Tag: VCU School of Dentistry

Julie Coe recognized for outstanding published work

Julie Coe, D.D.S., M.S., M.B.A., with Nadeem Karimbux, D.M.D., M.M.Sc., JDE Editor (left) and Monty MacNeil, D.D.S., M.Dent.Sc., immediate past chair of the ADEA Board of Directors (right).

Media contact: Nan Johnson, director of communications, nljohnson@vcu.edu (804) 828-0324

Julie M. Coe, D.D.S., M.S., M.B.A., assistant professor in the department of general practice, was one of four recipients of the Olav Alvares Award in March at the 2019 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition in Chicago. Dr. Coe was recognized for the article “Impact of Community-Based Clinical Training on Dental Students’ Confidence in Treating Pediatric Patients.”

Each year, to encourage predoctoral and allied dental early career faculty, students, residents and fellows to conduct publishable research and recognize those who have published outstanding work, the Journal of Dental Education (JDE) presents the “Olav Alvares Award for Early Career Scholars Who Published Outstanding Articles in the Journal of Dental Education.

Dr. Olav Alvares served as JDE Editor from 2000–2009. During his time as editor, he was a strong advocate for the publication of articles by early career faculty and students. This mentoring of the next generation of dental educators and professionals led to the creation of the annual award in 2010.

Dental hygiene students show off research skills, bring home 1st place

Media contact: Nan Johnson, director of communications, nljohnson@vcu.edu, (804) 828-0324

VCU School of Dentistry dental hygiene students presented three research posters at the June meeting of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association in Louisville, Kentucky.

Under the faculty advisement of Joan Pellegrini, R.D.H., B.S.D.H, M.S., Ph.D., Cassandra Cooper, Regina Dixon, Helena Nefferdorf, Denise Thieleman and Christina Tulloch, all of the Class of 2020, prepared and presented research related to oral health issues with systemic impacts including oil pulling, the effect of musical instruments, and vaping.

Denise Thieleman and Christina Tulloch received first-place recognition for their work in the student research category.

“It was an unforgettable collaborative experience,” Tulloch says.

Denise Thieleman, left, and Christina Tulloch, right, presented “Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems: vaping away gum tissue” and brought home a 1st place win.
Helena Nefferdorf, left, and Cassandra Cooper, right, presented “Oil Pulling: Fact or Fad?”
Regina Dixon presented “Analysis of Wind Instruments on Orofacial Anatomy: A Review of Literature.

About the School

Founded in 1893, the VCU School of Dentistry educates practitioners to meet the oral health care needs of the communities they serve. The school provides opportunities for selected qualified individuals to study dentistry, advanced dental specialties, and dental hygiene in accordance with the standards established by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. Consistent with the mission of Virginia Commonwealth University, the School of Dentistry’s programs are guided by the education of highly qualified dental professionals, research that advances the understanding of oral health, disease and effective treatment, service to the community and improved oral and health general health of our patients and the general population.

To learn more, please visit dentistry.vcu.edu.

Philips Institute investigator wins Presidential Research Quest Fund award

Media contact: Nan Johnson, director of communications, nljohnson@vcu.edu, (804) 828-0324

Yue Sun

Yue Sun, Ph.D.

Yue Sun, Ph.D., a principal investigator at the Philips Institute for Oral Health Research, has been named a 2019 VCU Presidential Research Quest Fund awardee for his phosphoinositide research.

“This year’s diverse group of 18 faculty represent every VCU academic unit and include assistant, associate and full professors,” says P. Srirama Rao, Ph.D., VCU vice president for research and innovation. “The fund supports faculty research projects across the university and its institutions that specifically align with the goals and key strategies presented in VCU’s Quest 2025: Together We Transform strategic plan. The total amount awarded from the fund of $500,000 will be matched, 60 to 40, by faculty departments and schools.”

Projects range from testing new theories and interventions addressing critical health problems such as breast cancer, leukemia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as societal issues including suicide prevention, housing stability and internet security, Rao explains.

The research interests of the Sun Lab are abnormal signaling transduction in cancer development and targeted therapies to treat cancer as well as the role of phosphoinositide signaling and receptor tyrosine kinases signaling in oral cancer.

