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Small groups of people look at research posters at a Research Day event.

Award winners share passion for dental research

May 29, 2023 — 

Earning the prize for the best basic research poster at the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry’s Research Day for the second year in a row left Md Mahamudul Haque feeling elated.

“Winning this competition has boosted my confidence immensely and inspired me to communicate my impactful research to the scientific community, as well as the general audience,” said Haque, a PhD student in oral biology.

Haque was one of eight graduate students who took part in Research Day, which was held in conjunction with the Manitoba Dental Association’s annual convention at the end of April.

Md Mahamudul Haque stands near his research poster at Research Day event.

Md Mahamudul Haque

Haque’s research examined the interaction between a bacterium named Streptococcus mutans and a fungus called Candida dubliniensis. The bacterium is a major cause of tooth decay and the fungus is present in oral cavities, he explained, adding that his research will be useful for investigating the interaction between the two microorganisms in the formation of dental plaque and the development of cavities.

“It’s time to raise awareness on dental health,” said Haque, whose advisor is Dr. Kangmin Duan, professor of oral biology. “Our research shed light on understanding significant synergistic relationships between mixed species biofilms, which would be beneficial for disease prevention and for overcoming the limitations of present therapeutics.”

Awards for the best clinical posters at Research Day went to two dentists who are prosthodontics residents: Dr. Paul Mikhail and Dr. Ana Schettini.

Mikhail’s poster presented a case in which he treated a patient with a collapsed bite, which had led to a change in bite and facial disharmony caused by lost or worn-down teeth. He gave the patient a new bite using crowns and removable partial dentures.

Dr. Paul Mikhail stands near his research poster at Research Day.

Dr. Paul Mikhail

“I learned new concepts while treating this patient,” said Mikhail, who is also a dental officer with the Canadian Armed Forces. “This case gave me a new set of foundations to treat patients.”

Schettini’s poster explained her treatment of a patient who needed a maxillary obturator, which is a prosthesis that replaces a part of the palate. She created a removable partial obturator made of titanium framework that satisfied the patient’s requirements for function and esthetics.

“Knowing and understanding the materials available and being up to date with the current technology for restorative cases can increase the treatment options and quality of the treatment provided to our patients,” Schettini said.

“The graduate prosthodontics program is doing a phenomenal job of introducing the materials and technologies available to the residents, and this case is a great example of how our patients are getting the benefit of it.”

Dr. Ana Schettini stands next to her research poster at a Research Day event.

Dr. Ana Schettini

Mikhail and Schettini’s advisor is Dr. Igor Pesun, associate professor and director of the graduate prosthodontics program.

Dr. Raj Bhullar, professor and associate dean of research at the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry, said the quality of the projects presented at Research Day was excellent.

“The top presenters incorporated new approaches in dealing with clinical situations and answering basic research questions,” Bhullar said. “The presenters showed great enthusiasm in explaining their research, and that made it hard to pick the winners.”

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