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Dentistry is just the beginning

The mission of the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine is to provide outstanding programs in oral health education, patient care, research and scholarship, and service that are of value to our constituents. We accomplish this in an environment that fosters collegiality and professionalism that enables a diverse group of students to become competent practitioners of dentistry and contribute to the health and well-being of individuals and communities.

The School of Dental Medicine's core values are: collegiality; a culture of inquiry; diversity; innovation; integrity; and responsible stewardship.


OMMDS' Dr. Pinto Receives National Dental Association Foundation Award

Dr. Andres Pinto‌Dr. Andres Pinto has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 National Dental Association Foundation (NDAF) and Colgate-Palmolive Co. Award for Outstanding Minority Faculty in the category of research. The NDAF, in collaboration with the National Dental Association (NDA) and the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) have awarded these annual honors for the past 18 years. They recognize excellence in the categories of teaching, research, and service within dental education. The award was presented to Dr. Pinto at the National Dental Association’s 102th Annual Convention in Chicago in July. Dr. Pinto has been a tenured faculty member at CWRU since 2013 and led the creation of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences. He is an active member of the staff of CWRU and University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

Late Alumnus Oreste ”Russ” Zanni Leaves $3 million to School of Dental Medicine

Dr. Oreste ”Russ” Zanni‌Four decades after he graduated, Oreste “Russ” Zanni still felt a special tie to Case Western Reserve’s School of Dental Medicine. For one thing, the place provided him a powerful foundation for a flourishing career that spanned treatment, research, and teaching. For another, it remained home to special colleagues and friends, including Nabil Bissada, a fellow alumnus who now leads the school’s periodontics department.

In the summer 2013, Zanni suffered a fatal heart attack while teaching Boston University (BU) dental students. Two years later, Case Western Reserve’s School of Dental Medicine learned that its graduate had dedicated $3 million from his estate to the school. “We are grateful for Dr. Zanni’s vision and commitment to both patients and students and for his alma mater,” President Barbara R. Snyder said. “His gift will allow us to continue to advance periodontal research and teaching.”

“We shared a common love of our specialty,” Bissada said. “Russ was very excited about periodontal research focused on the link between gum disease and other medical conditions.” For example, Bissada’s research has identified links between gum disease and oral cancer, diabetes, prostate issues and even failures of implants for the hip and knee. Zanni’s commitment will support the periodontics department. In recognition of his generosity, the periodontal clinic at the Health Education Campus will bear his name.

Read more here...

Study Finds Dental Implants Result in Better Quality of Life for Osteoporotic Women Than Other Treatment Options

Dr. Leena Palomo‌With age, postmenopausal women with osteoporosis are at greater risk of losing their teeth. But what treatment for tooth loss provides women with the highest degree of satisfaction in their work and social lives? A new study by CWRU School of Dental Medicine researchers suggests dental implants may be the best route to take, according to Leena Palomo, associate professor of periodontics and corresponding author. The research is part of a series of studies analyzing dental outcomes for women with osteoporosis.

In one of the first studies to examine quality of life after treatment to replace missing teeth in osteoporotic women, the researchers surveyed 237 women about their satisfaction with replacement teeth and how it improved their lives at work and in social situations. The 23-question survey rated satisfaction with their work, health, emotional and sexual aspects of their lives.

The women had restoration work done that included implants (64 women), fixed partial denture, which is a false tooth cemented to crowns of two teeth (60), a removal denture, better known as false teeth (47), or had no restoration work done (66). Women with dental implants reported a higher overall satisfaction with their lives, including emotional and sexual areas, while those without restorations scored the lowest in those two areas.

As health professions move to a patient-centered form of delivering dental service, understanding the patient’s outcomes for satisfaction of the treatment’s esthetics is as important as chewing function, said Christine DeBaz, third-year dental student and lead researcher on the project.

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Research Finds that Some Disease-Fighting Cells May Actually Prolong Inflammation

Dr. Pushpa Pandiyan‌‌Researchers have unraveled one of the mysteries of how a small group of immune cells work: That some inflammation-fighting immune cells may actually convert into cells that trigger disease. Their findings, recently reported in the journal Pathogens, could lead to advances in fighting diseases, said the project’s lead researcher Pushpa Pandiyan, an assistant professor at the dental school.

A type of white blood cell, called T-cells, is one of the body’s critical disease fighters. Regulatory immune cells, called “Tregs,” direct T-cells and control unwanted immune reactions that cause inflammation. They are known to produce only anti-inflammatory proteins to keep inflammation caused by disease in check. But using mouse models, the researchers studied how the body fights off a common oral fungus that causes thrush. They found that these harmful invaders activate a mechanism in Tregs that could transform the inflammation-fighting cells into cells that allow the disease to flourish.

During oral thrush, yeast sugars on the surface of the disease-causing fungus act as a binding agent and can activate a small population of Treg cells to make inflammatory proteins themselves. (The researchers are calling this novel subset of malfunctioning cells Treg-17 cells). “An excess of these malfunctioning cells can lead to the inflammatory disease process instead of stopping it,” Pandiyan said.

The findings will help researchers understand the origin of cells they suspect may keep the disease active or, at a minimum, don’t battle inflammation. Pandiyan believes the knowledge could lead to new ways to fight diseases. Future studies will investigate whether these cells are actually perpetrating inflammation.

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CWRU and Cleveland Clinic Collaborate with Microsoft on Mixed-Reality Technology

Student Using HoloLens Technology (Microsoft)‌Microsoft HoloLens is the first fully untethered, see-through holographic computer, enabling high-definition holograms to come to life, seamlessly integrating with physical places, spaces, and things. Holograms mixed with the real world (mixed-reality) will unlock all-new ways to create, communicate, work, and play. CWRU Radiology Professor Mark Griswold spoke at Microsoft’s annual Build conference about how Microsoft’s HoloLens program can transform learning across countless subjects, from art to engineering, but began with a demonstration of a holographic heart. With HoloLens, students can, “see it truly in 3D. You can take parts in and out. You can turn it around. You can see the blood pumping—the entire system.” In other words, it can improve upon existing educational methods, and will do so for CWRU students at the new Health Education Campus.

After deciding to move forward with the new Health Education Campus, Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove approached Microsoft for a collaboration so that the state-of-the-art structure will also have pioneering technology and cutting-edge teaching techniques. Though the program has potential applications for engineering, astronomy, art history, and any number of other programs, the priority is on creating a full digital anatomy curriculum that students will experience at the new Health Education Campus.

Read more and watch the video here and visit hololens.com.

Spring 2015 Magazine

In this issue:

  • Health Education Campus to Change the Face of Dental Education
  • Smithsonian Exhibit Displays Alumnus' Fascinating Research
  • CWRU Surve Finds Dental Anxiety Leads Cause for Moderate Sedation
  • And much more!
Download the PDF here

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More magazines and departmental newsletters are available in the archive.