tumors in Children

The New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) granted Dr. Erliang Zeng a subaward grant for a project funded by the National Cancer Institute, a part of the NIH. The project, Molecular Circuit of Multi-ciliogenesis Regulates Choroid Plexus Differentiation and Tumor Development, investigates how the molecular circuit of malignant choroid plexus tumors in children interact with signaling pathways as the tumors are formed. Dr. Zeng will be responsible for leading efforts in bioinformatics development and data analysis for the project. Dr. Zeng brings significant expertise to provide outstanding support for the project on the omics data integration and bioinformatics analysis. This project will foster the already existing relationship and collaboration between subaward PI Erliang Zeng at UI and PI Haotian Zhao at NYIT and will strengthen the bioinformatics program development in the Division of Biostatistics and Computational Biology of the UI College of Dentistry.

Musa, Muhammad A.

Dr. Muhammad A. Musa is a 2018-2019 Fulbright scholar conducting research in Dr. Azeez Butali’s lab

Dr. Musa was born in Gusau, Nigeria, and he has a bachelor’s degree and postgraduate diploma from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria. He also earned a master’s degree from Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto. Since 2010, Dr. Musa has been a faculty member in the Department of Anatomy at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto. His doctoral thesis was on craniofacial assessment of children from Sokoto, Nigeria.

In 2016, Dr. Musa participated in a short-term visiting scholarship program sponsored by the American Association of Anatomists in which he visited Dr. Joan Richtsmeier’s lab at Penn State University. During that time, he took a 3-day extended visit to learn about research being conducted by Dr. Butali and his lab. That initial 3-day visit developed into an important career and research relationship for Dr. Musa.

“Everything about the Butali lab is exciting, especially the hands-on genetic skills and the lab personnel,” Dr. Musa said.

“I count myself lucky to be in a lab where every lab member is highly encouraged and motivated to do science,” Dr. Musa added.

Dr. Musa is the first Fulbright scholar to visit the College of Dentistry in its history. The ultimate aim for Dr. Musa is for him to become an independent craniofacial genetics investigator and to use such skills in training the next generation of scientists back home in Nigeria. He’s excited about the opportunity provided by the College of Dentistry, the University of Iowa, and the Fulbright program, and he anticipates submitting his first NIH grant as part of the experience.

Dr. Musa has also appreciated the cultural experiences he’s had in Iowa. The 2018 IMOM in Sioux City was a fantastic experience for Dr. Musa, and he really appreciated the opportunity to serve others.

Overall, Dr. Musa has greatly appreciated the opportunity to learn and grow while at Iowa.


Teixeira, Erica

Dr. Erica Teixeria Continues Industry-University Collaboration with New Grant

Tokuyama Dental Corporation awarded Dr. Erica Teixeria a $134,000 grant for the project, “Esthetic outcomes of a newly developed dental composite and adhesive system: a randomized clinical trial.”

Dr. Teixeria’s project continues a long-term partnership between the College of Dentistry and Tokuyama. More specifically, Dr. Teixeria and her research team will conduct a 36-month randomized controlled clinical trial to evaluate and compare the esthetic outcomes and patient satisfaction of a simplified newly developed dental composite system for the esthetic region to a nanohybrid composite system. Although dental composite systems have been used extensively for the anterior region, it can still be difficult for clinicians to select the proper shade and the materials may not last as long as clinicians would like. This new system has been developed to improve the esthetic outcomes and patient satisfaction by enhancing its blending capability.

Dr. Teixeria research team includes: Drs. Amira Ahmed, Steve Armstrong, Hanan Elgendy, Sandra Guzman-Armstrong, Aditi Jain, Justine Kolker, Rodrigo Maia, Patricia Meredith, Cristina Vidal, Marcos Vargas, Xian Jin Xie, and research coordinator Karen Kluesner. 


Jin Xie

A World-Class Program for Biostatistics and Computational Biology

XieTeam_082018_400wide.jpgFrom baseball to politics, big data has taken the world by storm. It has revolutionized our recreational pursuits and our health care decisions. Oral health research is no exception to this trend, and the College of Dentistry is on the cutting edge of that trend.

The Division of Biostatistics and Computational Biology provides statistical and computational expertise for the college’s research projects. Although in past generations statistical analysis was mostly performed by an individual researcher, it is now an expectation that elite biomedical research centers have a designated biostatistics division.

“A single person is simply not adequate anymore. The databases are too large and of great complexity, and any person would have to know database management, frequentist methods, Bayesian methods, bioinformatics, structural equation modeling, etc.,” said Dr. Xian Jin Xie, director of the Division of Biostatistics and Computational Biology.

Xie joined the college a little over a year ago in fall 2017, and since then, his division has worked with over 40 researchers at the college. Xie has really appreciated the collegial working environment. “Everyone is so easy to work with and the faculty really support one another,” said Xie. “This environment really lays the foundation for achieving more NIH grants, and potentially large multi-investigator program grants,” Xie added. 

Xie also underscored how much support he’s received from the college administration. “We have received great support from Dean Johnsen, Dean Schneider, and Dean Amendt. Everything we’ve asked for, they’ve given us.”

And Xie has asked for a lot! Ultimately, he aims for the division to become a model for dental colleges across the country. “We are the first college in the country to have a division of biostatistics and computational biology,” Xie said. This new methodological focus is poised to become the new standard. 

Xie’s first year plan had three goals for accomplishing that ambitious goal.

First, he sought to recruit high quality faculty and research staff, like associate professor Dr. Erliang Zeng, a new faculty member in the division who specializes in bioinformatics. Adding Zeng was crucial for establishing the division’s expertise in computational biology.

Second, he wanted to continuing building on the college’s grant writing success, and his division has helped with 10 NIH grant submissions and many foundation sponsored grants this past year.

Third, he plans to develop educational modules and one-hour lectures to help improve knowledge of statistical methods with the aim of helping all of our researchers, but especially our clinical researchers who want to do research but have limited time because of their extensive clinical responsibilities

Although a great deal of Xie’s attention is dedicated to serving as the director of the division and advising on dental research projects, he also conducts and publishes his own statistical research on 1), statistical model diagnosis; 2), high throughput data analysis; and 3), new design of Phase I Clinical trials.

“In my position, you need a breadth of knowledge to support various basic science and clinical research projects, but it’s always fulfilling and enjoyable to have your own research too,” said Xie.

The Division of Biostatistics and Computational Biology is located on the first floor of the north wing of the Dental Science Building and is available for consults for upcoming research projects.


Cristina Vidal

From the Bench to the Chair: Translational and Clinical Research at the College of Dentistry

Dental researchers at the college have a strong history of pursuing basic, clinical, and translational research in a collaborative and supportive environment with the goal of improving patient care. “The ultimate goal of our research is to benefit and contribute to our community and society,” said Dr. Cristina Vidal, assistant professor in operative dentistry. 

The college’s translational and clinical research has flourished by drawing knowledge and experience from College of Dentistry colleagues and other disciplines—from medicine to physics, from public health to engineering.

“Many questions in dentistry can be addressed, at least in part, with advances that have been made in other fields such as medicine or engineering. So I often start by asking ‘What approaches are being used in other fields?’” said Dr. Kyungsup Shin, assistant professor in orthodontics and director of clinical research for the college.

Trishul_DSBW.jpgFor example, in the field of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, clinical professor Dr. Trishul Allareddy has been using his expertise to improve the quality of dental radiographic images as the co-chair of the Standards Committee on Dental Informatics for the American Dental Association and Co-Chair of DICOM international standard for Dentistry.

“Most of the 180,000 US dentists make radiographs in their offices, but they have minimal training in radiology in dentistry and often the scope of that training does not address quality assurance across all modalities of imaging in dentistry,” said Allareddy, “and that’s why it is so important to know how things should be done.”

Having high-quality images requires a goldilocks level of radiation—just enough to get sufficient information for clinical judgments, but not too much, which exposes the patient to too much radiation.

“Unfortunately, many of the digital intraoral radiographs that dentists take are not clinically useful as the patients are underexposed and the radiographs do not have enough information,” Allareddy explained.

In addition to creating standards for the use of x-rays in dental clinics, Allareddy is also researching best practices for the use of cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) in dentistry. CBCT technology is used when regular dental radiographs are not sufficient—for example, in cases of oral cancer or for dental implants.

“Dentists need to be aware of what imaging tools are useful in which contexts; it’s really about optimizing our care for each patient,” Allareddy said.

Vidal_Portrait_111418b_small.jpgThat’s also a central part of Vidal’s research. Whether designing materials that will take less time to use or discovering bioactive materials and mechanisms that can stimulate and regenerate teeth, Vidal’s research is focused on patient well-being.

Two of Vidal’s recent projects illustrate this line of research. In one, she is investigating a novel universal bonding agent that doesn’t require any light curing—and thus, it could reduce the time a patient spends in the dentist’s chair. Her research team will determine how well this new agent performs and make recommendations for its use in clinics.

In another, her team is exploring how a certain plant-derived compound that can preserve, repair, and restore the bond between dentin and resin material.

Although these particular clinical applications are important, Vidal is also interested in the underlying mechanisms. “By understanding both the enzymes that degrade collagen, and the natural processes that inhibit degradation of the resin-dentin bond, we will have a greater understanding of the most efficient and least invasive approaches in the clinic,” Vidal said.

Kyungsup_DSBW.jpgLike Allareddy and Vidal, Shin’s research—specializing on the temporomandibular joints (TMJ)—exemplifies the college’s patient-oriented and collaborative research.

After asking about approaches in related fields, Shin found out that an orthopedic research group (Dr. Don Anderson) had used medical CT images of leg fractures to determine the risk for developing arthritis as a result of the fracture. Shin wanted to apply that research to his specialty, the TMJ.

Drawing on Allareddy’s expertise in radiology and CBCT images, Shin hopes to develop a predictive diagnostic tool using CBCT images to assess the risk of developing osteoarthisis in the TMJs after trauma to the joint. Post-traumatic osteoarthritis in this joint is particularly challenging to treat, often requiring extensive surgical procedures.

“Without reliable predictive diagnostic tools, we don’t really know when to intervene to prevent long-term complications associated with post- traumatic osteoarthritis,” Shin explained.

Shin has also been collaborating with colleagues in other colleges—Dr. Aliasger Salem in pharmacy and Dr. James Martin in medicine—on basic science research concerning bone and cartilage tissue regeneration in the TMJ.

Allareddy, Vidal, and Shin are wonderful pictures of the collaborative, translational, and clinical research being conducted at the College of Dentistry. Whether patients are having a dental radiograph made, having a broken tooth repaired, or having surgery on their temporomandibular joint, these researchers are finding a way to make a difference.


The "Dental Dam-sels" Trivia Night at Mellow MushroomIMG_7158.jpeg

The local chapter of the American Association of Women in Dentistry went to trivia night at Mellow Mushroom on December 5. 

 From left to right: Brooke Brown (D4), Kathleen Bohr (D4), Erin Leppek (D4), Isabella Jasek (D3), Colleen Iverson (D3), Shelby Roszhart (D3), Amanda Phan (D4), Dr. Emily Lanzel (Student Advisor), and alumni Megan Timm.​

Although "We lost," Dr. Lanzel said, the women had a relaxing time out during finals week. Dr. Amanda Phan said, "We had fun and lots of girls came to join us during finals week! The triva was tough!"

If you would like more information about how you can participate in future AAWD events, please contact Dr. Emily Lanzel, the student advisor for the local chapter.


Anamali, Sindhura

ADEA Awards Dr. Anamali $8,500 Grant for Teaching General Dentists about Advanced Imaging in Radiology

ADEA awarded Dr. Sindhura Anamali (Oral Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine) a $8,500 grant. The project for the grant is titled “Developing Learning Modules in Intra-oral, Extra-oral and Advanced Imagining in Radiology for Better Understanding and a Reference of Anatomy for General Dentists.”

The aim of project is educate general dentists about the vast quantities and complexity of information contained in cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) scans. Dr. Anamali’ s modules will include a comprehensive details about the complexity of anatomical information available on a CBCT scan.  The hope is that the module will assist dentists deliver quality patient care.


Retreat Participants

College of Dentistry Faculty Present at the Diabetes Research Center Retreat

IMG_1243.jpgLast February, Dr. E. Dale Abel, the John B. Stokes III Chair in Diabetes Research and the director of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center, was the keynote speaker at the Local Iowa AADR Meeting. This collaborative relationship continued as Dr. Huojun Cao (Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research), Dr. Shaoping Zhang (Periodontics), and Dr. Erliang Zeng (Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research) presented their research to colleagues at the research center's retreat, which was held on December 15, 2018.

Over fifty people attended the retreat, and they had active research enterprises from a wide variety of perspectives. As a result of the presentations, several researchers from the research center expressed interest in future collaborative projects with the College of Dentistry, and Dr. Abel specifically complimented our faculty members’ contributions at the end of the retreat.

The on-going work at the diabetes research center fits naturally with research at the College of Dentistry—particularly given the associations between diabetes and periodontal diseases—and it offers the a welcoming environment for new researchers, with its critical mass of colleagues working in related areas and over $25 million in research funding.

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Krupp, Michelle

Michelle Krupp selected as a College of Dentistry Ambassador

In just three years, Michelle Krupp has made herself an indispensable resource for improving the educational mission of the college. As the director of education development in the Office for Education, she works with faculty and staff members on curriculum development and evaluation to ensure student success. She has helped faculty adjust to curricular changes and new technology with the ultimate aim of improving student learning. She also played a vital role in the success of the college’s accreditation site visit in 2018. In that highly demanding context, Michelle best exemplified the characteristics for which she is known—her professionalism, courtesy, passion for education, savy data management, and calmness under pressure—all the while taking on duties and responsibilities well outside the scope of her position. For her consistently excellent work and for extraordinary efforts during accreditation, the College of Dentistry is honored to have Michelle as an ambassador for the college.


Erica Teixeira

Dr. Erica Teixeira and Dr. Natalia Restrepo-Kennedy Receive Innovations in Teaching with Technology Award

Restrepo-Kennedy_Natalia_101017_200x300.jpgThe UI Academic Technologies Advisory Council has awarded Dr. Teixeira and Dr. Restrepo-Kennedy $28,520 for their project “Enhancing caries management education using a 3D printed model.” Dr. Teresa Marhsall has agreed to provide a $5,000 matching grant from the MW Finkelstein Centennial Teaching Professorship endowment fund, which brings the total award amount to $33,520. This Innovations in Teaching with Technology Award (ITTA) is intended to raise the level of teaching and learning at UI by supporting significant and innovative instructional technology projects that have the potential to directly impact student success and retention. The last time the College of Dentistry received this award was in 2002.

With the advances of digital technology, digital imaging, and 3D printing, the proposal involves the creation and development of a novel prototype that is a realistic representation of the caries process according to various stages of the disease—progressing from initial, moderate, and extensive lesions and simulating the texture and feel of the affected tooth structure. The development of this model can help transform and support the educational process in managing caries disease throughout dental schools.

For more information about the university’s Innovations in Teaching with Technology Awards, please visit their website.

Dental Art Group

The University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art Features Exhibition of Dental Student Art

Last Friday, the Stanley Museum and FilmScene displayed several pieces of dental art work from our dental students. To read more about how this exhibition got started, see this Iowa Now article. Photos are also available on Facebook.

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Damodarao Grandhisiri

The College of Dentistry Welcomes Damodararao Grandhisiri​

The College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics and the Department of Operative Dentistry welcome Mr. Damodararao Grandhisiri as a research assistant.  Damodararao received his BS and MS in Industrial Biotechnology from Nagarjuna University in India and has held positions in multiple industrial laboratories in India, Canada, and the US. In his spare time he enjoys kayaking, chess, and watching movies.



Banas and Drake Lab

Banas and Drake Team Up to Study the Role of Oral Streptococci in the Early Stages of Dental Decay

Some things just go together! Peanut Butter and Jelly. Batman and Robin. Banas and Drake.

Dr. Jeff Banas is a professor of microbiology in pediatric dentistry and the Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research and the director of graduate studies for oral health science. Dr. David Drake is a professor of microbiology in endodontics and the Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research. With strong rapport and over a decade of collaboration, these two researchers have become known for their work together on the cariogenic roles of oral Streptococci and the oral microbiome.Jeff_David_Alissa_Min_080218b_400h.jpg

“When one of us presents our research, most people just assume that the other was involved in the project,” said Drake with a chuckle.

Their work together was rewarded in 2018 when the National Institutes of Health awarded them a five-year $2.6 million grant. For this project, Banas and Drake are examining young children with a high risk of early childhood tooth decay for a particular kind of plaque bacteria, Streptococci.


“The hypothesis for decades has been that certain plaque species have unique acidic properties, particularly Streptococcus mutans and sobrinus, and these are responsible for a large proportion of dental decay, but other low-pH plaque species may blaze the trail for these bad species of Streptococcus,” Banas explained. Although this has been the theory, there is sparse evidence for the roles of highly acidogenic (low pH) streptococcal species besides S. mutans and S. sobrinus.

That’s where Banas and Drake come in. During preliminary investigations on banked plaque samples, they isolated two common streptococcal species that were among those thought to possess the low pH phenotype that can make the oral microbiome a more suitable environment for the tooth-decay-causing species of plaque.

“The problem was that the various species die at different rates in the frozen state, so the banked samples were less than optimal,” said Banas.

As a result, Banas and Drake decided to propose and were awarded a grant for an 18-month longitudinal study of 130 children between the ages of 1 and 3, many of whom have a high risk of dental decay. Each participating child will be examined four times over the course of the study so that the team can track the changes in the low pH streptococcal population as well as other changes in the plaque microbiome.

“We will be able to see how the low pH populations fluctuate and shift the microflora, which helps the bad species of Streptococcus become more dominant, especially for children with high-sugar diets,” Drake said.

Then, the team will sequence the genome of specific low pH species of Streptococcus that were identified in their longitudinal study.

Min_Alissa_080218_400h.jpgAlthough the relationship between tooth decay and the oral microbiome is complex, learning more about the specific genetic and phenotypic characteristics of the various species could improve prevention and treatment options. “If we understand the disease process better and can isolate key variables, we might be able to prevent it or treat it early on,” Drake said. “Or even establish a new standard for risk assessment,” Banas added as he finished Drake’s sentence.

And that would be an important step for improving oral health. “Once the disease process begins, it can be stopped but it is much more difficult after the microbiome has been transformed.” That’s one reason why it’s so important for parents to take their children to the dentist at a young age.

Knowing the makeup of the oral microbiome could have other long-lasting implications. For example, prebiotics and probiotics could be designed to help good bacteria in the mouth while preventing bad forms from flourishing. “Prebiotics could feed the good guys, just as sugar feeds the bad guys,” Drake quipped.

As Banas and Drake embark on another research project together, each of the two has really come to appreciate what the other brings to the table. “We really work well together; we are much stronger together than we are individually,” Banas said. “It’s so important to see things from other perspectives, and this type of collaboration helps us leverage our talents to get even more support,” Drake added.

Diversity Panel

November Diversity Panel a Success!

