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Masks continue to be strongly encouraged for everyone entering UTHealth Houston School of Dentistry.


Message from Dr. Mary C. Farach-Carson, Associate Dean for Research

Welcome to the 2022 Student Research Showcase. We are delighted to welcome you in person this year. This year marks the 12th year of the showcase, amidst undoubtedly challenging times due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. More than 30 mentors and nearly 50 students will be presenting their exciting research discoveries. Congratulations to all students and mentors for their dedication and resilience that made this an exciting summer research program. Our keynote speaker is alumna Dr. Rena D’Souza, NIH/NIDCR Director, who will present a seminar on “Oral Health in America: Realizing the Promise of Science” as part of the William T. Butler lectureship series. We invite you to participate and enjoy this day where we showcase our recent discoveries.

Message from Dr. Dharini van der Hoeven, Student Research Coordinator

Thank you for supporting our students on this special day. Our students take on the challenge of research in addition to many other responsibilities, and today we recognize and celebrate their contributions to discovery. As with any difficult undertaking, it takes a team effort to be successful, and special thanks and recognition are due to the faculty mentors who volunteer their time and knowledge to support the Summer Research Program. I hope you enjoy this year’s Research Showcase.

William T. Butler Distinguished Lecturer

rena-dsouza.pngDr. Rena D’Souza is the Director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health. She is deeply committed to the organization’s mission — advance fundamental knowledge about dental, oral, and craniofacial health and disease and translate these findings into prevention, early detection, and treatment strategies that improve overall health for all individuals and communities across the lifespan.

As the director of NIDCR, Dr. D’Souza oversees the institute’s annual budget of over $500 million, supporting basic, translational, and clinical research in areas of oral cancer, orofacial pain, tooth decay, periodontal disease, salivary gland dysfunction, and the craniofacial development and the oral complications of systemic diseases.

Prior to becoming NIDCR’s director, Dr. D’Souza served at the University of Utah as Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Education for the Health Sciences. She held the Ole and Marty Jensen endowed chair in the School of Dentistry that she led as inaugural dean. As a clinician-scientist, D’Souza has been strongly committed to discovery and mentoring throughout her academic career. She is past president of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) and the International Association for Dental Research (IADR).

Dr. D’Souza is an internationally recognized researcher and has authored over 150 publications and book chapters in the areas of craniofacial development, matrix biology and tissue regeneration for over 30 years. She is a Fellow of AAAS and also of AADR. She received the 2010 Presidential Award for Research Excellence from the Texas A&M Health Science Center and was inducted into the German National Academy of Sciences in 2012. Columbia University College of Dental Medicine’s awarded Dr. D’Souza the Birnberg Research Medal in 2016. She also received the IADR Distinguished Scientist Award in Pulp Biology Research in 2002 and the Irwin D. Mandel Distinguished National Mentoring Award in 2017.

Dr. D’Souza is active on several trans-NIH committees and maintains an active research laboratory in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), NIH.

Location: Denton A. Cooley, MD and Ralph C. Cooley, DDS University Life Center


12:00 - 12:30 PM Lunch
12:30 – 2:00 PM Student Poster Presentations

------Welcome & Opening remarks------

2:00 – 3:15 PM Student Oral Presentations
3:20 – 3:25 PM Introduction to William T. Butler Distinguished Lecture
3:30 – 4:20 PM Keynote lecture by Rena D’Souza, DDS, MS, PhD “Oral Health in America: Realizing the Promise of Science”
4:30 – 5:00 PM Awards Ceremony

------Closing remarks------

5:00 – 6:00 PM Reception

Student Showcase Abstracts