News 2018

John Warren

Dr. John J. Warren Receives 2018 Collegiate Teaching Award

Aug 17, 2018

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

Aug 10, 2018

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.

Erica Teixeira

Dr. Erica Teixeira and Dr. Marcos Vargas Received a $22,875 Grant from an Industry Partner

Jul 20, 2018

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.” 

Anniversary Grant Recipients

Drs. Kuthy, McKernan, and Reynolds Awarded a Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation Grant to Study Iowa Dentist Workforce

Jul 13, 2018

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.

FDI Group

The World Comes to Iowa

Jun 22, 2018

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.

Vidal, Cristina

Dr. Vidal Receives Grant from Colgate-Palmolive

Jun 15, 2018

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). 

Jeffrey Banas

Dr. Banas and Dr. Drake Awarded an NIH five-year $2.6 million grant

Jun 08, 2018

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.

Both Dr. Banas and Dr. Drake are excited about the opportunity. "Our understanding of the microbial etiology of dental decay continues to evolve," said Banas, "and we believe this study has the potential for adding considerable new insight into how the streptococci make contributions in both positive and negative ways."

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.

Dr. Drake said that he is excited to begin the research part of the project once all the paperwork has been completed.

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

Austin Foster

Dr. Austin Foster Advocates for Orthodontics on Capitol Hill

Jun 01, 2018

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.


















Penni Ryan

Penni Ryan Receives President's Award from the Iowa Dental Association

May 25, 2018

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.


David Jones

Dr. David Jones Appointed Examiner for the American Board of Orthodontics

May 25, 2018

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.

Capitol Hill

IASDA Marches on Capitol Hill

May 18, 2018

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

May 18, 2018

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

May 11, 2018

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. 

Michele Bills

Michele Bills Appointed as VP for the Iowa Dental Assistant Association

Apr 29, 2018

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. 

Capitol Hill

The College Takes Research Advocacy to Washington D.C.

Apr 13, 2018

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

Apr 06, 2018

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

Apr 06, 2018

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

Apr 06, 2018

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

Apr 06, 2018

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.

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Make your ONE DAY FOR IOWA for the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics

Feb 21, 2018

On Wednesday, April 4, Hawkeyes everywhere will have the opportunity to make a difference by taking part in One Day for Iowa, the University of Iowa’s 24-hour giving day. Gifts made during One Day for Iowa will go further through challenge matches and friendly competitions, which means that your support may have an even greater impact on Iowa’s students, faculty, and staff.

Nate Kaeding (04BA, 15MBA) is ready to make a difference. “I am proud to have made the first gift during the inaugural One Day for Iowa, and I’m going to try and do it again!” says Kaeding. “I challenge all UI alumni and friends to give back on April 4.”

We hope you will donate online at on April 4 and show the true power of our generous Hawkeye community.