On Sunday, November 18, the Student Affairs Office in the College of Dentistry hosted a panel discussion on the topic of diversity. The event gave participants the opportunity to share about the wide range of stories and backgrounds that make up our Hawkeye family. Dean Johnsen kicked off the event, sharing about his own background, and Dr. Michelle McQuistan (Preventive and Community Dentistry and chair of the Diversity Committee) spoke to the college's commitment to diversity and about related strategic programming. Afterwards, a panel composed of Dr. Nidhi Handoo (OPRM), Dr. Paula Gomez Hernandez (resident, Pediatric Dentistry), third-year dental student Trish Henderson, and second-year dental student Lexi Cashmore answered questions from the audience and shared about their backgrounds. About fifty students, faculty, staff, and prospective DDS candidates attended the event, and many expressed an on-going interest in future diversity-related events.









Girls Go Stem

The College of Dentistry Leads a STEM Activity for Junior High Girls as Part of Girls Go STEM Event

Recruiting pre-dental students is well underway!  On Saturday, December 2, Girls Go STEM hosted over 200 junior high girls. The girls were allowed to explore a variety of STEM career paths with hands-on activities associated with that career. Dr. Natalia Restrepo-Kennedy, fourth-year dental student Sarah McGowan, and second-year dental students Kali Disterhoft, Briar Voy, and Paige Peters led a waxing activity for the event, with over 50 participants. As was the case in years past, the activity received glowing reviews. Janet Glenn coordinated supplies for the event, and Rachael Kowbel orchestrated event logistics.

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Three College of Dentistry-affiliated students presented their research at the 14th Annual Fall Undergraduate Research Festival

The College of Dentistry was well represented at this year’s 14th Annual Fall Undergraduate Research Festival (FURF) on Wednesday, November 14, 4:30-6:30 pm at the University Capitol Center (Old Capitol Mall).  See the FURF site.The FURF is sponsored by the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates.

IMG_4409.JPGYuwei Guo presented Poster 25 entitled ‘Activation of endogenous BMP2 in human cell by CRISPR-Cas9 SAM based synthetic transcription factor technology.’  Her major is Biochemistry and her Mentor is Dr. Huojun Cao (Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research and Endodontics).







IMG_4419.JPGMary Li presented Poster 53 entitled ‘Mutation in CTNNA2 gene Associated with Cleft Palate in Sub-Saharan African Populations.’  Her major is Neuroscience and her mentor is Dr. Azeez Butali (Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research and Oral Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine).







IMG_4414.JPGEmma Thayer presented Poster 95 entitled ‘255 nm light emitting diode (LED) in combination with Bleach (NaClO) is more effective in killing E. faecalis in root canal therapies.’ Her major is Human Physiology and her mentors are Dr. Kim A. Brogden (Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research and Periodontics) and Dr. Kim Morio (Endodontics).






Drs. Christopher Squier, Erliang Zeng, and Kim A. Brogden were judges.  Dr. Kim Morio and Dean John Keller were present.

Fabricio Teixeira

Dr. Fabricio Teixeira Recognized for Some of the Most Highly-Cited Publications in Regenerative Endodontics

Dr. Samira Adnan and Dr. Rizwan Ullab published a paper in the Journal of Endodontics that detailed their bibliometric analysis measuring the research productivity, author performance, and manuscript impact in the field of regenerative endodontics. The article, “Top-cited Articles in Regenerative Endodontics: A Bibliometric Analysis, identified and evaluated the main characteristics of the 100 most cited articles in the endodontic literature. Dr. Fabricio Teixeira (DEO and professor, endodontics) had 2 articles in the top 10 and a total of 7 articles in the top 45 most cited. The sixth most-cited article was by “Thibodeau B, Teixeira F, Yamauchi M, et al. Pulp revascularization of immature dog teeth with apical periodontitis. J Endod 2007; 33:680–9” (with 144 citations).

In one of the articles graphics, the authors showed the collaboration network among the authors who had contributed to 5 or more articles of the top-cited articles (Figure 4 of the linked paper above).







Local AADR

The Iowa Local AADR Research Day Keynote Speaker is Dr. Rena D'Souza (University of Utah)

rena-dsouza.jpgRena D’Souza is Professor of Dental Sciences, Neurobiology & Anatomy and Pathology. She currently serves as Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Education for the Health Sciences. As a clinician-scientist, D’Souza has been strongly committed to discovery and mentoring throughout her academic career. She is a past president of the American Association for Dental Research (or, AADR) and the current President of IADR, a global organization of over 11,000 members from over 100 countries. Dr. D’Souza has authored over 150 publications and book chapters and has maintained an active research program for over 30 years through grant awards from the National Institutes of Health and other agencies. She has also led two major NIH-funded institutional grants that supported the research training of dentists and dentists-scientists at the predoctoral and postdoctoral levels. She received the 2002 Distinguished Scientist Award from the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) and the Presidential Award for Research Excellence from the Texas A&M Health Science Center in 2010. She was also inducted into the German National Academy of Sciences in 2012. Dr. D’souza was recognized as the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine’s Birnberg Research Medal in 2016. Dr. D’Souza was nominated as Fellow of the AADR and received its 2017 Irwin D. Mandel Distinguished Mentoring Award.

Leah Wanner

The College of Dentistry Welcomes Leah Wanner

The department of Pediatric Dentistry would like to welcome Leah Wanner to the College of Dentistry. Leah is a recent graduate of Kirkwood Community College. In her spare time she enjoys sewing baby blankets and bibs with her mother, running for exercise, and teaching dance on the weekends.  She also enjoys babysitting if anyone is ever in need of a good sitter.



The Office of Student Affairs is thankful for you!  

Sarah Kelly and Rachael Kowbel, Director of Dental Student Admissions, hosted a Grateful Campaign soliciting feedback from students, staff, and faculty across the college.  Sarah and Rachael will use the photos in recruitment messaging this season.

See a collage of some of the images:
















The College of Dentistry Celebrates Veterans Day

The College of Dentistry celebrated Veterans Day by promoting our partnership with Everyone for Veterans—a program that helps low-income Veterans receive high-quality dental care (three newspapers and two TV stations reported about the partnership!), having a talk by Dr. Rick Williamson, and recognizing college employees who are in the military.

Kenny Williams, one of our Veterans who is participating in the Everyone for Veterans program, received dental care this past Monday. Several news organizations came to the College of Dentistry to report on the story including the original in Iowa Now, the Press-Citizen, the Gazette, the Daily Iowan, the local CBS station, and the local NBC station. Mr. Williams and fourth-year dental student Madeline Stead were wonderful advocates for the excellent work that the college is doing for Veterans.

Dr. Rick Williamson (Prosthodontics) gave a lunch and learn, “A Father’s Son Returns from War: Everyone for Veterans.” Kenny Williams was in the building during the talk and came to Dr. Williamson’s talk.

Williams-Williamson.jpg Kenny Williams speaking during Dr. Rick Williamson's talk on Monday, November 12.







And a big thank you to each of the following college employees who have served in the armed forces:

Ahren Blake, US Army

Bill Keating, Major, Army Reserves

Carolyn Silverman, Petty Officer First Class (E6), Navy

Garrett Schultz, Staff Sergeant Select, Air Force

John Hellstein

Lori Chalupa, E1, Air Force Reserves

Pete Damiano, 2nd Lieutenant, US Public Health Service

Rick Walton, Captain, US Army, 48th Medical Battalion, 2nd Armored Division

Ron Elvers

Sherry Timmons, Captain, Iowa Army National Guard

Tom Southard, Lieutenant, Navy

David Bohnenkamp

Girl Scouts Event

Pediatric Dentistry Student Group Participates in Recent Girl Scout STEM Event

The pediatric dentistry student group ran a booth at a recent STEM event for Girl Scouts on the evening of November 1 at the MERF building. The dental exhibit featured a newly developed interactive beverage display where participants arranged nine beverages in ascending order of sugar content. The participants were also asked to match amounts of sugar to each of the nine beverages. Those who attended seemed to enjoy the event.  The students who volunteered at the event were first-year dental student McKenna Kilburg, second-year dental students Kali Disterhoft and Kayla Erps, and third-year dental student Adam Woroniecki.

Girl-Scout-STEM-event.jpg Dental students McKenna Kilburg, Kayla Erps, Kali Disterhoft and Adam Woroniecki pictured at the pediatric dentistry exhibit at a recent Girl Scout STEM event.







Bruce Justman

Dr. Bruce Justman Elected Vice President of an International Dental Fraternity

Dr. Bruce C. Justman (Endodontics, Emeriti) was elected vice president of the Delta Sigma Delta International Dental Fraternity during its 134th Annual Meeting in Hawaii on October 20, 2018.  The fraternity was founded in 1882 and has 52 undergraduate and graduate chapters throughout the United States.  There are also European graduate chapters in Belgium, London, Holland, and Paris, and six graduate chapters throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Dr. Justman also received a Recognition Certificate for 20 years of service as the faculty and alumni advisor of the Gamma Gamma Chapter here at the University of Iowa.  The local undergraduate chapter was established in 1914 and has been in continuous operation ever since.

Nick Nassif

Nicholas Nassif serves as a Volunteer Firefighter

Nicholas Nassif is a student greeter for the college, where he regularly serves our patients. He is currently training to become a volunteer firefighter for the City of Coralville.

For 50 years, my great uncle was a firefighter in Anamosa, Iowa. As a kid growing up, he told me fascinating stories about his time on his department. Being young boy, I thought being a firefighter would be the most exciting job I could have. Since coming the university, I had the opportunity to become a volunteer firefighter in Coralville. I decided to do this because I do enjoy helping out my community, and it is a lively volunteer job.

As a new volunteer, I have to go through weekly trainings on top of our monthly department trainings. Every Sunday evening I have a 4-6 hour candidate training, which includes lectures and skills training. In total, it is a 240 hour course that takes about a year to complete. At the end of the course I will have to take a written final and skills test for the state and Coralville department. I will come out of this course with my firefighter 1 and hazardous materials operations certificates.

Currently I spend a minimum of one night at station 1 to fulfill my 8-hour obligation a week. Volunteers are requested to do their volunteer hours at night, as the paid staff is there during the day. As a volunteer firefighter, I have the ability to do anything a paid firefighter can do. Although, during my candidate year, I am not allowed to go interior during a building fire. Within the next two years, I plan on getting my EMT-basic license, so I can practice as an EMT. Hopefully, I can stick to this area, because I plan on being a volunteer firefighter for a long time.



Student Research from Butali's Lab Wins Award

Dr. Azeez Butali collaborates with Dr. Carmen Buxo from the University of Puerto Rico on cleft palate research. As part of that collaboration, Dr. Buxo sends students each summer to work in Dr. Butali's lab (excluding 2018 because of the hurricane damage). In the summer of 2017, fourth-year dental student Carolina Bello-Rivera at the University of Puerto Rico came to work in Dr. Butali's lab as part of this relationship. At the recent University of Tennessee College of Dentistry student research conference, Bello-Rivera presented her research project from that summer, "Novel Exonic and Intronic Varients in GRHL3 from Puerto Ricans with Cleft Palate," and she was awarded the conference's prize for Most Outstanding Presentation.









Brogden Lab

Academic-industry collaboration customizes head and neck cancer treatment

We are all as unique as our fingerprints. When squamous cell cancer of the head and neck strike—as they do on average 51,000 times each year—we need treatments tailored for our specific genetic makeup.

Dr. Kim Brogden, professor in the Department of Periodontics, and director of the Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research, and his research team are tackling this head-on in partnership with a precision medicine company, CellWorks, Inc., to identify the best available treatments for genetic variations of squamous cell cancers.

For each genetic variation, “CellWorks creates a data set including each signal and cell pathway from stimulus to output, and this data set is used to create a computational model of the cell,” Brogden said. “This model can then identify how cells with different mutations respond to treatment.”

The problem, however, was that CellWorks needed to ensure that their model was accurate. That’s where the collaboration with Brogden’s lab began.

Brogden Research.jpgCellWorks would provide a computational model that the Brogden lab would validate. The lab would collect tumor cell lines with the same genetic makeup as the model, culture those cells, and determine whether those cells responded to treatment as predicted.

According to Dr. Shireen Vali and Taher Abbasi, the cofounders of Cellworks, Brogden’s lab work has greatly improved their model’s predications and has been “… key to establishing a precision medicine computational workflow which takes patient DNA/RNA information as inputs and personalizes treatment.”

The models were validated in 80 to 90 percent of cases, and because of this research, oncologists have a new tool for determining the best treatment for a patient based on the specific genetic makeup of the patient’s tumor, rather than using a trial-and-error method that has a success rate of only 25 percent.

“We would know which treatments are likely to be ineffective,” Brogden said, “and we can avoid subjecting patients to severe side-effects, including autoimmune diseases, inflammation, and infection. Going forward, we may even be able to prevent cancer with these models.”

The end goal is to develop a holistic system of computational models that would learn and adapt as new scientific information is added.

“We often think of science as a linear progression, but with the breadth of research being conducted today, it can be hard to see science that way,” Brogden said.

The hope is that these models can help restore that linear progression, taking all of that information, organizing and making sense of it so that it can inform decision-making and clinical outcomes.

The progression of science, however, is not just about research; it also requires that we train the next generation of scientists. And that’s what Brogden is most proud of in his career. One of his greatest accomplishments at the University of Iowa, he says, is that of the 68 articles he’s published during his 15 years at the University of Iowa, his students have been the first author on 45 of them, and nine of them had four or five students as authors.

Dr. Teresa Marshall, the director of the Dental Student Research Program, speaks glowingly of Brogden’s excellence as a mentor.

“His students are well trained and function together as a team,” said Marshall, which allows them “to generate high quality research, which makes them very competitive for local and national awards,” she added.

Dr. Amber Bates and Dr. Paula Gomez Hernandez are two such students. Bates just defended her dissertation last spring after working in Brogden’s lab for five years, and she is now a postdoctoral research associate in a cancer research center at the University of Wisconsin.

IMG_2505.JPG“My research on head and neck cancer in Dr. Brogden’s lab is what led me to become interested in cancer research,” Bates said.

Brogden, Bates said, “… is the type of mentor that everyone wishes they had, but are actually quite hard to find. Dr. Brogden realizes the benefits of transferrable skills and encourages his students to become effective communicators and develop a range of laboratory skills.”

Training the whole person—as a researcher, scientist, communicator, writer, and team member—is a hallmark of Brogden’s approach.

“Amber Bates is a great sign of success,” Brogden said as he beamed with pride. “Sending her on to an elite cancer research center shows what an excellent researcher she’s become.”

Gomez Hernandez, now a pediatric dentistry resident at the University of Iowa, completed her D.D.S. last spring and was a part of Brogden’s lab for the past four years in the Dental Student Research Program.

IMG_2146.JPGThe Dental Student Research Program provides opportunities for students to learn about cutting-edge research in the oral sciences, so that they are able to draw on those research skills in a clinical setting. Most Iowa dental graduates will practice in Iowa, and this research focus ensures that our graduates have the skills to learn about and evaluate new treatments and procedures so that they can always provide the best, cutting-edge care available throughout their careers.

For Gomez Hernandez, Brogden’s lab has made a great difference for her. She plans to stay involved in cancer research as she goes on to practice pediatric dentistry.

Like Bates, Gomez Hernandez sees Brogden as a mentor far beyond the lab. “He has taught me how to learn from every step in a research project. Even from unexpected results—to see the good that can come from even those circumstances. I think that’s made a difference for me professionally.”






Pediatric Dentistry Residents and Students Present to the IGrowClub

On Saturday, October 13, a few Pediatric Dentistry residents and dental students gave a presentation on oral health to IGrowClub, a group of parents and young children, at the Coralville Library. Dr. Katrina Goebel and Dr. Paula Gomez Hernandez (both first-year Pediatric Dentistry residents) delivered a PowerPoint presentation on oral health concepts for young children.  After the presentation, the volunteers participated in small groups where children and their parents lined up to interact with Dr. Goebel, Dr. Gomez Hernandez, and dental students Courtney Schulte-Wikan and Ashley Spooner. The children brushed the teeth of a puppet and asked questions to the volunteers.  Each child received a toothbrush and brushing calendar.  The children and their parents seemed to enjoy the event.

mmexport1540177215230.jpg Dr. Katrina Goebel and Dr. Paula Gomez Hernandez delivering a PowerPoint presentation on oral health concepts to a group of young children and their parents.







Gomez and Goebel.jpg Dr. Paula Gomez Hernandez and Dr. Katrina Goebel posed with some of the IGrowClub members at a recent outreach event.







mmexport1540177212265.jpg Fourth-year dental student Ashley Spooner interacting with children at a recent outreach event.









mmexport1540177210073.jpg Second-year dental student Courtney Schulte-Wikan helping children brush the puppet’s teeth.










New Employees

The College of Dentistry Welcomes Two New Employees in Family Dentistry

The Department of Family Dentistry would like to welcome Deborah Hellwig and Nick Deister to the College of Dentistry

Ms. Hellwig, a dental hygienist, comes to the college with many years of private practice experience, and she enjoys spending time with her husband and kids, is active in her church, and loves to cheer on the City High Little Hawks and eat scotcheroos. Please give Deborah  a warm welcome.

Mr. Deister, a dental technician in the senior lab, grew up in Olathe, Kansas, and he enjoys art, sports, and spending time with his girlfriend, family, and friends. Please stop in at the lab, S393, and introduce yourself.


Dr. Eman Ismail

Dr. Eman Ismail’s Poster Presentation wins First Place Award at SCAD

Dr. Eman Ismail, a Ph.D. candidate in the Oral Science Program, won a first place VITA Award for Research Excellence for her poster presentation at the 2018 Society for Color and Appearance in Dentistry (SCAD). Dr. Ismail’s poster, "Shade Correlation of Dental Composites with Variant Enamel Layer Thickness and Two VITA Shade Guides,” was co-authored by Dr. Rodrigo Rocha Maia (Operative) and Dr. Dawson (Pediatric Dentistry). Dr. Ismail also won a travel grant from the graduate senate office to support her poster presentation.

 Eman Ismail 1.jpg Ismail 2.jpg Left: Dr. Ismail presenting her poster. Right: Dr. Ismail receiving the first place award.







Pediatric Dentistry Student Group Participates in Recent STEM Festival

On October 10, the pediatric dentistry student group interacted with many children and their parents at the Johnson County STEM festival at the Kirkwood Regional Center in Coralville. The dental exhibit featured a newly developed interactive beverage display where participants arranged nine beverages in ascending order of sugar content. The participants were also asked to match amounts of sugar to each of the nine beverages. Over 1,300 people attended the STEM event and many who visited the dental exhibit commented how much they enjoyed it. Even Herky the Hawkeye stopped by to play the beverage game! The dental students who volunteered at the event were first-year students Emily Starman, McKenna Kilburg, second-year students Allyson Orwig, Turner Reid, Liz Skotowski, Chase Wedemeier, third-year students Steven Thrap, Adam Woroniecki and fourth-year student Ashley Spooner.

STEM 2 cropped.jpg Allyson Orwig, Liz Skotowski, Turner Reid and Chase Wedemeier pictured with children at the beverage display dental exhibit.







STEM 4.jpg Herky attempting to place the beverages in order of ascending sugar content.








STEM 7 cropped.jpg Emily Starman and McKenna Kilburg interacting with a child playing the beverage game.