A decade of tracking previous awardees, Rao says, shows that they are likely to reach new levels of success. Past awards have collectively generated nearly $50,000,000 in outside funding, a return on investment of nearly 7 to 1. This is in addition to more than 200 published works and a dozen patent applications. “Supporting early-stage projects with great promise is just one tangible way by which VCU promotes a vibrant and diverse research environment.”

About the School

Founded in 1893, the VCU School of Dentistry educates practitioners to meet the oral health care needs of the communities they serve. The school provides opportunities for selected qualified individuals to study dentistry, advanced dental specialties, and dental hygiene in accordance with the standards established by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. Consistent with the mission of Virginia Commonwealth University, the School of Dentistry’s programs are guided by the education of highly qualified dental professionals, research that advances the understanding of oral health, disease and effective treatment, service to the community and improved oral and health general health of our patients and the general population.

To learn more, please visit dentistry.vcu.edu.

New name for Oral Health Promotion

Media contact: Nan Johnson, director of communications, nljohnson@vcu.edu, (804) 828-0324

The School of Dentistry’s Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach is now known as the Department of Dental Public Health and Policy.

The change, effective Aug. 1, 2019, more accurately reflects the department’s activities and developing research focus and highlights the emphasis on oral health policy and research at the community and population level. The change does not involve significant modifications to institutional mission, curricular offerings or budget.

About the School

Founded in 1893, the VCU School of Dentistry educates practitioners to meet the oral health care needs of the communities they serve. The school provides opportunities for selected qualified individuals to study dentistry, advanced dental specialties, and dental hygiene in accordance with the standards established by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. Consistent with the mission of Virginia Commonwealth University, the School of Dentistry’s programs are guided by the education of highly qualified dental professionals, research that advances the understanding of oral health, disease and effective treatment, service to the community and improved oral and health general health of our patients and the general population.

To learn more, please visit dentistry.vcu.edu.

Frank Macrina – a feather in our cap

Frank Macrina, Ph.D.

Professor, researcher, scientist, author, administrator… friend.

Longtime member of the VCU community and founding director of the Philips Institute for Oral and Craniofacial Molecular Biology, now the Philips Institute for Oral Health Research, Francis L. Macrina, Ph.D., received the Presidential Medallion at VCU’s May Commencement exercises. Established in 1984 by the VCU Board of Visitors, the award honors outstanding contributions of members of the university community and recognizes extraordinary achievement in learning and commitment to the mission of VCU.

“Frank Macrina has been a good friend to the School of Dentistry and to me personally as dean,” says David C. Sarrett, D.M.D., M.S.

Now retired, Macrina joined VCU as assistant professor in 1974 and was appointed professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in 1983 and served in that position until 1995. From 1995 to 1997, he served as interim director of the Massey Cancer Center. In 1999, he was designated the Edward Myers Professor in Dentistry in 2000. In 2005, he was appointed vice president for research and innovation and served in that position for more than 13 years.

During his 45-year career, Macrina taught extensively and received multiple VCU awards for excellence in teaching and is the author of a widely used textbook in research ethics, now in its fourth edition. His research was continuously supported by the NIH for 33 years, and included prestigious Research Career Development and MERIT Awards.

“We’re very proud of Frank,” says Sarrett. “From a dental faculty member he rose to direct the research operation of the entire university. It’s a real feather in our cap. He continues to be supportive of the school and its work. We’re very grateful.”

Macrina’s service contributions to his profession and the Commonwealth of Virginia have included multiple terms on NIH study sections and chair of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Board of Scientific Counselors. He served as director of the Virginia Center of Innovative Technology Institute of Biotechnology and a board member of the Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation, and was appointed to multiple advisory boards of the Virginia Bio+Tech Park.

Endodontics graduate program update June 2019

Greetings from the VCU Endodontic Residency Program!

The residents are thriving, the literature reviews are ongoing and life is busy if you have been an endodontic resident over this past year.

Since I last had the opportunity to write we have seen six more months fly by with many highlights to update you about. Looking back as far as November of 2018, the endodontic department once again provided support for the VCU pre-doc trip to Jamaica to provide dental treatment to the Jamaican people.

Dr. Foisy, Myers and Sarnowski in Jamaica in November.

Second year resident Dr. Adam Sarnowski, first year resident Dr. Erik Foisy and I journeyed together to Jamaica where we provided endodontic treatment to 12 patients along with helping with additional extractions and restorative work during our week-long stay. Following these types of international volunteer dental trips, one can’t help but have a renewed appreciation for just what we have in the United States.

