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The Catalyst

Dental researchers shine at annual AADR meeting

By Cindy Abole
Public Relations

Craniofacial Biology’s Dr. Michael Valerio won first place in the AADR’s Hatton Awards. photo provided

An MUSC postdoctoral fellow and a dental scientist training program student won top honors at the American Association for Dental Research annual meeting and exhibition held in Charlotte, March 19.

Michael Valerio, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow with the Department of Craniofacial Biology–Oral Health, won first place (post-doc category) in the AADR’s Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Edward H.  Hatton Awards competition. Since 2011, Valerio has worked in the lab of Associate Dean for Research Keith Kirkwood, DDS, Ph.D., DSTP, program director at the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine.

Valerio was recognized for his research and explanation of the molecular underpinnings of inflammatory–driven bone loss. More specifically, he explored genetic manipulation and showed how specific cell types from blood and bone marrow can give rise to bone resorbing osteoclasts that may drive periodontal disease. Valerio’s research also won him first place in the 2014 Dental Research Day postdoc poster competition.

“There were many great competitors whose research is top–notch,” said Valerio. “To be chosen from among them is a great honor. I also want to thank Dr. Kirkwood for his mentorship and guidance during my time working as a postdoc in his lab.”

The Hatton award was created for junior investigators (junior, senior and post–doctoral) who demonstrate experience and show potential for a career in oral health research. The competition is open to AADR members.

Bethany Herbert, a fourth–year dual–degree DSTP student at the JBE College of Dental Medicine, was among 20 national dental research students to be selected to receive an AADR Student Research Fellowship Award. Herbert, who is originally from Annapolis, MD., credits the directors of the DSTP, Kirkwood and Michael Kern, Ph.D., for coordinating many mentoring and research training opportunities for DMD/Ph.D. program students at MUSC. Herbert, who also works in Kirkwood’s lab, was recognized for her research on bone loss and its association with periodontal disease. Herbert’s proposal is supported by the American Academy of Periodontology.

“It is through good mentorship, training, opportunities to attend dental research meetings and a motivation that’s allowed me to choose dental research as a career and win this fellowship,” said Herbert.
“This is great recognition for MUSC at the national level, and it highlights the efforts of the Center for Oral Health Research and the Training in Craniofacial and Oral Health Research program,” said Kirkwood.

April 3, 2014

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