2 Befeler STEM 2018.jpgSteven Thrap, Adam Woroniecki and Ashley Spooner interacting with a child at the dental exhibit.










Several Representatives from Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Attend the 100th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

On October 10-13, University of Iowa Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery faculty and chief residents attended the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons 100th Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois.  Just before the meeting on October 8-10, Dr. Richard Burton and Dr. Kyle Stein served as delegate and alternate delegate, respectively, to the AAOMS House of Delegates.  Dr. Stein also presented two lectures on “Third Molar Related Nerve Injuries.” Chief Resident Dr. William Morio presented a poster “The OmniMax MMF System: Preliminary Results of an Ongoing Study.”  This poster is based on a prospective, multi-center trial including Dr. Morio, Dr. Douglas Kendrick (national PI), and Dr. Stein (co-investigator).










Karen Kluesner

Karen Kluesner certified as a Clinical Research Coordinator and elected to Staff Council as a Research Representative

On October 5, Karen Kluesner passed her test to become a certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC). The Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) administers the exam, and taking it requires at least 3,000 hours of work as a clinical research coordinator. The ACRP reviewed Kluesner’s job description and a detailed CV before approving her to take the exam. The exam itself is based on current practice in clinical research and assesses a test-taker's body of knowledge and ability to apply that knowledge while conducting job duties and responsibilities.

The exam covers each of the following subject areas: Scientific Concepts and Research Design, Ethical and Participant Safety Considerations, Product Development and Regulation, Clinical Trial Operations (GCPs), Study and Site Management, and Data Management and Informatics.

According to the ACRP, certification “is making a difference in clinical research, driving site efficiency, establishing professionalism, setting the standard for quality, and defining the future of ethical, responsible clinical research.”​

Kluesner was also elected to Staff Council as a Research and Scientific Services Function Representative and she now serves as a member of the HR Committee as part of Staff Council. The HR committee addresses issues including but not limited to: furlough, temporary status, retraining, professional development, recognition, reallocation of staff due to organizational change, job reclassification and review, workplace safety, compensation, performance appraisals, staff benefits, policy revision/implementation, and various other issues brought forth by staff or administration.​ Kluesner joins Lisa Piper, who serves on the Diversity Committee, as the Dentistry Staff Council Organization Representatives. Here is the website people can go to find out more about staff council. If people have a concern they would like brought up to Staff Council they can contact Karen Kluesner or Lisa Piper.



The College of Dentistry Welcomes Kendra Bogert-Baird

Kendra Bogert-Baird is the new dental lab technician in Orthodontics. Kendra grew up in Drakesville, Iowa and lives in Lone Tree with her husband, Tyler. They enjoy spending time with their cat, Olive.

Kendra is a 2011 graduate of The University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics and a minor in metalsmithing, and a 2014 graduate of Utah State University with a Master of Fine Arts in ceramics. In her free time, Kendra owns and operates Iowa Clay, her ceramics business. 

Teddy Bear Clinic

Dental Students Participate in the UIHC Teddy Bear Clinic

On Saturday, October 6, some members of the Pediatric Dentistry Student Group volunteered at the UIHC Teddy Bear Clinic held at the Iowa River Landing.  In cooperation with the College of Medicine, the College of Dentistry has participated the past few years by setting up a dental booth along with other stations from the College of Medicine.  Children are invited to bring their teddy bears or dolls and rotate through the various stations.  At the dental booth, children simulate a dental visit for their teddy bears.  They use some of the tools used in a dental appointment.  The children are also given a toothbrush.  This event has always been a popular one and the children, families, and dental students seem to enjoy the experience.  The dental students participating this year were first-year dental students, Tam Au, McKenna Kilburg, David Rosenthal, Emily Starman, and fourth-year dental student Ashley Spooner.

Teddy Bear Clinic 5.jpg First-year dental student McKenna Kilburg helping a child perform a dental exam on her doll at the Teddy Bear Clinic














Dr. Peter Damiano Named to Morris Bernstein Professorship

On Friday, September 8, the College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics was delighted and honored to announce Dr. Peter Damiano as the new Morris Bernstein Professor of Dentistry.

Dr. Morris Bernstein (D.D.S., 1939) practiced as a dentist for several decades after receiving his D.D.S from the University of Iowa. Dean David Johnsen explained, “Dr. Bernstein was committed and fond of his patients. He showed me a very thick book of notes from admiring patients upon his retirement.”

Likewise, Dr. Bernstein was passionate about his commitment to the college. He provided a significant financial gift to support the mission of the college. Since research is a top strategic priority of the college, the Bernstein Professorship is dedicated to supporting that part of the college’s mission.

According to Dean Johnsen, “Peter Damiano exemplifies the spirit Dr. Bernstein valued: Commitment to students, the oral health of our state and country, curiosity and rigor in studying and developing health policy.  He has been relentless in these pursuits, including the mentoring of countless colleagues and students (and a few deans).”

Graciously, Dr. Damiano said of receiving the honor, ““I am personally very humbled and appreciative of this recognition. It is also a reflection of the outstanding colleagues at the College of Dentistry and Public Policy Center, and others with whom I’ve had the pleasure to collaborate with over the years. I have been very fortunate.”

The professorship was first established in 2008. Dr. Damiano is the second professor to hold this chair, following Dr. Deborah Dawson, who was the inaugural Bernstein Professor.


Dr. Katsaros and Dr. Avila-Ortiz awarded a $160K grant from Industry Partner

Geistlich Pharma AG awarded Dr. Theodoros Katsaros (the principal investigator; Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the Advanced Education Program in Periodontics) and Dr. Gustavo Avila-Ortiz (the subinvestigator; Professor and Chair, Department of Periodontics) a $160,000 grant in support of a clinical study, “Clinical, Radiographic and Histomorphometric Analysis of Healing Dynamics in Human Extraction Sockets Grafted with Bio-Oss Collagen®: A Prospective 3-year Post-loading Study.” The purpose of the study is to evaluate the healing of extraction sites in which ridge preservation was performed using Bio-Oss Collagen® at 3, 6 and 9 months post-extraction, as well as possible differences in implant survival and peri-implant tissue stability up to 3 years following delivery of final implant-supported prostheses. Dr. Miguel Romero-Bustillos (first-year Periodontics resident) participated in the conception study and will be responsible for the histomorphometric and radiographic (micro-CT) analysis. Dr. Veeratrishul Allareddy (OPRM) is also a member of the research team. Ms. Karen Kluesner will be the study coordinator. Patient screening and recruitment will begin in November 2018.


Ortega Verdugo

Delta Dental Awards Dr. Paula Ortega Verdugo a Graduate Student Thesis Grant

The proposed study will survey Iowa dentists to help determine if they are willing to use less invasive caries removal techniques, such as the stepwise removal procedure or selective caries removal, for extensive caries lesions. The study will use Conjoint Analysis, a novel approach in assessing health-care decision-making, and it is the third and final part of Dr. Ortega Verdugo’s dissertation for a Ph.D. in Oral Science. The study aims to assess the decision making of Iowa dentists regarding alternative caries removal techniques, ultimately providing significant information on dentists’ acceptance of less invasive caries removal methods while helping to identify barriers that prevent dentists from using these methods. Thus, the study will inform decision-makers about the most effective, both in terms of overall health and costs, way to allocate resources by promoting these lower-cost alternative approaches.


Congratulations to the 2018 Alumni Award Winners: Dr. Gerald Schleier, Dr. William Synan, and Dr. J. Leslie Winston

Schleier.jpg 2018 Dental Alumnus of the Year
Gerald H. Schleier, D.D.S.

Dr. Gerald H. Schleier was born in Albia, Iowa, on October 12, 1946. His family moved to rural Eddyville, Iowa, where he attended elementary and high school, graduating in 1965 as valedictorian of his class. His early leadership and citizenship skills were learned through 4-H as well as on the athletic field. 

Dr. Schleier attended Iowa State University on a baseball scholarship and later transferred to Central College in Pella, Iowa. He played baseball for four years and basketball for one year while in college. In 1969, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from Central. 

During his undergraduate years, Dr. Schleier enjoyed a variety of jobs. His father worked for John Deere in Ottumwa, Iowa. Dr. Schleier received Business Summer Internships with John Deere that covered a three-year period. He was later employed on the Quality Control and Laboratory Team for John Morrell and Company of Ottumwa for three summers. This experience, along with the fact that his uncle was a dentist, allowed him to arrive at the decision that he wanted to be a dentist and not work in industry.

Dr. Schleier received his D.D.S. in 1973 from the University of Iowa. He served as President of Psi Omega Dental Fraternity and in 1973 received the National Council’s Fraternal Achievement Award. While in dental school, he completed a summer dental internship with the Polk County Health Department in Des Moines, Iowa. The summer of his junior year, he was a dental intern at the Veterans Hospital Dental Clinic in Knoxville, Iowa.

In 1974, he completed a General Practice Residency at Moncrieff Army Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina. His next assignment was at Ft. Ritchie, Maryland, near Camp David. After three years of service, he attained the rank of Major and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service to his country. During his years of service, he additionally received training from the University of Maryland Dental School and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Upon completion of his military service, Dr. Schleier returned with his family to Iowa and established a private dental practice in Keokuk, Iowa, where he has practiced for the last 42 years.

While living in Keokuk, Dr. Schleier has served within many organizations. He is past president of the Keokuk Rotary Club and is a Paul Harris Fellow. He has served as President of All Saints Parish Church Council and the Keokuk Little League. He has been a board member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Keokuk Area Hospital, the Keokuk Park and Recreation Board, and the Mithelman Meadows Youth Residential Facility. Dr. Schleier has spent years coaching Little League Baseball and Softball as well as AAU Basketball. He has also found time to sing in the church choir and has been a member of the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion.

Professionally, Dr. Schleier is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), serving as State President of the Iowa AGD in 1987. He was elected President of the Southeast District of the Iowa Dental Association in 1983. Dr. Schleier is also a Fellow of the Pierre Fauchard Academy.

During 2009, Dr. Schleier was elected as a trustee of the Iowa Dental Association and served until 2015. He was also a member of many state committees over the years and was the IDA’s annual Program Chairman in 1999 and will do so again in 2019. 

Dr. Schleier completed many hours of continuing education at Iowa’s Dental College as well as at the Pankey Institute and Gordon Christiansen’s Center in Provo, Utah. He was a member of the Midwest Dental Study Club and was coordinator of the Keokuk Dental Study Club for over 20 years. Dr. Schleier has participated in the Iowa Mission of Mercy and provided dental care through the Give Kids A Smile Program, Donated Dental Services, and Doctors with a Heart.

Dr. Schleier has always been appreciative of the dental education he received from the University of Iowa. He has been a member of the University of Iowa’s Dental Alumni Association Board of Directors for many years and served as its President from 2014-2016. According to Dr. Schleier, “being an Iowa Dental Graduate is a great privilege.”

Dr. Schleier and his first wife, Joan, now deceased, raised three children, Sarah, Matthew, and Emily. All are University of Iowa graduates. His present wife, Dian, children’s spouses, and his four grandchildren have been a tremendous blessing for the entire family. All are great Hawkeye fans.

The University of Iowa Dental Alumni Association and the College of Dentistry recognize Dr. Gerald Schleier’s long and fruitful dental practice career and his commitment to the University, the College and to his class, and wish to honor him with the 2018 Alumnus of the Year Award.

Synan.jpg2018 Dental Educator of the Year
William J. Synan, D.D.S.

Dr. William J. Synan was born and raised in the Bronx, New York, the son of a United States Postal Service Manager and a stay-at-home mother and part-time neighborhood crossing guard. He attended Our Lady of Solace elementary school, the same school that TV talk show host, Regis Philbin, attended. Dr. Synan attended Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx where he discovered his interest in the sciences. He was inducted into the National Honor Society and played football and Babe Ruth Baseball.

Dr. Synan subsequently attended Fordham University on an academic scholarship. He commuted to school on a daily basis either by bus or by foot. During college he had several jobs -- delivering food for an Italian restaurant, working for Western Union International Headquarters and night shift as a doorman in midtown Manhattan. Dr. Synan majored in biology and chose to be a predental student even though his academic advisor was recommending premedical. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1979 and was also inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.

Dr. Synan attended Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery. He is forever grateful to his grandfather and friends for their support during dental school. His grandfather was his denture patient, his best friend and elementary schoolmate was his gold inlay patient, and a nursing student friend was his class II amalgam patient for the board exam.

Following his 1983 graduation from dental school, Dr. Synan entered a general practice residency program at Bronx Municipal Hospital/Albert Einstein Medical Center. A significant portion of his residency involved oral surgery, and he came to the conclusion that this is what he wanted to do.

He accepted an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency position at the State University-Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, New York. Shortly before he began his oral surgery residency, Dr. Synan was introduced on a blind date to Ann Powers. They became engaged at Windows on the World at the top of the World Trade Center and were married in 1985. As residency drew to a close, Dr. Synan looked for additional training opportunities in the area of orthognathic surgery. He was aware of just one fellowship in St. Louis until his former Chief Resident, Dr. Neal Futran, paid a visit to Kings County and told Dr. Synan of a one-year fellowship at the University of Iowa.

Dr. Synan, Ann, and their newborn daughter, Katy, moved to Iowa in 1987. He spent the majority of his time at the University Hospital but also some time at the College of Dentistry and the VA hospital. In addition to the orthognathic experiences, he also had the pleasure of spending the year with a Visiting Professor from Sweden, Dr. Ragnar Adell. Dr. Adell was internationally known for his expertise pertaining to dental implant surgery, specifically Branemark implants. Dr. Synan and his family moved back to New York at the completion of the fellowship, and Dr. Synan felt he would eventually return to Iowa.

Dr. Synan was an associate in private practice in New York for about 18 months when he had a conversation with a former adjunct professor at Columbia University, Dr. Louis Loscalzo. Dr. Loscalzo was the Chief of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Bronx Veterans Administration and informed Dr. Synan that he was going to retire and recommended that he apply for the position. He did and subsequently served as Chief of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for the VA for five years.

By 1994 Bill and Ann had three children and a faculty position became available at the College of Dentistry. After some discussion, a little bit of soul searching, and some coincidental events, they decided to move back to Iowa and have never regretted their decision.

Dr. Synan joined the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in 1994. He has served as predoctoral director of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the College of Dentistry since then.

Over the past 24 years, Dr. Synan has served as the course director for four predoctoral courses, Anesthesia and Pain Control I and II, Basic Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and Clinical Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. He has also been a lecturer for several other courses and a clinical instructor in the Implant Clinic, College of Dentistry Oral Surgery Clinic, and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

He has been a presenter at more than 10 continuing education courses. He helped to establish the Local Anesthesia for Dental Hygienists Continuing Education Course. He has been the course director since 1999.

He was recognized for his teaching contributions by receiving the 1999 Instructor of the Year Award, the 2002 Collegiate Teaching Award, the 2004 Instructor of all Four Years, and the 2007 James H. and Hermine E. McLeran Faculty Award.

Dr. Synan has served on numerous committees at the College of Dentistry. These have included the Admissions Committee, Clerkship Directors Committee, Faculty Promotion Advisory Committee, Omicron Kappa Upsilon (past president), and Clinic Management Committee to name a few.

He has been author and coauthor of two book chapters and several journal articles. Nationally, he has served as an item writer for the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons in Training Examination Committee. He served as an officer and councilor for the section of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Anesthesia, and Hospital Dentistry for the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) from 2002-2007. From 2008-2013 he was a member of the Faculty Section Committee for the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS). Dr. Synan served as a member of the ADEA Liaison Committee for AAOMS.

In 2005 Dr. Synan was appointed to the Examination Committee of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. He proudly served on the Committee until 2015 when he was recognized for 10 years of dedicated service. In 2008, he earned recognition by the Committee for Best Case Submissions in Surgery Section I for the oral certification examination.

Bill and Ann have three children, Katy, Mariel, and Nicholas, who work in Omaha and New York City. 

The University of Iowa Dental Alumni Association and the College of Dentistry are pleased to recognize Dr. Synan’s accomplishments by awarding him the 2018 Educator of the Year Award.

Winston.jpg2018 Leadership of the Year
J. Leslie Winston, D.D.S., Ph.D.

Originally from Chicago, Dr. Winston has lived in the Midwest her entire life, including living in three separate Iowa cites (Iowa City, Waterloo and Des Moines). Her father was a neurosurgeon and her mother a nurse, so she grew up with an interest in the health profession. She made the decision to be a dentist by attending a Boy Scout’s Explorers Club for dental careers and spending time in the operating room with an oral surgeon in Des Moines, Dr. Bob Moore. She is a graduate of Valley High School in West Des Moines and received her BS in chemistry from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. While at UNL she had an opportunity to work in a biochemistry lab introducing her to the scientific life and changing her career path forever.

Dr. Winston decided to attend dental school at the University of Iowa because it provided her with an opportunity to pursue her interest in research while being a dental student. She quickly identified a research mentor (Dr. Murray Hill) and spent many evenings and weekends studying and running cell culture experiments to understand wound healing in the Dows Institute (now the Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research). While a dental student, she received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) short-term research training grant and the Max Smith Young Investigator Award from the Iowa Section of American Association for Dental Research (AADR) for her research. She also began serving a leadership role in research nationally by serving as the National President of the Student Section of the AADR. While at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics she also was inducted into Omicron Kappa Upsilon, received the Frank Mosberry Award in Periodontology and received both Outstanding Scholar and Dean’s Leadership awards.

Upon graduation from Iowa with her D.D.S. in 1988, Dr. Winston received a 5-year Dentist Scientist Award from the National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) and decided to pursue her specialty training in periodontology and a Ph.D. in Oral Biology at the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB). While at UB, she discovered a love for oral microbiology and most importantly her classmate, Dr. Aaron Biesbrock, who was also studying perio along with salivary genetics. While at UB, Dr. Winston held a faculty appointment and taught clinical perio and preventive dentistry to dental students and GPR residents along with microbial genetics to students in the postgraduate specialty training programs.  Following her Dentist Scientist program, Dr. Winston was awarded a National Service Research Award from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) as well as a Young Investigator Award from the American Academy of Periodontology.

While Dr. Winston envisioned a career for herself in academic dentistry, dual career opportunities were few in the mid-1990’s in academia and both Drs. Winston and Biesbrock had an opportunity to continue their research interests in the clinical research department of the Oral Care Division of Procter & Gamble. It was highly unusual at the time for dentist scientists to work in the dental industry but she saw the potential to learn a new area, clinical research, and decided to give it a try. Over the next 23 years, Dr. Winston has worked in clinical research, technology development and professional & scientific relations. One of the bonuses of working in a company is the opportunity to see your ideas come to life in market. Dr. Winston was part of the team that brought Crest toothpaste to China, giving her the opportunity to visit China over 30 times and influencing government officials on the critical need for fluoride toothpaste well in advance of their shift to more Western diets and treating periodontal diseases. She is especially proud of Crest Pro-Health toothpastes and Oral-B Electric Toothbrushes and sharing the strong science behind the technologies via publications and speaking opportunities.

While working at P&G, Dr. Winston has also practiced periodontology for over 20 years in a family practice in Cincinnati. She prioritized practice, as seeing patients is essential for staying current on the dental practice environment and what dental professionals and their patients need.  

