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News Briefs

For immediate use

July 25, 2006 -- No. 348


Aspiring scientists to present work
at free forum Thursday (July 27)

The results of 10 weeks of scientific research by undergraduates from across North Carolina and beyond will be showcased from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday (July 27) at UNC. The free, public event will be in the atrium of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center on Manning Drive.

The 13 minority students who participated will be available to give detailed presentations on their work and answer questions. All took part in this year's Partnership for Minority Advancement in the Biomolecular Sciences Summer Research Program at UNC.

The program, supported by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, seeks to build a community of scholars who will go on to pursue graduate degrees and ultimately, careers in science.

The partnership is made up of scientists and educators from UNC and seven of North Carolina's historically minority universities. These scholars collaborate to ensure equal access to knowledge and opportunity in order to increase the number and diversity of students pursuing and attaining careers in science.

During this year's summer program, each student was paired with a research mentor from a diverse selection of UNC departments.

Sunjay Barton, a rising sophomore at Swarthmore College, was mentored by Dr. Feng Ding and Dr. Nikolay Dokholyan in the biochemistry and biophysics department.

"PMABS, by not requiring extensive prior research experience, has allowed me to gain a crucial foothold on a career path in science," Barton said. "I now have an ongoing research project, a mentor with connections to other labs and a group of friends on a similar track."

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Dentistry's Paquette named fellow
of national leadership program

Dr. David W. Paquette, associate professor and graduate program director in the UNC School of Dentistry's department of periodontology, has been named a fellow of the Leadership Institute of the American Dental Education Association.

The yearlong program selects promising faculty members at academic dental institutions and guides them through intensive development in leadership and organization theory, higher education management, team and network building and other aspects of personal and professional growth.

During the year, fellows conduct interviews and participate in activities at their home institutions, where they are mentored by their deans and other academic leaders. The fellows gather four times for group learning activities. Working in teams, they also conduct a literature review of an issue important to dental education and write a position paper for publication. After completing the program, fellows continue their networking and learning activities.

Paquette has been on the dentistry faculty since 1994. His major research interests include the evaluation of novel interventions for periodontal diseases, design and statistical considerations for clinical trials and the interplay between periodontal inflammation and systemic conditions.

He chairs the Organization of Postdoctoral Directors and the American Academy of Periodontology's Subcommittee on Research Submissions.


Dental faculty honored for study of link
between periodontal, systemic health

Four UNC School of Dentistry faculty members recently received the 2006 Sunstar Award for most outstanding paper on the relationship between periodontal disease and systemic conditions - those that affect the entire body.

The Sunstar Award screening committee selected "Relationship of Periodontal Disease and Tooth Loss to Prevalence of Coronary Heart Disease," published in the June 2004 issue of the Journal of Periodontology, for first prize. The study's findings suggested that tooth loss and periodontal disease are associated with coronary heart disease only when both conditions are present.

Dr. John R. Elter, adjunct assistant professor of dental ecology, was the principal author. He also is an adjunct assistant professor of health policy and administration in the UNC School of Public Health and director of surveys for the Veterans Health Administration's Office of Quality and Performance.

Co-authors, all in the dental school, were Dr. Catherine M.E. Champagne, research assistant professor of periodontology; Dr. Steven Offenbacher, OraPharma distinguished professor of periodontal medicine; and Dr. James D. Beck, Kenan professor of dental ecology. Offenbacher and Beck co-direct the school's Center for Oral and Systemic Diseases.

Elter accepted the award during the recent Europerio 5 Congress in Madrid, Spain, organized by the European Federation of Periodontology and the Spanish Society of Periodontology and Osteointegration.

The Sunstar Foundation for Oral Health Promotion sponsored the award in collaboration with the Journal of Periodontology, the Journal of Clinical Periodontology and the Journal of Periodontal Research. Co-sponsors are Sunstar Inc., a company that manufactures and retails oral care products such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, and Sunstar Butler, Sunstar Inc.'s U.S. subsidiary.

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UNC Partnership for Minority Advancement in the Biomolecular Sciences contact: Dr. Brian Rybarczyk, (919) 843-9035,
School of Dentistry contact: Deb Saine, (919) 966-2731,