Currently, Dr. Winston is Director of Global Oral Care Professional & Clinical Operations, Health Care Statistics & Data Management. She is responsible for identifying research development projects and technologies that will help support and improve the oral health of the worlds’ consumers. She works tirelessly to coordinate industry-sponsored funding with promising research and technology. Her current role involves interfacing with regulatory bodies, dental associations, dental academic institutions and other stakeholders in the oral health community. Dr. Winston has served on two advisory councils at NIH, both the NIDCR Advisory Council and NIH Council of Councils influencing the critical need for public-private partnerships to address our biggest oral health issues. She advocates for increased funding for dental and craniofacial research with lawmakers and drives ongoing messaging on the urgent need to tie learnings in the lab/clinic to patient behavior change to drive meaningful, sustained changes in oral health via direct to patient dissemination plans. She has also served on the American Dental Association (ADA) Foundation Board along with their Science Subcommittee to drive tighter links between dental practice and the latest scientific evidence.   

Dr. Winston and her husband, Dr. Aaron Biesbrock, have two children. Their son, Kellen, is starting his junior year at The Ohio State University and is majoring in biomedical engineering and their daughter Devin is a senior in high school currently deciding where to attend college and play basketball. The University of Iowa Dental Alumni Association and the College of Dentistry recognize Dr. Winston’s many accomplishments and are pleased to honor her with the 2018 Leadership of the Year Award.

Casi Heeren

The College of Dentistry Welcomes Cassandra Heeren

The Department of Oral and Maxillofacial is delighted to introduce our new secretary, Cassandra Heeren. Casi was previously employed by United Fire and Casualty Insurance. She lives in Cedar Rapids with her son, Eli, and has recently become engaged to fiancé, Ran. They enjoy traveling, and Casi and Ran enjoy painting with oils and acrylics. Welcome Casi!




Dental students, faculty, and staff traveled to Sioux City to provide free dental care as part of the Iowa Mission of Mercy

The Iowa Mission of Mercy (IMOM) is an annual, large scale, community dental clinical where dental professionals and others volunteer to provide free oral health care to those who face barriers to receiving dental care. Since 2008, almost 15,000 patients from all areas of the state and beyond have received free dental care totaling over $9 million.

This year, the Iowa Mission of Mercy was held October 5-6 at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, IA, and University of Iowa faculty, staff, and students were vital for making this outreach event a success!

“Our 11th Iowa Mission of Mercy was very successful this year in Sioux City,” said Dr. Patricia Meredith, the dental chief for the Iowa Mission of Mercy. She continued, “We provided nearly $600,000 worth of free dental care to 793 unique patients. Although Sioux City is a long way from Iowa City, the College of Dentistry was well represented. Thank you to all the students, faculty and staff that carried the day for this IMOM!!”

Included below are some excerpts from patients:

“I am so grateful to the Iowa Mission of Mercy free dental clinic. The volunteers went out of their way to make you feel comfortable. Without this kind of event, many of us would not be able to get the care needed. I would like to add a big thank you from the bottom of my heart.  The next time this event is in town, I will gladly volunteer to help others in need.” (Reported in the Iowa Dental Journal, 10/9/2018)

“I appreciate everyone in the community - all of the staff and volunteers - because if we didn't have everybody working together, we wouldn't have an event like this in Sioux City.” (Reported in the Iowa Dental Journal, 10/9/2018)

“It's a lot of money that I don't have to spend out of my own pocket and it's just really nice that they (dentists) volunteer and do this out of the goodness of their hearts.” (Reported in the Iowa Dental Journal, 10/9/2018)

“One of Saturday's patients was Danny Dalton, who has had dental issues since he was kicked in the mouth 15 years ago, leading to a number of damaged and broken teeth. Add onto this a phobia of the dentist, and Dalton faced a dental nightmare. 

Several of Dalton's teeth were replaced with so-called "flippers" (temporary acrylic partial dentures). After his procedure, he smiled into a mirror handed to him by Fort Dodge dentist Nicholas Drzycimski. 

Dalton said that, while he was very nervous at first, the friendly volunteers kept him calm and helped him through the procedure. The removal of several of his teeth, he said, didn't even hurt much. Article from Sioux City Journal, 10/6/2018

Pictures from IMOM:

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Pre-dental club

Seventy Undergraduates Participated in the October Pre-Dental Club Meeting

On Tuesday, October 2, the University of Iowa Pre-Dental Club hosted its second meeting of the semester and its first hands-on activity.  Almost seventy undergraduate students crowded into Galagan auditorium and the Bench Lab to learn about the admissions process and DAT preparation, while getting a hands-on lesson on waxing.  Dental students Matt Rohlf (D3), Thanh Nguyen (D3), Nathan Keck (D1), and Grant McCaulley (D4) encouraged and coached the undergraduate students in their waxing endeavors.  Matt Rohlf (D3) and Rachael Kowbel, Director of Dental Student Admissions, advise the Pre-Dental Club.  If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the club, please email Rachael-Kowbel@uiowa.edu.   










Jean Redlinger

Years of Service Awards Presented at the annual Family Dentistry Faculty Conference Day

Dr. Chris Barwacz, Dr. Marcela Hernandez, and Dr. Brian Howe were presented with awards commemorating their 5 years of services to the college.

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Jean Redlinger was presented with an award commemorating her 15 years of service.

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Dr. Steven Clark and James Maas were presented with awards commemorating their 20 years of service

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Becky Wageman was presented with an award commemorating her 25 years of service.

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Dr. Robert Marlin was presented with an award commemorating his 30 years of service.

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Dr. Larry Squire was presented with an award commemorating his 40 years of service.

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Hongli Sun

Dr. Hongli Sun Awarded An Almost $300K Multiyear Grant

Dr. Hongli Sun was awarded a multiyear grant for a project entitled, “Functionalized Nanofibrous Scaffold for Endogenous Bone Regeneration.” The long-term goal of Dr. Sun’s research is to develop an effective strategy to repair and regeneration large bone defects. This work will revolutionize how major bone defects—whether they are caused by breaks or genetic defects, among other causes—can be clinically treated and repaired. This particular project is a step toward designing an effective strategy—a biomimetic gelatin nanofibrous scaffold—for delivering therapeutic molecules at a designated location so that one can more effectively bring out the natural regenerative properties of these tissues. More particularly, Dr. Sun’s team will investigate whether this particular scaffold can modulate endogenous bone morphogenetic proteins and angiogenic signals so that bone defects are repaired and regenerated.

Dr. Sun’s research team includes Dr. Brad Amendt, Dr. Kyle Stein, and Dr. Erliang Zeng.

Mustafa Tattan

Dr. Mustafa Tattan Presents Groundbreaking Research as Invited Speaker at AAOMR

On September 14, Dr. Mustafa Tattan, currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Oral Science and a certificate in periodontics at the University of Iowa, delivered an invited main session lecture at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (AAOMR). The lecture was based on his participation in collaborative groundbreaking research on the use of ultrasounds for periodontal evaluations and implant dentistry. Dr. Tattan’s studies explore how ultrasound technology can improve periodontal diagnosis and implant treatment planning. The proposed application of ultrasound presents promising data towards favorable comparability  to the currently best available tools for clinical diagnosis and therapeutic application. Dr. Debra Gander, the president of the AAOMR, has indicated that the research is innovative and unprecedented.

Jacki Knorr

The College of Dentistry Welcomes Jacki Knorr and Megan Petersen as Support Services Managers

Jacki Knorr is a new Support Services Manager supervising the Front Desk Clerks in Clinical Administration. Jacki grew up in Garner, IA and currently lives in North Liberty with her husband and two kids: Hunter (10) and Lexi (7). She received her BA in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from the University of Iowa. Jacki has worked in healthcare for over 15 years. In her free time, Jacki enjoys exercising and spending time with her family and friends.  


Petersen_Megan_090418_200x300.jpg Megan Petersen is also a new Support Services Manager supervising the Front Desk Clerks in Clinical Administration. Megan grew up in Blue Grass, Iowa and has lived in the Iowa City area since 2007. She received her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Iowa in 2015. She has worked for the University for 7 years, mostly in the hospital setting until joining the College of Dentistry. She now lives in Solon with her husband, Ross, and 2-year old daughter, Andi. In her free time, Megan enjoys boating, playing with her daughter, and spending time with family and friends.



McLeran Award

Dr. Terry Lindquist Receives 2018 McLeran Award

Known as an excellent teacher and mentor who models the very best of patient-centered care, Dr. Terry Lindquist began her thirty-seven year career in the oral health sciences in a Periodontics clinic in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Dr. Gary O’Connor was the dentist at that clinic, and his patient-centered approach left a lasting impression on Dr. Lindquist—particularly his positive portrayal of how he could support patients reaching their goals. “Being positive with patients empowers them to get where they need to be,” said Dr. Lindquist. This mindset carried over into Dr. O’Connor’s relationship with his employees where, in his characteristically positive manner, he encouraged Dr. Lindquist to continue her education.

Like Dr. O’Connor, Dr. Lindquist continues to draw a close connection between her work as a clinician and an educator. After five years as a dental hygienist, she came to the University of Iowa for dental school and graduated with her D.D.S. in 1990. She completed her General Practice Residency at Emory in 1991 and her Prosthodontics Residency and a master’s degree in Oral Sciences from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1994. Later that same year, she returned to the University of Iowa College of Dentistry as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics, and she was promoted to Associate Professor in 2001. Dr. Julie Holloway, the chair of Dr. Lindquist’s department, said that Dr. Lindquist embodies “the truest essence of what it is to be an outstanding Professor at the University of Iowa; with the deepest commitment to teaching, patient care, and professional development.”

As an educator, Dr. Lindquist aims to be a role-model of what it means to be an excellent dentist, complete with technical competence and a desire to be a caring dentist who looks out for the welfare of each individual patient. Dr. Lindquist’s primary teaching responsibility is to instruct and mentor third-year dental students during their prosthodontics clerkship. Dr. Julie Holloway said, “This is without a doubt the most challenging clerkship in the college from both the student and faculty perspectives.” Dr. Lindquist models for these students how to approach and manage each clinical case. She shows them how to approach clinical situations by “breaking up the entire process into discrete steps,” Dr. Lindquist said, “so that students can absorb and perform them on their own.” The goal, Dr. Lindquist explained, was not for a student to acquire the knowledge of this particular case; rather, it was for them to know why each part of the process was done so that they learn how to apply the general principles to a much wider group of cases.

Dr. Lindquist also uses her time with students to educate her students’ patients. As she and her students discuss what they see, patients can learn about their oral health and how they can accomplish what they want. Dr. Lindquist encourages her students to continue this practice in their own clinics, verbally describing what they see to their dental assistants. For Dr. Lindquist and her students, patient-centered care is not simply listening to and following the lead of your patient—though that is, of course, essential—but it also includes presenting options in a positive manner that empowers and supports patients.

Among her numerous other collegiate and professional responsibilities, Dr. Lindquist also leads a Thursday lunch meeting with new prosthodontics faculty members discussing clerkship requirements, conducting calibration exercises, and developing educational strategies, and she has played a vital role in the college’s accreditation process.

Dr. Lindquist is also active in the larger profession as a member of the American Dental Educational Association, the American Prosthodontic Society, the American College of Prosthodontists, and the American Dental Association (ADEA). She also served as President of the Removable Prosthodontics Section of ADEA, and in 2015, she was awarded the James H. McLeran and John C. Montgomery Pierre Fauchard Academy Award, which recognized her service to the college and to the profession as a whole.

Because of Dr. Terry Lindquist’s excellence as an educator and her commitment to patient-centered care, it is our great honor to award Dr. Terry Lindquist the 2018 James H. and Hermine E. McLeran Faculty Award.

Brad Amendt

Drs. Adil Akkouch, Brad A. Amendt and Liu Hong Awarded A Two-Year $152K Grant

The College of Dentistry’s on-going research in the use of stem cells for growing and regenerating bone material holds great promise for tooth and craniofacial reconstruction. Being able to regrow bone material without the need for extensive reconstructive surgery would revolutionize these fields. Building on this body of research, Dr. Amendt’s research team received a two-year $152,500 R03 grant titled “Hybrid 3D bioprinting of bone using microRNA-based bioink.”

The project investigates a novel way to biofabricate vascular bone material by means of 3D bioprinting. That is, the research team will investigate whether a 3D printed osteoinductive construct acting as a delivery system for both for miR-200c and miR-200a inhibitor will safely and effectively regenerate bone by improving osteogenic differentiation and new blood vessel formation. The novel bioink used in the printing will help resolve technical issues that have impeded both gene delivery and the spatial distribution of cell within biofabricated grafts. This project is a fundamental step towards translating miRs gene therapy and 3D bioprinting technology from the laboratory bench to the clinical bedside.

Both Dr. Liu Hong and Dr. Adil Akkouch (a former post-doc in the IIOHR) collaborated with Dr. Amendt as part of the research team.

Peter Damiano

Dr. Peter Damiano to receive Iowa PCA 2018 Underserved Champion Award

Dr. Peter Damiano will be presented with the 2018 Underserved Champion Award by the Iowa Primary Care Association (Iowa PCA).

The author of more than 200 journal articles and research monographs and the principal investigator on more than 75 funded research studies, Dr. Damiano's primary research focus is studying access to and the quality of primary care services, particularly dental care.

This award recognizes Dr. Damiano’s on-going impact on the Iowa health care system, specifically regarding increased access to quality, affordable health care for all Iowans.

Previous year’s champions have included the following:

2017 Iowa Legal Aid

2016 University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics

2015 Joe Bolkom, State Senator

2014 Amanda Ragan, State Senator and Linda Upmeyer, State Representative

2013 Iowa Prescription Drug Corporation

2012 Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation

2011 Jennifer Vermeer, Director, Iowa Medicaid Enterprise

2010 Bruce Braley, U.S. Congressman

2009 Chris Atchison, University of Iowa

2008 Ro Foege, State Representative

2007 Dave Heaton, State Representative and Jim Leach, U.S. Congressman

2006 Jack Hatch, State Senator

2005 Dr. Bery Engebretsen, Executive Director, Primary Health Care, Inc.

2004 Tom Harkin, U.S. Senator

Geriatric App

Dr. Leonardo Marchini Develops New Mobile App to Improve Oral Health Among Older Adults

The research of Dr. Leonardo Marchini and several other faculty members has shown that older adults who are unable to brush their own teeth often do not receive adequate oral care from care providers. Researchers have experimented with various interventions and educational strategies to improve oral health care for these vulnerable populations, but those strategies are often not particularly successful (e.g., Marchini, et. al., "Iowa facility oral hygiene (INFOH) intervention: A clinical and microbiological pilot randomized trial"). 

About four years ago, Dr. Marchini, along with a team of specialists in geriatrics, geriatric oral health, and information technology, began developing an app that could help caregivers provide good oral hygiene to older adults. This initiative was funded through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U1QHP28731, Interprofessional Strategic Healthcare Alliance for Rural Education (iSHARE), led by the Iowa Geriatric Education Center. It was designed for caregivers to access the vast resources available on an as-needed basis in the course of their caregiving responsibilities. Dr. Marchini, Dr. Howard Cowen, and Dr. Jennifer Hartshorn provided the oral health expertise for the app, while Dr. Sato Ashida (College of Public Health) ensured the language was accessible for a lay audience. 

The long-term aim is to improve older adults' oral health; in the future, they plan to study whether this app is helpful in achieving that goal. 

The app was just released in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.


Homecoming 2018

Homecoming Week is October 15–20

Homecoming Week is October 15-20. More details will be coming about the various festivities, but there are two events to note now.

First, the College of Dentistry will be holding its annual “The Spirit of the Hawkeye” competition where offices will be decorated and rated based on creativity and use of the 2018 Homecoming Theme, From Kinnick to the Kids, 100 years of Building TraditionTo have your office compete in the competition, please RSVP by September 24. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Cheyenne Hebner.

Second, the university is offering a Faculty and Staff Appreciation Luncheon. The luncheon will be held Tuesday, October 16, from 11:00 a.m–1:00 p.m. in the Second Floor Ballroom of the IMU. Please RSVP by September 24.

As other events are announced, this page will be updated.

Butterfly Mosque

All College Book Read

The College of Dentistry will be discussing the book The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman’s Journey to Love and Islam by G. Willow Wilson.  

 All students, residents, staff, and faculty are invited to attend.  

 G. Willow Wilson, he author was at the University of Iowa during Fall 2017.  This book (and her comic series—Ms. Marvel) has been read by many colleges on campus.  Her book was the 2017 selection for the One Community, One Book program sponsored by the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights.    

New Date:  Wednesday, October 3

Time:  12:00–1:00 p.m.

Location:  TBD

Please RSVP by Wednesday, Sept. 26 to michelle-mcquistan@uiowa.edu so the appropriate amount of lunch can be ordered. 

Description of the book:

The Butterfly Mosque, journalist G. Willow Wilson’s remarkable story of converting to Islam and falling in love with an Egyptian man in a volatile post–9/11 world, was praised as “an eye-opening look at a misunderstood and often polarizing faith” (Booklist) and “a tremendously heartfelt, healing crosscultural fusion” (Publishers Weekly).

Inspired by her experience during a college Islamic Studies course, Wilson, who was raised an atheist, decides to risk everything to convert to Islam and embark on a fated journey across continents and into an uncertain future. She settles in Cairo, where she attempts to submerge herself in a culture based on her adopted religion and where she meets Omar, a man with a mild resentment of the Western influences in his homeland. They begin a daring relationship that calls into question the very nature of family, belief, and tradition. Torn between the secular West and Muslim East, Wilson records her intensely personal struggle to forge a “third culture” that might accommodate her values without compromising them or the friends and family on both sides of the divide.

Part travelogue, love story, and memoir, The Butterfly Mosque is a brave, inspiring story of faith—in God, in each other, in ourselves, and in the ability of relationships to transcend cultural barriers and exist above the evils that threaten to keep us apart.


Conference participants

Several Faculty Members Attended the Annual AAC/CAMBRA Conferences

The University of Iowa College of Dentistry was represented by Natalia Restrepo-Kennedy, Cristina De Mattos Pimenta Vidal, Teresa Marshall, Marsha Cunningham, Joyce Francois, Ana Elasville, Karina Barizon, Steve Armstrong, Karen Baker and Sandra Guzman Armstrong at the annual conferences of the American Academy of Cariology (AAC) and Caries Management by Risk Assessment (CAMBRA), which were held jointly in Denver on August 16-17, 2018.

Drs. Barizon and Elasville are graduates of Iowa’s Operative Residency program and are currently on faculty at the University of Colorado’s School of Dental Medicine in Aurora, CO.

Dr. Guzman-Armstrong is the Secretary and founder of the AAC. Dr. Baker presented on Medical and Dental Perspectives on Xerostomia and Hyposalivation during the CAMBRA session 

Faculty attendance was supported by funding from CAMBRA and the Finkelstein Centennial Teaching Professorship.

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Stork Expo

Pediatric Dentistry Participates in the 4th Annual Stork Storytime Expo

On Sunday, August 26, the Department of Pediatric Dentistry represented the College of Dentistry at the 4th Annual Stork Storytime Expo held at the North Liberty Recreation Center.  The Stork Storytime Expo featured a large group of businesses and non-profit organizations that provide services, screenings and educational materials for families with young children.  The volunteers from pediatric dentistry provided dental screenings and oral hygiene supplies to children and valuable oral health information to parents, including toothbrushing recommendations and the proper amount of fluoride toothpaste to use.  Pediatric dentistry faculty member Cathy Skotowski, pediatric dentistry residents Drs. Alison Christensen, Paula Gomez, Kirstina Gratz, Katrina Goebel, and Liz Wilkinson and dental students Ashley Spooner and Beth Pfohl volunteered at the event.

BabyFair group.jpgVolunteers at the 4th Annual Stork Storytime Expo pictured from left to right, pediatric dentistry first-year residents Drs. Alison Christensen and Paula Gomez, fourth-year dental students Beth Pfohl and Ashley Spooner, pediatric dentistry second-year residents Drs. Kirstina Gratz and Liz Wilkinson, and pediatric dentistry faculty member Cathy Skotowski.




Alanna Keating

The College of Dentistry Welcomes Alanna Keating

The Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is pleased introduce Alanna Keating as our new dental assistant. Alanna previously worked at Periodontal Associates of Eastern Iowa. She lives in North Liberty with her husband, Thomas, who is a personal trainer at Performance Health and Fitness, and their two cats. They enjoy spending as much time as possible with family and friends, and going to the shooting range. They will celebrate their first wedding anniversary September 10. Welcome, Alanna!


Donte Nesbit

Third-year dental student Donte Nesbitt's Charge to the Incoming First-Year Dental Students

Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Donte Nesbitt and I am currently a third-year student at the college of dentistry. I am a member of the Dental Student Research Group, the Dental Public Health Distinction Track, the Student Advisory Board, and I serve as the D3 Class President. Today, however, I am here to welcome each of you as the President-Elect of our Student Government, IASDA. First off, congratulations to each of you. Next week you will begin a four-year roller coaster ride each day inching closer to a dream I’m sure many of you have held for years. While the next four years will bring you incredible challenges and periodic hardships, it will also be some of the most valuable years of your life and career. Dental School will push you beyond where you believe your limits are and reveal the true depth of your resiliency. Dental School will serve as the conduit which will foster some of your most loyal friendships. It will guide your personal growth both emotionally and intellectually. And it will provide countless opportunities for professional development which will serve to bolster your readiness and effectiveness to lead a future dental practice.

Throughout your four years here, I encourage you to stretch yourself. Use your time here to not only hone your clinical and didactic skills, but also to grow those professional and interpersonal skills that will allow you to be a revered leader in your community. Get involved, volunteer, build relationships with individuals outside your friend group, take chances, ask questions, do more. We are only given these four years to go from students to Doctorsexperts of the head and neck caring for the whole of a person. Make the most of it.

To the Parents, Spouses, Children, and supporters here today; on behalf of your student, thank you. The road to this opportunity was not an easy one and you all were there aiding us along the way. Fortunately, or not, your work on that front is not over. The student by your side is about to embark on one of the most rigorous academic programs one can. Please, be as supportive as you can. This does not always mean financially, though I am sure they’re each cursing me right now for saying that. For me, my most precious mechanism of support comes from my grandmother. Whenever she knows that I am getting a bit overwhelmed or it’s just been awhile, she sends me a cardand in that card she includes a copy of one of my favorite dinner recipes she makes along with the $15-20 needed to buy those ingredients. It’s an incredibly small gesture, but the value of this gift is priceless to me and completely lifts my spirits. But remember, not everyone receives support the same way – that is what works for me; but perhaps your student really values a phone call, or a quick weekend visit, or, for some, just some time alone.

Rest assured however, students, you are not alone. Sitting around you are 79 other people going through the exact same trials. Lean on each other. You cannot do this alone, nor can you do this if you are tearing each other down. My class has found incredible success by being friends-first, classmates-second, competitors-never. I truly think this is the best piece of advice I can give you. I have seen first-hand the detrimental effects that a lack of class cohesiveness can have. You will not succeed without the help of your classmates. Avoid cliques, gossip, and exclusivity – strive toward togetherness, teamwork, and camaraderie. In addition, the college of dentistry is a community of 320 individuals each pushing toward the same goal and 240 of those students have been exactly where you are in your struggles. Reach out to upperclassmen when you have questions. I can make a personal promise to always be a resource to you all if needed. Feel free to stop me in the hall, send me a Facebook message, or email me if you need any advice, have questions, or just want to chat. I can’t wait to get to know you all more closely and if I cannot answer your question myself, I will direct you to where you need.  All I can say from here, is congratulations on getting here, buckle-in and hold on tightWelcome to the University of Iowa College of Dentistry.  

Block Party

The College of Dentistry Welcomes New UI Students at the Block Party

Following academic convocation on Sunday, August 29, droves of first-year students began to pour down Clinton Street heading toward the President’s House for the University of Iowa Block Party—an annual event for incoming first-year students. For eight years, the College of Dentistry has participated in the block party by distributing toothbrushes and welcoming new students. The college sent 37 volunteers, primarily dental students and members of the pre-dental club, and those volunteers passed out more than 3,400 toothbrushes. Many students asked for information on joining the pre-dental club and to look at the sugary drink display. Additional photos and a video are available on the College of Dentistry's Facebook page.

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Dr. Elangovan and Dr. Avila-Ortiz Lend Their Expertise to the Academy of Osseointegration

Drs. Satheesh Elangovan and Gustavo Avila-Ortiz (periodontics), participated with other experts in osseointegration for the 4th quadrennial Academy of Osseointegration (AO) Summit held in Oak Brook, IL on August 9-10. The Summit was chaired by Dr. Clark Stanford, Dean of the College of Dentistry at University of Illinois in Chicago and former Associate Dean for Research at our college. The focus of this Summit was 'Optimized Patient Care: From Osseointegration to Patientintegration.’ A total of 60 world experts, divided in three working groups, attended this event. Dr. Elangovan’s group was focused on ‘Inflammation and Osseointegration’, while Dr. Avila-Ortiz’s group worked on ‘Osseointegration and Systemic Conditions and Medications’. The proceedings of this Summit will be published in The International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants in early 2019.


Students in Dr. Butali’s Lab Win Best Peer-Reviewed Presentation Award

Each summer, the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Iowa hosts the Secondary Student Training Program (SSTP). High school students from all over the U.S. and around the world apply to participate in the SSTP, and after a competitive selection process, students will spend around 40 hours working in a lab with a designated mentor.

The College of Dentistry participates in the program, and Dr. Azeez Butali regularly serves as a mentor for students in the program. Those students join Dr. Butali’s lab for a week, conduct research, and present their research in a poster presentation at the end of the week. The poster presentations are evaluated by a panel of judges, and for two years running, Dr. Butali’s students have won “Best Peer-Reviewed” presentation awards.

In 2017, Cynthia Lo won the award and in 2018, Sagar Gupta won the award.

Butali Student.jpg Sagar Gupta with his poster and award.








John Warren

Dr. John J. Warren Receives 2018 Collegiate Teaching Award

At the All-College Conference held on Monday, August 13, Dr. John J. Warren received the 2018 Collegiate Teaching Award. The award is given to a faculty member who exhibits an “outstanding contribution to dental students’, graduate students’ or residents’ intellectual and professional development.”

Dr. Warren earned his D.D.S. from the University of Iowa in 1986, and he began teaching in the college shortly thereafter in 1989. Since that time, Dr. Warren has established a reputation as an organized, collaborative, and approachable educator dedicated to putting the needs of others ahead of his own desires. He has had a wide range of clinical and didactic teaching responsibilities, including the Preventative Dentistry Clinic course for second-year dental students and three graduate courses—Introduction to Statistical Computing; Research Protocol Seminar, and Dental Public Health Field Experience II. He has also mentored several research projects, chairing ten Master’s theses, sitting on two dissertation committees, and mentoring nineteen pre-doctoral student research projects. Additionally, he has served as the graduate program director in dental public health for thirteen years.

Dr. Warren has also been a champion for teaching students to research—both here at the college and nationally. Not only does he teach the research methods courses at the college, but he was assistant director for the Student Research Program at the college for thirteen years, and he has been the AADR National Student Research Group faculty advisor for five years. Regarding Dr. Warren’s role as a research mentor, one student said, “Dr. Warren is always available to help students—he has always been there to help me through the proposals, presentations, and details of my projects…even when we are working right up to a deadline. More importantly, he encourages me to understand the work I do, and this has given me a great appreciation for my research.” One excellent indication of Dr. Warren’s impact on the college through his teaching is that several of his former students have even gone on to become faculty members at the college, including Dr. Cindy O’Toole, Dr. Justine Kolker, and Dr. Kecia Leary.

In the classroom or teaching in the clinic, Dr. Warren is known for his meticulous preparation; his excellent knowledge of the subject matter; his ability to distill complex information into useable, practical information for students; and his desire to continually refine and improve his teaching. “I’m not sure that many of us would be here if we didn’t have a commitment to teaching,” Dr. Warren said, “it’s what we do, and I’m sure that I wouldn’t have been hired if I hadn’t been a willing teacher. So, teaching was a key in launching my career, and it continues to be really important.”

Although these characteristics make him an excellent educator, Dr. Warren often goes well beyond this for the good of his students. One student said, “Dr. Warren is genuinely interested in the well-being of his students. He views us not only as dental students, but also as people. He wants us to succeed both in the classroom / clinic and in our other interests and activities.” And it is in students such as this that Dr. Warren sees his lasting impact. “When you think about it, all of my research and publications are nice and have hopefully made some contribution to science, but really, much of that will be forgotten “old news” in a few years.  The people that you’ve taught and helped with their careers—that’s more lasting and more rewarding.”

In the nomination letter from the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry, his colleagues commented on Dr. Warren’s self-depreciating humor and his tendency to deflect praise, and so his response to receiving the award should come as no surprise: “It’s crossed my mind that they ran out of other people to give to, so they had to give it to me, but I know there’s a nomination process involved and that a number of my colleagues put forth a nomination—that’s very humbling, and I certainly feel honored to receive the award.”

Because his role as a teacher and mentor has meant so much to so many, Dr. John Warren is the well-deserved recipient of the 2018 Collegiate Teaching Award. Congratulations, Dr. Warren!


Brian Howe

Dr. Brian Howe Awarded Prestigious Career Development Research Grant

From Dr. Olin’s initial work to the broad cross-section of researchers currently working on craniofacial development, the College of Dentistry is well known for its cutting edge research in orofacial clefting. Dr. Brian J. Howe’s (family dentistry) research is building on this legacy—he was awarded a nearly $800,000 five-year grant for a project on orofacial clefting. The grant is for a prestigious Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08), and the title of the project is “Identifying Phenomic Patterns of Dental Anomalies in Orofacial Clefting.”

Dr. Howe’s previous research (see here and here)  investigated how orofacial clefts affect tooth development, and found that children with orofacial clefts have more dental anomalies, such as missing and malformed teeth, than the general population and even their own family members.  He also found that impaired tooth development among cleft patients is most likely a physical consequence of the cleft or the surgical repair. Still, the research did not discover whether the impaired development was a result of the surgery or of the cleft itself (or perhaps both) or if the missing or malformed teeth occur in any discernable patterns.

This new grant will allow Dr. Howe to further develop this line of research with the aim of identifying underlying causes and patterns of the impairment—i.e., whether impairment is a result of clefting or the surgery to repair the clefting. Finding this root cause could allow either surgeons to address it with improved surgical protocols or researchers to address the genetic factors at play.

Drawing on one of the largest sets of data available, Dr. Howe’s research will use novel, multivariable analytical tools and contemporary machine learning algorithms to develop a tool for identifying these patterns and underlying causes.

Dr. Howe has teamed up with Dr. Tong Wang (Tippie College of Business), who is an expert in machine learning and data mining, to collaborate on creating a machine learning algorithm (program) to address this research question.   Dr. Howe’s primary mentor is Dr. Lina Moreno (orthodontics) and his other mentors are Dr. Deborah Dawson (pediatric dentistry) and Dr. Mary Marazita at the University of Pittsburgh. This award is the first K-award that the College of Dentistry has received in the past decade.

Heather Heddens

Dr. Heather Heddens: Clinical Adjunct Faculty Member and Basketball Champion

The Iowa Women’s Archives, a special collection of the University of Iowa libraries, has a traveling exhibit on women’s 6-on-6 basketball in honor of the 25th anniversary of the end that style of play. From August 11 through September 23, the exhibit will be in Jefferson, IA. The Daily Iowan wrote an article about the exhibit.

Our own Dr. Heather Heddens (clinical adjunct faculty member in family dentistry) contributed a pair of her basketball shoes to the exhibit. Dr. Heddens played forward (forwards played exclusively on offense; guards played exclusively on defense) for the state powerhouse Mediapolis Bullettes from 1969 to 1973. This experience was formative for Dr. Heddens, shaping her understanding and love of the game of basketball. She will still glowingly proclaim the benefits of 6-on-6 basketball over 5-on-5 full court basketball—whether it’s the increased emphasis on fundamentals or the extra playing time for a sixth participant.

And at the time, Iowa was unique insofar as it encouraged women to participate in competitive sports well before the days of Title IX making it national policy. In fact, rural Iowa was ahead of the University of Iowa—the women’s basketball team at UI didn’t start until 1974.

While her love of basketball and her own personal support of the traveling exhibit are special, the story gets even better! While Dr. Heddens was traveling on vacation with her husband, Steve Olson, they—somewhat on a whim—decided to visit the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. As they were exploring the exhibits, Steve came across an exhibit that neither of them knew was there! It was a special display about the Iowa Girls 6-on-6 State Tournament, featuring Dr. Heddens’ high school teammate, Deb Coates, and the Mediapolis Bullettes.

Dr. Heddens graciously provided photos of the exhibit.

Heddens.jpgDr. Heddens and her husband, Steve Olson, in front of the Hall of Fame exhibit about Women’s Basketball in Iowa.







Basketball.jpgThe Hall of Fame’s description of the Iowa Girls State Tournament.







Basketball 2.jpgThe Hall of Fame’s description of the warm-up jacket worn by Debbie Coates, Dr. Heddens’ Mediapolis Bullette teammate.






Megumi Williamson

The College of Dentistry welcomes Dr. Megumi Williamson

Dr. Megumi Williamson joins the University of Iowa College of Dentistry as an assistant professor in the Department of Periodontics. Dr. Williamson received her D.D.S and Ph.D. in Oral Biological Science from Niigata University in Japan, and completed a certificate program in general dentistry at Niigata University Medical and Dental Hospital. In June 2018, she completed the Advanced Education Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she received her M.S. and a certificate in Periodontology.

Prior to her Periodontology residency training, Dr. Williamson had post-doctoral research training at the University of Washington Department of Anesthesiology and Pharmacology, under the direction of Drs. Byers and Chavkin, with a specific focus on the involvement of endogenous opioid system in trigeminal neuropathic pain. After her post-doctoral training at UW, she moved to UNC and served as the director of the Expression and Localization Core Facility at the UNC School of Medicine Neuroscience Center where she was actively involved in a wide range of research activities. Her current research interests focus on the involvement of dendritic cells in the innate immune response in periodontal and peri-implant diseases.


London IADR

The College of Dentistry Takes London

The general session of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) was held in London, England, on July 25-28, 2018. Several faculty members attended the conference, and many of them gave oral or poster presentations at the conference. During the conference, Associate Dean Brad Amendt received the 2018 IADR Distinguished Scientist Award in Craniofacial Biology Research.

0725180815_resized.jpg Dr. Leonardo Marchini, Dr. Matthew Oishi, and Dean David Johnsen at the IADR






0725181233d_resized.jpg Dr. Leonardo Marchini, Dr. Matthew Oishi, Dr. Susan McKernan, and Dr. Ron Ettinger pose with the Royal Guards







IMG_1982.JPG Associate Dean Brad Amendt receiving the 2018 IADR Distinguished Scientist Award in Craniofacial Biology Research







IMG_1984 edit.JPG Dr. Jacques Nor, Professor and Department Chair (Cariology, Restorative Sciences, and Endodontics) at the University of Michigan, and Associate Dean Brad Amendt at Dr. Bruno Das Neves Cavalcanti’s poster presentation.









IMG_7654.jpg Dr. Kan Wongkamhaeng’s poster presentation








IMG_1993.JPG Dr. Ron Ettinger, Dr. Isabelle Denry, and Dr. Kan Wongkamhaeng at Dr. Julie Holloway’s poster presentation







East Camp

Pediatric Dentistry and Dental Public Health Residents Participate in an Outreach Event

On July 17 and July 24, pediatric dentistry and dental public health residents visited local housing areas for families of seasonal farmworkers and provided dental exams and applied fluoride varnish to 32 children.  Children identified as having dental treatment needs will return to the College of Dentistry on Tuesday, August 7, and pediatric dentistry residents will provide the necessary care.  This outreach program is in cooperation with a non-profit organization, Proteus, Inc., who coordinates the health care needs for seasonal farmworkers and their families.  The Department of Pediatric Dentistry has been participating in this program for over 20 years.  The group who helped this year include: pediatric dentistry faculty members Ms. Cathy Skotwoski and Dr. Kecia Leary; pediatric dentistry first-year residents Drs. Alison Christensen, Jennifer Feingold, Katrina Goebel, Paula Gomez, Kyle Nordeen; dental public health resident Demah AlGheithy; and Beth Pfohl and Leah Barshinger, fourth-year dental students.

EAST CAMP 4jpg.jpg Dr. Paula Gomez, Dr. Katrina Goebel, Dr. Kecia Leary, Dr. Jennifer Feingold, Leah Barshinger and Cathy Skotowski ready to provide dental screenings and fluoride applications to children of seasonal farmworkers at a recent outreach event at the EAST CAMP site.






WEST 1.jpg Dr. Kyle Nordeen, Beth Pfohl, Dr. Alison Christensen, Cathy Skotowski, Demah AlGheithy and Dr. Kecia Leary ready to provide dental screenings and fluoride applications to children of seasonal farmworkers at a recent outreach event at the WEST CAMP site.









Carolina Cucco

The Department of Endodontics welcomes Dr. Carolina Cucco to the College

Dr. Carolina Cucco recently joined the Department of Endodontics as an assistant professor. Dr. Cucco received her D.D.S. in 2009 from the University of Passo Fundo in Brazil. She completed a certificate program in Endodontics at the same institution in 2009. In 2011, she received an M.S. in Endodontics from Pontifical Catholic University in Brazil and completed her Ph.D. in Oral Health Sciences in 2013. She was a visiting research scholar at the University of Michigan in Dr. Jacques Nör's laboratory. In 2015, she began the Advanced Education Program at the University of Michigan, where she obtained her endodontic certificate in June of 2018.  She is board-eligible of the American Board of Endodontics and is taking the final steps to become Board-certified. Dr. Cucco has a strong record of clinical teaching and scholarship. She has been awarded and completed three federal grants as the principal investigator in the area of pulp biology. She has published peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters, and four theses.


Leary Award

Family Dentistry Student Awards Ceremony

Several students received awards at the Annual Family Dentistry Student Award Luncheon held on May 22, 2018. The award recipients are pictured below.

Burson_Murrell_Bohnenkamp_052218_4x6.jpg2018_LearyAward_4x6.jpgMichelle Burson after receiving the Dr. James Michael Leary Memorial Award




Axell_Williams_Howe_Syrbu_052218_4x6.jpgFrom left to right: Dr. Vince Williams, Elizabeth Axell (Excellent in Treatment Planning Award in Family Dentistry), Dr. Brian Howe (Family Dentistry), Verla Williams, and Dr. John Syrbu (Family Dentistry)



Brantman_OConnor_Parker_052218_4x6.jpgFrom left to right: Mr. Scott O'Conner (Brasseler USA District Manager), Karley Brantman (Brasseler USA Award: A student who excelled at providing high quality restorative treatment and who has behaved in an ethical/professional manner during dental school.), and Dr. Reed Parker (Family Dentistry).



Burson_Murrell_052218_4x6.jpg From left to right: Dr. Michael Murrell (Family Dentistry) and Michelle Burson (Dr. James Michael Leary Memorial Award) 




Gomez-Hernandez_Miller_Howe_052218_4x6.jpgFrom left to right: Donnella Miller (Delta Dental), Paula Gomez Hernandez (Delta Delta of Iowa Treatment Planning and Documentation Award), and Dr. Brian Howe (Family Dentistry)




Gomez-Hernandez_Syrbu_052218_4x6.jpgRowley_Syrbu_052218_4x6.jpgNelson_Syrbu_052218_4x6.jpgDr. John Syrbu (Family Dentistry) with the first, second, and third place award winners for the Dr. Duane Schmidt Practice Management Awards. First, Paula Gomez Hernandez, Second, Kathleen Rowley, and Third, Meghan Nelson.




Kopec_Redmond_Meredith_Howe_Parker_052218_4x6.jpgFrom left to right: Dr. Patricia Meredith (Operative), Dr. Brian Howe, Emily Kopec (Academy of General Dentistry Senior Student Award), Bethany Redmond (Academy of General Dentistry Senior Student Award), and Dr. Reed Parker (Family Dentistry)



Kozeluh_Gomez_052218_4x6.jpgFrom left to right: Craig Kozeluh (American Association of Endodontists Student Achievement in Endodontics Award) and Dr. Manuel Gomez (Endodontics).



Matthew Meyers was also awarded the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry Student Award of Merit. 




St. Ambrose University Health Careers Adventure Camp Visits the College of Dentistry

On July 19, 29 middle students visited the College of Dentistry (COD) as part of the St. Ambrose 2018 Health Careers Adventure Camp. During the week-long camp, participants were introduced to a variety of health professions. Campers experienced hands-on learning sessions provided by faculty, students and clinicians. During their visit to the COD, the students learned about dental careers (dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistant, and dental lab technician). Students also took impressions of dental models and participated in a team-based dental trivia contest. The event was coordinated by Cathy Skotowski (Pediatric Dentistry) in cooperation with the Office of Student Affairs. Three dental students also assisted with the event: second-year dental students, Marissa Cody and Liz Skotowski, and third-year dental student Olivia Lofgren. Olivia is a graduate of St. Ambrose University.

SAU2018.jpg The image shows the middle school students who attended the camp and those who helped make the visit possible.










Mentor Award

Awards Announced at Spring Student Research Meeting

At the Spring Student Research Meeting, several awards were announced. The 2017-2018 Student Research Mentor of the Year recipient was Dr. Karin Weber-Gasparoni. Student Research Mentor of the Year recipients receive an individual plaque, and their nameplates are added to the plaque of previous recipients hanging at the Research entrance. Fourth-year dental student Leah Barshinger nominated her, and the dental research students selected her as the award recipient. Dr. Weber-Gasparoni has been Ms. Barshinger's research mentor for many years. Ms. Barshinger's nomination letter on behalf of Dr. Weber-Gasparoni said:

In honor of the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Iowa Infant Oral Health Program, I would like to nominate Dr. Karin Weber-Gasparoni for the Student Research Mentor of the Year.  In 1998, Dr. Weber-Gasparoni worked to establish the Infant Oral Health Program (IOHP) which is affiliated with the local Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) through the Johnson County Department of Public Health. The IOHP aims to increase dental access and provide preventative dental care to low-income infants and toddlers, prevent and intercept ECC in a high-risk population, and provide an opportunity for senior dental students and Pediatric Medicine Residents to gain "hands-on" experience examining infants and toddlers in a community based setting.  In addition to the positive impacts the IOHP has had on both the community and dental education, many members of the Student Research Group have benefited from the data collected through the clinic.

I have been fortunate to work with Dr. Weber-Gasparoni for 8 years; she has not only supported me throughout my involvement with research, but has also supported me on a personal level.  Through my research, I learned about the dental needs of high-risk children; however, it is Dr. Weber-Gasparoni’s passion to improve the oral health care of this population that inspires my own interest in the field.  It is not only her dedication to high risk populations, but also to the people around her that make Dr. Weber-Gasparoni deserving of this year’s Mentor of the Year award.

Leah Barshinger (D3) Nominated Dr. Karin Weber-Gasparoni, 2018 Mentor of the Year Recipient.jpgFourth-year dental student, Leah Barshinger, with her research mentor, Dr. Karin Weber-Gasparoni.







In addition to the mentor award, Research Achievement Awards for the class of 2018 were also presented at the Spring meeting. 

2018 D4 Research Awards - Taylor Postler, Alison Christensen, Paula Gomez Hernandez, Stacey Howes, Erica Recker 5-15-18.jpgFrom left to right: Taylor Postler, Alison Christensen, Paula Gomez Hernandez, Stacey Howes, and Erica Recker. Recipients not shown include Madeline Swenson, Sherri Chyi, and Elliott Glenn.








Five Dental Assistants for Hospital Dentistry Oral Surgery Complete DAANCE Certification


Dental Assistants.jpg

Pictured from right to left, Kiera Sovers, Anna Stanerson, Ceegie Davis, Vanessa Chamberlin, Edem Houngblame completed their DAANCE Certification (Dental Anesthesia Assistant National Certification Exam).






A Dental Anesthesia Assistant (DAA) possesses the expertise to provide supportive anesthesia care in a safe and effective manner. The DAA is knowledgeable in the perioperative and emergent care management of patients undergoing outpatient anesthesia. The DAA is able to effectively communicate pertinent information to patients and their escorts as well as members of the healthcare team.

The DAA must be employed for at least six months by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and provide current CPR or BLS certification. The DAA must also pass the Dental Anesthesia Assistant Certification Examination (DAANCE). This exam requires knowledge in basic sciences, systemic diseases and evaluation/preparation of patients, anesthetic drugs and techniques, anesthesia equipment and monitoring, and office anesthesia emergencies

Erica Teixeira

Dr. Erica Teixeira and Dr. Marcos Vargas Received a $22,875 Grant from an Industry Partner

The use of bulk-fill composite has increased among dentists. Purportedly these materials perform just as well as traditional composites resins. Bulk-fill composites can be applied in thicker increments (4-5mm) than other composite resin materials, speeding up the restorative process. One of the significant challenges of this technique is that clinicians must adequately cure these materials, but studies have shown that the depth of cure varies depending on the composite used. 

Principal Investigators, Dr. Erica Teixeira (Operative Dentistry) and Dr. Marcos Vargas (Family Dentistry), received a $22,875 grant from a German pharmaceutical company, DMG Chemisch-Pharmazeutische Fabrik GmbH, to investigate the depth of cure for four different bulk-fill composites. They will also evaluate how glossy and smooth the surface is for the four materials, and how well their marginal adaptation is to teeth, using a MicroCT scanner.

This research is one example of how the College of Dentistry partners with industry to meet the needs of industry while improving the science behind our clinical practices.

Dr. Teixeira and Dr. Vargas’ research team includes Dr. Steve Armstrong, and the title of the project is “Performance of different bulk-fill composite materials.” 



Dean Johnsen Presents the College's Concerns with Proposed Changes to Medicaid Dental Benefits

On Friday, June 29, Dean Johnsen and leaders from the Iowa Dental Association (IDA) met with Iowa Medicaid Director, Michael Randol, in support of sustainable dental benefits for Iowa's Medicaid program. The meeting was in response to a letter sent to the Iowa Medicaid program expressing the college's fear that low-income Iowans will suffer under recent changes to Iowa Medicaid's Dental Wellness Plan and announcing that the college will not accept new Dental Wellness Plan patients until the college can accommodate the more than 8,000 adult Medicaid patients currently being served. As a result of the conversation on June 29, the annual benefit cap that was scheduled for July 1, 2018 has been delayed until September 1. 

Medicaid Large.pngLeft to Right: Laurie Traetow, IDA Executive Director; Michael Randol, Director for Iowa Medicaid Enterprise; Dr. Martin Gleason, IDA President; Dr. Joseph Barsetti, IDA Member; Julie Lovelady, Bureau Chief for Iowa Medicaid Enterprise; and Dean David Johnsen. 






The College of Dentistry had High School Seniors on Campus for Health Science Visit Day

On Saturday, June 23, the Student Affairs Office participated in a Health Science Visit Day for rising high school seniors.  The College of Dentistry hosted 23 guests who learned about CAD-CAM technology.  Dr. Restrepo-Kennedy led a CAD-CAM presentation and facilitated a hands-on component with the pre-dental students.  Fourth-year dental students Andrew Welling and Kali Hildebrand interacted with the students and showcased the milling process while Director of Admissions, Rachael Kowbel, responded to inquiries from family members.  All participants received Hawkeye scrubs as an incentive to continue their pursuit of a health science career.

Kowbel 1.jpg Kowbel 2.jpg High School students and their families learning about CAD-CAM technology.






Anniversary Grant Recipients

Drs. Kuthy, McKernan, and Reynolds Awarded a Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation Grant to Study Iowa Dentist Workforce

Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation awarded Drs. Raymond Kuthy, Susan McKernan, and Julie Reynolds (Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry) a one-year $40,000 grant entitled “20th Anniversary of the Iowa Dentist Tracking System (IDTS): Assessing Trends.”

IDTS is one of five health workforce tracking systems (physicians, dentists, pharmacists, advanced nurse practitioners, and physician assistants) within the Office of Statewide Clinical Education Programs (OSCEP), Carver College of Medicine. IDTS updates information about all active dentists in Iowa semi-annually. This proactive statewide data collection system is the only one of its kind nationally. Besides tracking information about the individual’s entrance or exit from practice in Iowa, OSCEP’s semi-annual contact to each provider’s office updates possible practice changes, such as work arrangement (i.e., solo, group, corporate), gain or loss of associates, hours worked per week, etc.

2016 was the 20th anniversary of IDTS, making for a unique opportunity to complete a detailed longitudinal assessment, using a single comprehensive and consistent data source. The investigators will analyze these data and develop a comprehensive report for stakeholder planning purposes. Topics of particular interest include changes in the workforce’s gender composition, age distribution, hours worked, practice arrangements, and state retention of UI graduates. The research team will also assess trends in geographic variation in the dentist workforce, incorporating the location of physicians to explore for health professional ‘hot spots’ in Iowa. Population maps showing general population shifts during this time period will be overlaid with changes in health care provider location. Findings will inform policy to assist with recruitment and retention efforts, particularly in Iowa's rural areas.



Extramural Dental Conference Held at the College of Dentistry on June 18

All fourth-year dental students participate in community-based clinical rotations where they treat traditionally underserved populations within Iowa, across the United States, and/or internationally.  The College of Dentistry currently has 31 extramural sites. On June 18, the college held a one-day conference for representatives from these extramural programs. The conference provided an opportunity for the participants to receive continuing education (CE), network, and learn about the other sites. Dr. Justine Kolker gave a one-hour CE course on silver diamine fluoride, and Dr. Richard Walton gave a one-hour CE course on caries management from a pulp biology and endodontic management perspective. Ms. Sarah Kelly discussed outreach opportunities with the site directors, and Dr. Michelle McQuistan, the course director, provided programmatic updates.

ExtramuralConferenceGroup_2018_4x6.jpgThe participants at the Extramural Dental Conference.








Johnson, Georgia

2017 World Workshop on the Classification of Periodontal and Peri-Implant Diseases Published

Along with 120 experts in periodontics, Dr. Gustavo Avila-Ortiz and Dr. Georgia Johnson helped draft and evaluate new classifications for periodontal and peri-implant diseases and conditions at the 2017 World Workshop on the Classification of Periodontal and Peri-Implant Diseases and Conditions. The proceedings from the workshop were just published online in the AAP’s Journal of Periodontology and the EFP’s Journal of Clinical Periodontology. These publications are the first comprehensive update to the previous disease classifications established in 1999.

Dr. Avila-Ortiz worked with Group 4 (peri-implant diseases) and Dr. Johnson worked with Group 1 (gingival diseases). Their work is available here:

Berglundh T, Armitage G, Araujo MG, Avila-Ortiz G, Blanco J, Camargo PM, Chen S, Cochran D, Derks J, Figuero E, Hämmerle CHF, Heitz-Mayfield LJA, Huynh-Ba G, Iacono V, Koo KT, Lambert F, McCauley L, Quirynen M, Renvert S, Salvi GE, Schwarz F, Tarnow D, Tomasi C, Wang HL, Zitzmann N. Peri-implant diseases and conditions: Consensus report of workgroup 4 of the 2017 World Workshop on the Classification of Periodontal and Peri-Implant Diseases and Conditions. J Periodontol. 2018 Jun;89 Suppl 1:S313-S318. PMID: 29926955.

Chapple ILC, Mealey BL, Van Dyke TE, Bartold PM, Dommisch H, Eickholz P, Geisinger ML, Genco RJ, Glogauer M, Goldstein M, Griffin TJ, Holmstrup P, Johnson GK, Kapila Y, Lang NP, Meyle J, Murakami S, Plemons J, Romito GA, Shapira L, Tatakis DN, Teughels W, Trombelli L, Walter C, Wimmer G, Xenoudi P, Yoshie H. Periodontal health and gingival diseases and conditions on an intact and a reduced periodontium: Consensus report of workgroup 1 of the 2017 World Workshop on the Classification of Periodontal and Peri-Implant Diseases and Conditions. J Periodontol. 2018 Jun;89 Suppl 1:S74-S84.PMID: 29926944.

HCCC Retreat

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Retreat

College of Dentistry students and faculty attended the 2018 Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Retreat on Wednesday, June 20, at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

HCCC Retreat (06-20-18).jpgAttending were (from left) Amber M. Bates, PhD (Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research), Emma L. Thayer (student, Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research), Kim A. Brogden, PhD, Professor (Director, Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research), Emily Lanzel, DDS, MS, Visiting Assistant Professor, (Department of Oral Pathology, Radiology & Medicine), and Marcia Campos, DDS, MS, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor (Department of Oral Pathology, Radiology & Medicine).



Dr. Bates presented her poster entitled ‘Matrix metalloproteinases and immunosuppressive biomarker profiles of 7 HNSCC cell lines,’ Amber M. Bates, Maria Paula Gomez Hernandez, Emily A. Lanzel, Fang Qian, and Kim A. Brogden.


FDI Group

The World Comes to Iowa

The Dental Science Building is a busy place—bustling with patients, researchers, faculty, staff, and students. While this locus of activity is ever present, we also open our doors to the world as we receive prominent local, regional, national, and international guests. One week in early May was the perfect picture of this—with visits from the FDI World Dental Federation, Congressman Dave Loebsack, and the President-Elects of both the American Dental Association and the Iowa Dental Association.

FDI World Dental Federation Vists the College of Dentistry

The FDI World Dental Federation (FDI) is the largest membership-based dental organization in the world. In August 2017, Dr. Kathryn Kell (DDS 1979) was installed as the president of the FDI. She and many other FDI delegates visited in College of Dentistry in early May. Dean David Johnsen gave Dr. Kell and the FDI a tour of the college’s facilities and services.

One such delegate was Dr. S.M. Balaji from the Balaji Dental and Craniofacial Hospital. Dr. Balaji’s hospital wrote about his experiences at the University of Iowa.

FDI_group_050118_4x6.jpgThe group of FDI Representatives visiting the College of Dentistry






US Representative Dave Loebsack Visits the College of Dentistry

US Representative Dave Loebsack also visited the College of Dentistry. Dean David Johnsen and several others gave Congressman Loebsack a guided tour of our facilities. Dean Johnsen and Associate Dean Brad Amendt used the opportunity to talk about the wide variety of cutting edge research being conducted at the college—from the tens of millions of teeth that won’t have to be drilled into because of our research to new basic science research for growing bones and teeth without the need for surgery.

Dean Johnsen also highlighted how the college is able to coordinate efforts to improve and individualize care alongside other medical providers. In particular, the University of Iowa is one of the first institutions to have its dental clinic and the hospital patient databases work together. The hope is that this collaboration can become a model for other dental and health care providers.

Loebsack_Howes_Johnsen_Brogden_Amendt_Qian_Research1_043018_4x6.jpgFrom Left to Right: Stacey Howes (DDS 2018), Dean Johnsen, Dr. Kim Brogden, Congressman Loebsack, Dr. Brad Amendt, and Dr. Fang Qian.






Loebsack_Holloway_ProsthodonticsLab1_043018_4x6.jpgCongressman Dave Loebsack speaking with Dr. Julie Holloway in the Prosthodontics Lab.






Loebsack_Howes_Johnsen_Moreno_OrthodonticClinic1_043018_4x6.jpgCongressman Dave Loeback speaking with Dr. Lina Moreno, Dean Johnsen, and Stacey Howes (DDS 2018).






ADA and IDA Leadership Visits the College of Dentistry

The American Dental Association’s President-Elect, Dr. Jeffrey Cole, and the Iowa Dental Association President-Elect, Dr. Ryan Stuntz, along with other Iowa Dental Association representatives also visited the College of Dentistry during the same week that Congressman Loebsack visited.

Stuntz_Cole_Stemper_Johnsen_050418_4x6.jpgFrom Right to Left: Dr. Ryan Stuntz, Dr. Justine Stemper (DDS 2014), Dean David Johnsen, and Dr. Jeffrey Cole.






Stuntz_Cole_Stemper_LunchWithStudents_050418_4x6.jpgDrs. Stuntz, Stemper, and Cole joined several students for lunch.






The College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics is a model of excellence in research, patient care, and education. That’s why people from all over the world come to the college to hear more about what we are doing, and that’s why what we do here makes a difference not only for all of Iowa but also for the larger world.


Weistroffer, Paula

Dr. Paula Weistroffer Receives McLeran Award

Dean David Johnsen presented Dr. Paula Weistroffer with the 16th Annual James H. and Hermine E. McLeran Faculty Award.  This endowed award was established in 2002 through memorials and a campaign to honor Dr. McLeran’s commitment to patients, students, and faculty.  Professors Karen Baker, Marsha Cunningham-Ford, Richard Walton, Michael Finkelstein, Deborah Cobb, Bill Synan, Anne Williamson, Howard Cowen, Steve Aquilino, John Hellstein, Karin Weber-Gasparoni, Jim Clancy, Lewis Humbert, Steve Fletcher, and Matt Geneser are the past recipients of this award.

This award is intended to recognize a faculty member who has shown a commitment to dental education through excellence in teaching and an emphasis on patient-centered care.  The award was presented at the May 30 Periodontics Faculty Meeting and provided $2,000 to the recipient “to be used for professional growth and faculty development.” 

McLeranAward.jpgDean Johnsen presenting the McLeran Award to Dr. Weistroffer.







Vijayan, Suvendra

Dr. Vijayan to receive Ahlstrom New Investigator Award

Dr. Suvendra Vijayan, a resident in Oral Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine, won the 2018 American Dental Association (ADA) Robert H. Ahlstrom New Investigator Award for his project "Reliability of 3D Printed Mandibles Constructed From CBCT Volumes of Different Voxel Sizes."

Dr. Vijayan will present his paper at the ADA Standards Committee on Dental Informatics meeting in Honolulu, HI this coming October and he will receive a $1,000 honorarium. Dr. Vijayan’s mentor for the project was Dr. Veeratrishul Allareddy, and he also worked with Dr. Veerasathpurush Allareddy and Dr. Kyungsup Shin on it.

The ADA Dental informatics standards and technical reports are developed by dental professionals to establish technical, performance, or compliance guidelines for items such as dental practice management systems, digital radiography equipment and electronic patient records. The Robert H. Ahlstrom New Investigator Award highlights the crucial role dental informatics standards play in improving the quality of patient care, assuring patient health and safety, and increasing efficiency through the use of information technology such as interoperability of dental data and images across hardware platforms. The Award aims to encourage more dentists and dental students to conduct standards-based research and participate in standards development.

Vidal, Cristina

Dr. Vidal Receives Grant from Colgate-Palmolivee

Colgate-Palmolive awarded Dr. Cristina Vidal (Operative) a $39,000 grant titled “Development of therapeutic nanoparticles for sustained delivery of proanthocyanidins in adhesives.” The project began in May 2018 and it ends in two years. The research team’s goal is to find a method to deliver a certain plant-derived compound that can preserve, repair, and restore the bond between dentin and resin material. In particular, they will develop a delivery system using mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSN), and determine the optimal delivery for maintaining a strong resin-dentin bond while mitigating factors that degrade the dentin organic matrix and reduce bond strength. The principal investigator for the project is Dr. Vidal, and her research team includes Dr. Steven Armstrong (Operative), Dr. Aliasger Salem (Pharmacy), and Dr. Julie Jessop (Engineering). 


Dr. Banas and Dr. Drake Awarded an NIH five-year $2.6 million grant

Drake_D_Web.jpgThe National Institute of Health awarded Dr. Jeffrey Banas and Dr. David Drake a five-year $2.6 million grant titled “Longitudinal Analysis of Low pH Streptococci and Plaque Microbiome in Early Childhood Caries.” The project will examine a particular kind of plaque bacteria, streptococci, in young children with a high risk of early childhood tooth decay. The ultimate aim of this examination is to find an effective and efficient means of determining the risk of tooth decay so that it can be prevented and treated.

Although there is a large body of evidence that confirms an association between a specific kind of streptococci, mutans streptococci (MS), and tooth decay, the association is not absolute. That is, a patient can have a great deal of tooth decay without the presence of MS, and in some cases, a significant amount of MS is present with sound, healthy teeth. Thus, some researches have suggested that non-MS low pH streptococci may explain why the association is not absolute. Dr. Banas and Dr. Drake’s research team will investigate this complex relationship by conducting an 18-month longitudinal study on children ages 1 to 3 who have a high risk of experiencing dental decay so that they can determine how variations in the non-MS low pH streptococci and overall plaque microbiome affect dental decay. Then, the team will sequence the genome of specific examples of non-MS low pH streptococci that were identified in the longitudinal study. In doing so, the team believes that patterns will be found that may provide a basis for improving the prevention and treatment of tooth decay.

The research team includes:

Dr. Justine Kolker

Dr. Karin Weber-Gasparoni

Dr. Deborah Dawson

Dr. Ashutosh Mangalam (Dept. of Pathology, Medical School)

Dr. Huojun Cao

Dr. Min Zhu

Derek Blanchette

Alissa Villhauer


Pediatric Dentistry Attends AAPD Annual Session

     The Department of Pediatric Dentistry was well represented at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) 71st annual session in Honolulu, HI, May 24-27.  Dr. Karin Weber-Gasparoni participated in the Council of Clinical Affairs workshop, which revises and updates the AAPD guidelines.  This committee is chaired by Dr. Edward Rick (adjunct faculty). Other department faculty attending the AAPD annual session included Drs. Tad Mabry, Kecia Leary and Ms. Cathy Skotowski. Drs. Mabry and Leary attended academic day for predoctoral and postdoctoral program directors, and they also served as poster judges.  Pediatric dentistry residents, Drs. Joan Attridge, Reem Oweis, Zach Percival and Nicole Youngers and Amy Lesch, all presented their research as digital poster presentations.  Third-year dental students Colby Beck and Leah Barshinger also presented their research as digital poster presentations at the meeting. 

     Several individuals associated with our department were recognized for their excellence in Pediatric Dentistry.  Dr. Donald Chi, ('09) received AAPD’s 2018 Pediatric Dentist of the Year Award.  Dr. Norman Tinanoff, ('73) received the AAPD Evidence-Based Dentistry Service Award, and Dr. Edward Rick (adjunct faculty) received the Merle C. Hunter Leadership Award.

     Several Iowa graduates were acknowledged by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry as having completed the board certification process. Drs. Julie Smith, Kyle Beulke, Peter Stanley and Diana Pelzer were successful in sitting for their oral clinical examination and were installed by the College of Diplomates during a ceremony on May 24. 

     As usual, on Saturday evening of the AAPD meeting, an Iowa reception was well attended by Iowa alumni traveling from all over the US.  This year’s reception was is honor of two very special people who have led the department as administrative professionals for a combined total of over 70 years, Ms. Cindy Becker, who retired last year, and Ms. Anita Forbes, who will be retiring from the department next month. The evening provided an opportunity for alumni, current residents and faculty to wish Anita and Cindy best wishes, share stories, celebrate, reminisce, and of course, sing a rendition of the Iowa Fight Song led by Kyle Vogel!


Chi 1.jpgChi 2.jpgDr. Donald Chi ('09) recipient of the AAPD 2018 Pediatric Dentist of the Year Award.






Peds.jpgIowa pediatric dentistry alumni, faculty and staff pictured with Dr. Donald Chi after receiving the AAPD 2018 Pediatric Dentist of the Year Award. Left to right, Dr. Brea Schmidt ('09), Dr. Raquel Jham ('10), Dr. Kelli Jobman ('10), Dr. Donald Chi ('09), Dr. Karin Weber-Gasparoni, DEO, Dr. Rebecca Slayton, former DEO, Ms. Cathy Skotowski, Clinical Associate Professor, Ms. Mary Akers, dental assistant supervisor, and Ms. Anita Forbes, department administrative specialist.






Attridge 2.jpgDr. Joan Attridge, second-year pediatric dentistry resident, pictured at her digital research poster.





Percival.jpgDr. Zach Percival, second-year pediatric dentistry resident, pictured next to his digital research poster.





youngers.jpgDr. Nicole Youngers, second-year pediatric dentistry resident, describing her digital research poster to Dr. Mike Stufflebeam.









Oweis.jpgDr. Reem Oweis, second-year pediatric dentistry resident, pictured next to her digital research poster.






Ped 2.jpgDr. Amy Lesch, third-year resident, pictured at her digital research poster.  Front row, Dr. Joan Atridge. Back row, from left to right, Dr. Reem Oweis, Chuck Lesch (Amy’s father), Dr. Amy Lesch, Dr. Jean Lesch (Amy’s mother), Dr. Nicole Youngers, and Dr. Zach Percival.




Peds 3.jpgSecond-year pediatric dentistry residents Drs. Nicole Youngers, Joan Attridge, Zach Percival and Reem Oweis.





Barshinger 1.jpgBarshinger 2.jpgLeah Barshinger (D3) pictured at her digital research poster (left) and with her mentor Dr. Karin Weber-Gasparoni (right) photo.








Beck 1.jpgBeck 2.jpgColby Beck (D3) pictured at his digital research poster (left) and with his mentor Ms. Cathy Skotowski.







Peds 4.jpgDr. Karin Weber-Gasparoni, Dr. Kecia Leary, Dr. Nicole Youngers, Dr. Reem Oweis, Dr. Zach Percival and Dr. Tad Mabry pictured together after the digital research poster session.





Becker and Forbes.jpgMs. Cindy Becker and Ms. Anita Forbes, recognized at the Iowa Alumni reception for their many years of service to the department.







Rick.jpgDr. Edward Rick, adjunct faculty, pictured with his AAPD awards.







Tinanoff.jpgDr. Norman Tinanoff, ('73), pictured with his wife after the awards presentation where he received the AAPD Evidence-Based Dentistry Service Award.








Tariq Ghazal

Dr. Ghazal Honored with a Graduated Student Research Award by the AAPD

Dr. Tariq Ghazal, Adjunct Assistant Professor in Preventive and Community Dentistry received the 2018 NuSmile Graduate Student Research Award (GSRA) for his presentation "An Innovative Two-step Process to Predict Future Permanent Tooth Caries Incidence" at the 2018 American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. The award is given in honor of outstanding research projects in Pediatric Dentistry. The award came with a $500 cash award, a complimentary registration, and reimbursement for most travel expenses. 

Dr. Ghazal research was supervised by his mentors Dr. Steven Levy (Preventive and Community Dentistry) and Dr. Noel Childers, Professor and Chair in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

IMG_8405.JPGDr. Ghazal presenting his project at the AAPD meeting.







Austin Foster

Dr. Austin Foster Advocates for Orthodontics on Capitol Hill



In early May, orthodontics resident Dr. Austin Foster went to Washington D.C. to advocate on behalf of legislation important to orthodontics. The American Association of Orthodontists Political Action Committee (AAO-PAC) requested that an Iowan represent them on the trip. Dr. Foster said, “I volunteered because our legislators need to be informed about how we are affected by legislation in order to represent us effectively.”


During the trip, Dr. Foster personally met with Senator Todd Young (Indiana) and Representative Larry Bucshon (Indiana), and he also met with the staff and legislative assistants for Iowa Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, and Illinois Senator Dick Durbin.

The three pieces of legislation that Dr. Foster and AAO-PAC advocated on behalf of were:

1. The bipartisan RAISE Act (H.R. 1204), which raises limits on Flexible-Spending and Health-Savings Accounts and eliminates the “use it or lose it” clause for those accounts.

2. A permanent repeal of the 2.3% excise tax on medical devices that was created under the Affordable Care Act.

3. The Student Loan Refinancing and Recalculation Act (H.R. 4001), which allows for refinancing of student debt and for borrowing limits up to the cost of attendance for medical and dental students and residents.


AAOPAC.jpgFrom left to right: Dr. Andrew Grillo, Dr. Austin Foster, Dr. Spencer Pope, Dr. Aron Dellinger, Dr. Pranav Patel, Dr. Ben Youel.


















Ryan Frost

Ryan Frost's Commencement Speech, May 25, 2018

Faculty, staff, guests, and fellow students (especially you, Ian) – thank you for being here today. I would be remiss if I didn’t start out by thanking all of the wonderful people who make the University of Iowa College of Dentistry the place that it is. It truly is the people who make it special. To the faculty and staff here today, on behalf of the Class of 2018, thank you for helping us grow as students, clinicians, and people. You are the reason that we can be proud to say that we graduated from Iowa.

May 25th, 2018. We’ve been waiting a long time to say it: “mama, we made it.”

When we started dental school four years ago, I knew one person in our class- Will Hansen. Well, I had also seen Andy Richter and his brothers around Iowa City – their hair really stood up to me…er, stood out to me. I always thought that they looked like they belonged in a boy band. I never would’ve guessed that they’d actually start producing music, but here we are. I did know Will Hansen though, and I want to congratulate Will on winning the Curtis Iberg Award for the cleanest dental unit. I’d love to explain to you all how deserving Will is of that award, but that would take 30 minutes and 50 Optim wipes, and ain’t no one got time for that.

I remember walking into the College of Dentistry for a week long freshman orientation four years ago. As embarrassing as it is to admit now, my thinking at the time was this – make a friend or two, study hard, get in, get that DDS, and get out. I never planned to make many friends. And then I met you guys. This is a special group. As Michelle put it in our senior class video, the days dragged on, but the years flew by. We have been through so much together, and I am so proud of what we have accomplished. We have worked hard and twerked hard. Yes, we do have a class twerker. Mark, some would say that we have already seen way, way, way too much. But keep doing your thing and honing your skills, man. We will set aside some time and a wall at future reunions for you. But seriously, I can confidently say that I have smiled and laughed more over the past four years than I have at any other point in my life and that is thanks to you guys.

To the parents and family members here today, thank you and congratulations. Our victory today is your victory. You’ve been along for the ride, and we would not have finished the journey without the upbringing, loans, love, cash, support, and food that each of you have given us over the past four years.

At one point or another, each of us decided that we wanted to become a dentist. As we prepared for our dental school interviews, there was one question we had to have down pat. “Why do you want to be a dentist?” We sat in those interviews and we gave our answers. Without a doubt, each of us mentioned that we wanted to help people. Now, we didn’t say that we wanted to help only the people who have money or the people who could also help us. We just said we wanted to help people. We have been working towards this day since we decided that we wanted to become dentists. We now have our platform. Dentistry is our platform to help and to serve others.

There are people who need our help. As many of you know, with the 4th year of dental school comes the stress of taking boards. As part of the screening process to find patients who met the exact – and I do mean exact – criteria to qualify to be our board patients, we met many individuals interested in receiving dental care (and maybe one who just wanted to score a date with Megan Timm). Their stories were proof that, while even in a community saturated with dentists, many are still unable to access care. Along the way, we met people who had lost their dental insurance with the death of a spouse. There was an individual who spent the day in the hospital, and rushed over to us to have his teeth checked upon being released. There was a father who was spending time at the Stead Family Children’s Hospital while his newborn was receiving care. Discouraged that he was unable to find a provider who would accept his own dental insurance, he left the Children’s Hospital and came to our screening. Others explained their situations, and pleaded with us to choose them.

While today is a big day, know that it is just the day that your window of opportunity opened. Don’t let just becoming a dentist be the best thing you ever do. My grandpa was a dentist and passed away while I was in grade school. Shortly thereafter, a former patient of his told me, “I will always remember and appreciate your grandpa, because when I was really in need and had no way to pay him back, he cared for me anyways.”

So, no longer are we future doctor Cheruvillil, future Dr. Mikesell, or future Dr. Do. Today, the stage is ours and the responsibility becomes ours. As of today, we are the ones who truly can help others. With four years of TAM approved evidence, I can say, with confidence, that I cannot think of a better group to make change and help others than the 80 new doctors alongside me today. Thank you.

Chuck McBrearty

Chuck McBrearty selected as College of Dentistry Ambassador

For nearly 11 years, Chuck McBrearty has ensured that the College of Dentistry’s website and technology run smoothly and efficiently. As the Director of Dental Technology and Media Services, he leads a talented and skilled team that supports the needs of faculty, staff, patients, and visitors. His department handles accounts and passwords, application and software support, classroom audio-visual support, educational media and design, maintaining oral health information systems, and so many other IT-related services. Chuck’s true character is probably best seen when faced with an IT emergency. Whether it’s a compromised account from a phishing scam or a server error, Chuck is calm, courteous, and cooperative, and his demeanor helps create a work environment where team members mutually support each other. He also has a well-earned reputation for being a diligent and dedicated employee, often working long hours and weekends. The college is fortunate to have a person of such integrity and dedication.


Several Faculty Members Attended an Evidence-Based Dentistry Workshop

At the American Dental Association Meeting in Chicago (May 16-19), the ADA hosted an evidence-based dentistry workshop "Dentistry for the Modern Age." Drs. Terry Lindquist, Theo Katsaros, Kecia Leary, Jennifer Hartshorn, and Dan Caplan attended the workshop. Support for the attendees was provided by the College of Dentistry through the Finkelstein Teaching Professorship, which is administered by Dr. Teresa Marshall.





















Operative Dentistry Presents Numerous Awards at Its Annual Spring Banquet

Operative Dentistry held their annual Spring Banquet on Tuesday, May 15th at Vesta in Coralville.  A number of students were presented with department awards.


Minger Award.jpgDrs. Hanan Elgendy and Natalia Restrepo-Kennedy presented the Rudy Minger Award to Briar Voy (D1). This award is in memory of Dr. Rudy E. Minger for a deserving first year dental student.






AOD Award.jpgDrs. Erica Teixeira and Justine Kolker presented the Academy of Operative Dentistry Award to John Mettler (D3).  It is awarded to an undergraduate for excellence in operative dentistry.






Johnson Award.jpgDrs. Erica Teixeira and Justine Kolker presented the Wallace W. Johnson Operative Dentistry Award to Elaine Boosalis (D3). It is given in memory of Dr. Wallace Johnson to a student who has demonstrated outstanding character, professional education, and clinical excellence in operative dentistry.






Williamson Award.jpgDrs. Erica Teixeira and Justine Kolker presented the Walter Williamson Award to Grant McCaulley (D3).  In memory of Dr. Williamson, to a deserving dental student who has demonstrated excellence in restorative dentistry.






Caries Management Award.jpgDr. Marcela Hernandez presented a new joint award from Family Dentistry and Operative Dentistry.  The Caries Management Award was given to Tho Do (D4).  This award is presented to a deserving graduating D4 student who has excelled at providing high-quality comprehensive patient centered care management to complex high caries risk patients.






ADM Award.jpg Dr. Steve Armstrong presented the Academy of Dental Materials Award to Elliott Glenn (D4). It is awarded to a dental student who has demonstrated excellence in dental materials.






Svare Predoc Award.jpgDr. Erica Teixeira presented the Carl Svare Predoctoral Research Award to Deborah Yu (D4). This award recognizes a predoctoral student who has conducted outstanding research in the field of dental materials including biomaterials.






Svare Posdoc Award.jpgDr. Erica Teixeira presented the Carl Svare Postdoctoral Research Award to Thomas Grubbs (Third Year Operative Resident).This award recognizes a postdoctoral student who has conducted outstanding research in the field of dental materials including biomaterials.






The department also presented years of service awards. 

Denehy 50 years.jpgCongratulations to Dr. Gerald Denehy for 50 years of teaching in Operative Dentistry!







Meredith 10 years.jpg Congratulations to Dr. Patricia Meredith for 10 years of service in Operative Dentistry!







Finally, operative's three graduating residents were recognized. Congratulations and best wishes to Dr. Tom Grubbs, Dr. Tamer Theodory and Dr. Hamad Algamaiah.


Penni Ryan

Penni Ryan Receives President's Award from the Iowa Dental Association

Penni Ryan was presented with the President's Award on May 4,2018 during the 2018 Annual Session of the Iowa Dental Association.  The award was given in recognition of Penni's dedication and service to the dental profession in Iowa. Penni received her BLS and certificate in Aging Studies from the University of Iowa and also has certificates in Program Planning and Executive Leadership. Penni has served as president of the Omicron Upsilon Kappa (OKU), Mu Chapter dental fraternity; served as secretary and chair for the Association of Continuing Dental Education and as the secretary, chair and councilor for the American Dental Education Association, Section on CE. She has received the Board of Regents Award for Staff Excellence, the Pride of CASE District Silver Award for the Best Capital/Comprehensive Building Campaign, the Special Appreciation Award from the Pierre Fauchard Academy and the Special Recognition Award from the IDA and the 2017 Honorary Recognition of the Year Alumni Award. She has received numerous Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation grants and has worked at the college for 27 years.

Penni Ryan.jpgDr. Richard Bokemper, President of the Iowa Dental Association, presenting Penni Ryan with the President's Award








David Jones

Dr. David Jones Appointed Examiner for the American Board of Orthodontics

Dr. David Jones has been appointed as an examiner for the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO).  This prestigious appointment by the ABO is reserved for elite orthodontists in the United States who have established themselves as leaders in the specialty.

The ABO is the certifying board for the specialty of orthodontics in the United States and is recognized and approved by the Council on Dental Education of the American Dental Association.  It is overseen by a nine-member Board of Directors. The objective of ABO is to elevate the standards of orthodontics through certification and maintenance of the certification process. The goal of certification is ultimately to improve patient care by improving the skill, decision-making, communication, and excellence of orthodontists.


John Wells

Three Adjunct Faculty Members Retire After 60 Years of Collective Service

Drs. Travis Egesdal, John Wells, and William Wever are retiring from teaching courses at the College of Dentistry, and the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry held a retirement reception for these long-standing faculty members. Dr. Wells taught at the college for 32 years, while Dr. Wever taught for 15 years and Dr. Egesdal taught for 13 years. Referring to these three men, Dr. Howard Cowen said, "They have been an invaluable asset to the Geriatric and Special Needs Program and their service has been greatly appreciated!"  



Capitol Hill

IASDA Marches on Capitol Hill

Written by Ryan Mooneyham

​The Iowa chapter of the American Student Dental Association (IASDA) traveled to Washington D.C. from April 8-10 to join with other ASDA chapters to lobby on behalf of dental students across the nation. Student delegates from IASDA spoke with several representatives and both senators from Iowa to support legislation important to the dental profession.

Higher education issues were at the forefront of every meeting on the Hill, and IASDA petitioned for more favorable interest rates, terms, and the preservation of public loan forgiveness programs for Federal Student Loans. We also discussed the opioid epidemic that is currently plaguing the country. In these congressional meetings, IASDA came out strongly in favor of a newly adopted opioid policy from the American Dental Association. This policy, which is the first of its kind among professional organizations supports required continuing education for prescribers, imposes a seven-day limit on the prescription of opioids for the treatment of acute pain, mandates the use of prescription drug monitoring programs, and aims to improve the quality of state prescription drug monitoring programs. Among other issues brought up by IASDA delegates in these meetings was the Action for Dental Health Act, which allows events like the Mission of Mercy and Give Kids a Smile to apply for direct funding from the Federal Government. The passage of this bill would expand the scope of these events, increase their reach, and benefit to underserved communities.

The American Dental Association and State Dental Associations were also present to lobby on behalf of practicing dentists. Members of the Iowa Dental Association were hard at work speaking on issues such as the McCarran-Ferguson Repeal for Health Insurance and lobbying for passage of the Dental and Optometric Care Access Act of 2017 (DOC Access Act). The repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act would allow the Federal Trade Commission to enforce the full range of antitrust laws against improper conduct among health insurance companies, a policy that is currently omitted in the McCarran-Ferguson law. Antitrust laws stimulate lower prices, advance innovation, and allow a greater number of options for consumers. The DOC Access Act would make it unreasonable for dental and vision insurance plans to set fees for service in which the plans have no financial liability. This bill would level the playing field regarding how insurance companies dictate the services covered by dental and optometric professionals, creating more competition among insurance providers for the benefit of both the patient and practitioner.

Student Lobby Day is a unique opportunity that allows students to lend their voices to enact change within the dental profession. IASDA’s trip to Washington D.C. was a humbling but truly rewarding experience. And even though most of the time was dedicated to the legislative issues at hand, IASDA members did get an opportunity to explore the city as we took in the historic sites, witnessed the world-famous Cherry Blossom Festival, and networked with a multitude of dentists and congressional leaders.


Back Row (L-R): Dr. Valerie Peckosh, Dr. Maria Fuller, Dr. Martin Gleason, Dr. John Arend, Thanh Nguyen, Donte Nesbitt, Daniel Malloy, Ryan Mooneyham

Front Row (L-R): Alison Christensen, Elaine Boosalis, Grace Moore, Ruchira Laroia






Jered Vislisel

Vislisel Awarded Grant from the American Association of Endodontics Foundation

Dr. Jered Vislisel, a first-year Endodontics students in the Advanced Program, was awarded an American Association of Endodontics Foundation grant titled Application of Gene-activating BMP-2/FGF-2 Scaffolds for Dental Pulp Capping for the amount of $10,833.49. Dr. Vislisel's mentors are Drs Bruno Das Neves Cavalcanti and Dr. Cristina Vidal (Operative Dentistry). Dr. Aliasger Salem from the College of Pharmacy will also be supporting the research. 

This study will evaluate the efficacy of gene activating scaffolds for direct pulp capping, more specifically for the BMP-2 and FGF-2 genes, which have been demonstrated as being active in pulp repair and dentin bridge formation.  The researchers will use two different approaches: in vitro, on dental pulp stem cell (DPSC) cultures, by evaluating cytotoxicity, mineralization effects (ALP activity and alizarin red staining) and expression of odontogenic markers on DPSCs; and an ex vivo tooth culture model, to assess the reparability induced by these scaffolds when compared to MTA. It is hypothesized that the use of BMP-2/FGF-2 plasmid DNA loaded scaffolds will not induce cytotoxic reaction on DPSC and will promote cell differentiation and formation of mineralized tissue. It is also expected that when applied to an ex vivo tooth culture model, this approach will have results comparable to MTA, currently used as the gold standard for this procedure. 


McQuistan, Michelle

Dr. Michelle McQuistan and Dr. John Warren Installed as Presidents of the the American Association of Public Health Dentistry and the American Board of Dental Public Health

Several students, faculty, and staff gave poster or oral presentations at the National Oral Health Conference in Louisville, KY on April 16-18. During the conference, Dr. Michelle McQuistan and Dr. John Warren were installed as Presidents of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD) and the American Board of Dental Public Health (ABDPH), respectively. 

Because dental public health is a relatively small specialty, being president involves a great deal of planning, preparation, and work. The ABDPH is responsible for developing and administering board examinations for dentists that are specializing in dental public health. Each board member is highly involved in these activities, and Dr. Warren said that it is a great honor to have the position, since he is one of those “entrusted to maintain the standards of the specialty and certify new specialists.”

One of Dr. Warren’s chief goals for his upcoming term as president is to foster a better working relationship between the board of directors and the dental public health program directors. He has a unique role to play, since he is both the president of the board and the program director for dental public health here at Iowa.

Dr. McQuistan and Dr. Warren follow a long tradition of service from UI faculty. Dr. Ray Kuthy and Dr. Steve Levy have also served as ABDPH president. 


From Left to Right: Dean David Johnsen, Dr. Michelle McQuistan, Dr. Susan McKernan, Jennifer Sukalski, Dr. Julie Reynolds, Dr. John Warren, Dr. Matthew Oishi, Dr. Amy Lesch, and Dr. Justine Kolker  






IMG_0918.JPGDr. Michelle McQuistan being installed as president of the AAPHD.









Erica Recker

Student Leaders Recognized at the Dean's Student Leadership Dinner

The Dean's Student Leadership Dinner was held on April 17. Fourth-year dental students Sophia Chen and Erica Recker received Dean's Leadership Awards to recognize their consistent leadership over the four years of their dental education. Students from each class also received awards to honor their contributions.


Erica Recker Dean's Longevity Award Winner 2018.jpg

Fourth-year student Erica Recker and Dean Johnsen.








Dean Johnsen and fourth-year student Sophia Chen







2018 Seniors Dean's Leadership Dinner.jpg

Fourth-year dental students






2018 Juniors Dean's Leadership Dinner.jpg

Third-year dental students






2018 Sophomores Dean's Leadership Dinner.jpgSecond-year dental students






2018 Freshmen Dean's Leadership Dinner.jpgFirst-year dental students







Two College of Dentistry Students Earn Top Honors for Performance in Anatomy and Cell Biology

On April 26, the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology recognized Jacob Dahm and Nadeen Altaie at a reception and award presentation. Dahm received the award for Superior Achievement in Dental Gross Anatomy, and Altaie received the Michael W. Finkelstein Award for Superior Achievement in Dental Histology.



From Left to Right: Dr. Sherry Timmons, Twila Finkelstein, Rachel Finkelstein, Nadeen Altaie, Dr. Darren Hoffmann, Jacob Dahm, Dr. John Engelhardt, and Dean David Johnsen. 







May 5, Zada Cooper Leadership Symposium, IMU, 7:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

May 10, Noon Presentation: Amarpreet Sabharwal, “The Nuts and Bolts of Oral Microbiome,” Galagan A, 12:00–1:00 p.m.

May 14, 7th Annual CoD Talent Show, Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, 6:30 p.m.

May 18, Noon Presentation: Dr. Carlos Garaicoa-Pazmiño, “Practical Guidelines for the diagnosis and prevention of peri-implant diseases,” Galagan A, 12:00–1:00 p.m.

June 8, Conference: Culturally Responsive Health in Iowa 2018, 7:15 a.m. –4:30 p.m.



Pre-Dental Clubs From Across Iowa Visit the College of Dentistry

On Saturday, April 21, 2018, the Student Affairs Office hosted their annual Pre-Dental Club Mixer. Pre-Dental Clubs from across the state of Iowa were invited to attend. The day began with a welcome by Dean Timmons, followed by an admissions overview by Director of Dental Student Admissions Rachael Kowbel, and a student panel by Kali Disterhoft D1, Donte Nesbitt D2, Marisa Heisterkamp D3, Lauren Loney D3, & Lizzie Axell D4.  Specialty overviews were offered by Dr. Frazier in Orthodontics, Dr. Shelby in Periodontics, and Dr. Garcia from Prosthodontics.  Pre-Dental co-advisors Marisa Heisterkamp & Lauren Loney, both D3s, shared a presentation of the remaining specialty areas.  The day concluded with impressions, a building tour by current students, and pulling casts in the Simulation Clinic.  Forty-eight pre-dental students attended from nine institutions across the state of Iowa.  The day was a smashing success thanks to Janet Glenn's assistance with supplies, Sarah Kelly's organization, Marisa Heisterkamp & Lauren Loney's leadership, & current dental student volunteers.













Michele Bills

Michele Bills Appointed as VP for the Iowa Dental Assistant Association

​Michele Bills RDA, CDA, EFDA, was appointed as the vice president for the Iowa Dental Assistant Association during the 100th Anniversary of the Iowa Dental Assistant Association Annual Session held on April 20-21 in Iowa City. Michele has been with the College of Dentistry for almost 3 years and works in the Faculty General Practice, Admissions Clinic, and the Operative Resident Clinic.  She has been an active member of the IDAA for the past 8 years, and she served as the secretary and a delegate for the 2017-2018 term. The 100th Anniversary of the IDAA was well received with over 150 attendees, 9 of which were past presidents. On Saturday, April 21, a gift bag and lunch was provided for attendees as they earned continuing education hours covering topics such as whitening, jurisprudence, bonding, and radiology.  Dental assisting students from all across the state presented table clinics on "100 years of dental assisting: overcoming challenges year by year."  Please mark your calendars for the 101st IDAA Annual Session that is tentatively scheduled for April 26-27, 2019. 


Many of our other dental assistants also attended the conference.
Front Row: Jaimie Kleppe, Jenny Cartagena, Nichole Rehm
Back Row: Kenzie Morris, Tina Ball, Kyleigh Geguzis, Sarah Thomann






Midwest Regional Dental Students' Research Conference

Dental Students Attend Student Research Conference in Chicago

On April 14, seven UI dental students joined dental students from other colleges of dentistry to present and discuss their research at the Midwest Regional Dental Students' Research Conference at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The UI College of Dentistry has a long tradition of encouraging research among our dental students. First-year dental students take a research course, and many of those students take advantage of the Student Research Program. The program was established in 1984 with the aim of helping students understand the science behind their future work as dentists. As part of the program, students are mentored by faculty members and they will present their research to faculty and students at the UI. The recent student conference was an opportunity for students to present their work to the faculty and students of other institutions. 

Third-year dental student Leah Barshinger, who has participated in the program for three years, said, "Attending regional conferences is a great way to interact with students and faculty from other dental schools. I came home from this conference with a new appreciation for the research opportunities available at Iowa, especially for predoctoral students."

Fourth-year dental student Paula Gomez-Hernandez added, "Attending the Midwest regional conference was a valuable experience  because we had the opportunity to interact with students from different dental schools. It was interesting to share our school experiences as well as talk about what research is like at where we are from and about our different research projects."

The UI students who attended were Leah Barshinger, Colby Beck, Josh Colvin, Paula Gomez-Hernandez, Amanda Phan, Lydia Rodriguez, and Andrew Welling. Dr. Satheesh Elangovan and Dr. Teresa Marshall, the UI directors of the student research program, also attended the conference. 


The image shows all the student participants at the conference along with several faculty.






From Left to Right: Dr. Teresa Marshall, Josh Colvin, Leah Barshinger, Paula Gomez-Hernandez, Colby Beck, Andrew Welling, Amanda Phan, Lydia Rodriquez, Dr. Satheesh Elangovan.






May 2, Noon Seminar: Dr. Shlomo Zusman, Galagan 14C, 12:00–1:00 p.m.

May 3, Hawkeye Lunch and Learn: Art of Colloboration, IMU, 12:00–1:00 p.m.

May 5, Zada Cooper Leadership Symposium, IMU, 7:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

May 10, Noon Presentation: Amarpreet Sabharwal, Galagan A, 12:00–1:00 p.m.

May 14, 7th Annual College of Dentistry Talent Show; **Deadline for acts April 22**


Capitol Hill

The College Takes Research Advocacy to Washington D.C.


As state and federal government agencies seek to make budget cuts, it has become even more important for institutions of higher education to explain the crucial role of scientific research for our communities. On February 27, three representatives of the College of Dentistry— Matthew Oishi, Stacey Howes, and Dean David Johnsen—were doing this important work as they took part in the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

Advocacy day is an annual event where representatives recommend increased support for dental, oral health, and craniofacial research. More particularly, Oishi and Howes were advocating for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). This funding has been crucial to the on-going research projects at the college and to Iowa more generally. 

Both Oishi, a second-year resident in dental public health, and Howes, a fourth-year dental student, have served as Vice President of the AADR’s National Student Research Group (NSRG)—a student-run organization that aims to encourage dental research as part of dental education.

The University of Iowa College of Dentistry has a long history of encouraging and supporting student research as part of its research mission. Many students in the college’s Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) program conduct research, and their ability to understand, evaluate, and conduct their own research helps ensure that new generations of dentists are able to learn, grow, and develop as dentists long after they have left dental school—taking the very best research and applying it on behalf of their patients.

Howes’ experience conducting research at the college has been formative for her, and she is a passionate advocate for how that research can benefit the larger community. “We can already see the benefits of using silver diamine fluoride because of research, and we have been promoting the proper use of opioids within the dental profession since at least the 1980s under the leadership of Dr. Baker and Dr.  Marek,” said Howes.

She indicated that the college’s commitment to student research sets the University of Iowa apart from other dental colleges. “With every new development , we are taught to ask, ‘Is it true?’, ‘Does it make sense?’, and ‘Does it matter?’,” Howes said. Students are taught how to both rigorously identify and understand quality research and apply that research in a clinical setting. “In a clinical setting, you have to know what to do and why you do it. It needs to be both statistically significant and clinically significant. That’s what research does for you,” Howes said.  

Although Howes primarily emphasized the translational and clinical applications of research, she was equally passionate about basic science research. “Basic science and clinical trials go hand in hand. Without basic science , dentistry won’t be able to develop.” Changes in the basic sciences today will build a bridge to future translational and clinical research. Recognizing these trends are vital for oral health care professionals. Without a strong commitment to research, Howes said, “You’ll find dentists who are doing the exact same procedures that they learned 50 years ago in dental school.” The state of Iowa has already benefitted greatly from the college’s commitment to student research as nearly 80% of Iowa dentists earned their degree at the University of Iowa.

Oishi, who earned his Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) from the University of Pennsylvania, has been impressed by how the College of Dentistry values research as part of quality patient care, but he was also worried about the long-term implications of previous reductions in research funding for the NIH and potential future cuts. “We are really coming to a watershed moment with regard to global competitiveness in science and technology R&D. We are already starting to see the effects of brain drain where researchers are seeing better opportunities and more funding in other countries,” said Oishi.

Oishi and Howes are excited about opportunities to continue their advocacy. The local student research group here at the college plans to coordinate with another student research group in Wisconsin, and Howes said that they are looking for a new first- or second-year dental student to become active in the AADR’s National Student Research Group. If you are a first- or second-year student and you would like to hear more, please reach out to Howes or Oishi!


Steven Fletcher

Dr. Steven Fletcher Appointed Examiner for the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Dr. Steven L. Fletcher has been appointed as an examiner for the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (ABOMS).  This prestigious appointment by the ABOMS is reserved for elite surgeons in the United States who have established themselves as leaders in the specialty.

The ABOMS is the certifying board for the specialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery in the United States and is recognized and approved by the Council on Dental Education of the American Dental Association.  It is overseen by an eight-member Board of Directors. The objective of ABOMS is to elevate the standards of oral and maxillofacial surgery through a certification and maintenance of certification process that fosters excellence and encourages learning, thus promoting the delivery of superior health care.

Bruno Cavalcanti

Dr. Bruno Cavalcanti Appointed to AADR Constitution Committee

At the 2018 AADR meeting, Dr. Bruno Cavalcanti was nominated and appointed as a member of the AADR Constitution Committee for a three-year term ending at the completion of the 2021 AADR Annual Meeting. His committee is responsible for reviewing the constitution and bylaws of the AADR, advising the Council regarding essential revisions, and monitoring compliance of the activities of the Division with the Constitution among other responsibilities. Dr. Cavalcanti joins Dean David Johnsen, who serves on the Government Affairs Committee, and Dr. David Drake who serves as treasurer on the AADR Board of Directors.


Azeez Butali

Dr. Azeez Butali Contributes to Newborn Screening Program Resource

Azeez Butali recently wrote about newborn screening procedures and communicating across cultural barriers in a health-care context. The work was part of a larger volume that interviewed a host of experts on the Newborn Screening Program, and it was supported by the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Iowa Newborn Screening Program, the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hopsital, and the University of Iowa State Hygienic Laboratory. In his contribution, Dr. Butali drew from both his scholarly expertise and his family's personal experience with newborn screenings. An excerpt of Dr. Butali's interview is below.

Access to care is as important as information about care. Some families have limited access to care due to socio-economic situtations or location (with little or no means of commuting. Again, regardless of whether the care or treatment is important, the economic situation and cost of treatment will be deciding factors and in most cases jeopardize the chances of the child getting continuous care.

Read Dr. Butali's full contribution here.

Arwa Owais

Delta Dental Awards Dr. Arwa Owais Grant for Dental Student Groups

Delta Dental of Iowa awarded Dr. Arwa Owais an $8,124 grant to help support four dental student organizations. The funds will be used to support the Dental Public Health Club, the Pediatric Dentistry Student Club, the Hispanic Student Dental Association (HSDA), and the Student Research Group. The funds will be used to support on-going efforts of these groups to improve oral health outcomes across Iowa. More specifically, the Dental Public Health Club funds will be used to bring in important scholars in dental public health and related fields, and the Student Research Group will help fund the publication costs of the research day booklet that contains the abstracts and findings of student researchers. The Pediatric Dentistry Student Club and the HSDA both provides service opportunities for their students—the pediatric group provides a dental screening for children in cooperation with the Iowa Children’s Museum, and the HSDA provides oral health screenings and education, and applies fluoride to prevent disease in Hispanic children and adults. The funds from the grant will be used to help fund these student service opportunities.