The following month, while many faculty, students and residents were enjoying the December holiday break, we actually had two of our residents travel to Israel to spend a week volunteering their time and expertise at a children’s dental clinic.

Drs. Bartling, Holz and Polinsky in Israel.

Second year residents Dr. Lena Holz and Dr. Adam Polinsky were accompanied by one of our VCU part time endodontic faculty Dr. Daniel Bartling on what each of them stated was a very rewarding and amazing experience. Following the holiday break life settled back into a normal routine for us all. In February, the residents and I attended the College of Diplomates Board Review Course down in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where I also had the opportunity to speak on dental trauma and root resorption to this audience.

Springtime at AAE19 in Montreal.

Second year research projects came to closure this spring (to the relief of Adam S., Adam P., Lena and Khalifa) and it was another successful year in this regard. Dr. Sarnowski’s research poster was named the top resident poster presentation at this year’s VCU Research Day and Dr. Polinsky’s poster presentation was acknowledged as a top 10 poster at AAE19 in Montreal. In our opinion, all four of this year’s residents had award-quality studies! Immediately following AAE19 all four residents successfully defended their thesis projects and had their papers accepted into the VCU Scholar Compass library.

Along with travels and meetings all of our residents kept busy in the graduate clinic seeing patients, they helped out teaching in the D2 endodontic pre-clinical skills course and spent a fair share of time in didactic studies of their own. We had residents participate in the first MOM project held at the VCU dental school as well as helping with a continuing education course for general practitioners at VCU sponsored by Dentsply Sirona. But interspersed amongst all of the resident work were department activities geared at some relaxation time together under the direction of our department chair, Dr. Spatafore. It is hard to believe that we will once again be graduating four more residents from this program.

The departure of four residents can only mean one thing – that we will have four new residents entering our program on July 1. We will have a diverse group coming in with a distinctive western U.S. flavor. Let me briefly introduce these four individuals –

Benjamin Brown will be coming to us from the San Diego area as he completes his military obligation with the U.S. Navy. He is a graduate of the UNLV Dental School and was actually a classmate of our first-year resident Erik Foisy.

Jeremy Hargrove will be coming to us from Arizona where he has been in private practice for the past two years. He is a graduate of Midwestern University Dental School in Glendale, Arizona.

Inderpal Sappal will also be traveling from the San Diego area to join our program as he finishes a GPR program there after graduating from the Pacific University Dental School a year ago.

And finally, from Kuwait, Lolya Alyahya,

will enter the program after completing a one-year endodontic internship at VCU. She is a graduate of the Kuwait University Dental School.

As this residency year comes to a close, it once again allows me to pause and reflect on the opportunity I have been given to run and oversee this graduate program. I truly enjoy training and developing future practitioners of our specialty of endodontics. I couldn’t do it without the support of my fellow faculty members along with the many alumni who have provided me with encouragement and friendship as I travel down this path.

Thank you all and I truly look forward to seeing each of you in the future!

Garry Myers


Resident update June 2019

by Dr. Adam Sarnowski, 2nd year endodontics resident

Here at the VCU School of Dentistry, resident life has been a flurry of activity and excitement. In addition to literature, seminars, and patient care, we have been fortunate to participate in a wide variety of educational experiences over the past few months. In February, VCU hosted the annual “Endodontics Thank You CE Day” which included two fantastic lectures by Dr. Sarah Glass (D.D.S. ’14) and Dr. Steven Marinelli.

In April, six of our eight residents were able to attend the AAE annual meeting in Montreal.  It was a great week full of topnotch lectures, friends, and food. Lots and lots of food. The highlight of the trip was Adam Polinsky’s 5th place award for his research poster presentation!

Poster presentation in Montreal. Left to right: residents Adam Polinksy, Lena Holz, Adam Sarnowski and Khalifa Alhaddad.

We returned to Richmond just as VCU hosted the annual “Legacy Day” at the end of April.  Dr. Krell and Dr. Martignoni delivered two excellent presentations on cracked teeth and restoration of endodontically treated teeth. In addition to these CE courses, residents have been exposed to some of the newer innovations in endodontics. Sonendo provided a hands-on course with the GentleWave system, and research is currently being conducted on dynamic navigation access preparations using the Navident system.

First year residents, left to right, Ray Pandez, Sarah Alkanderi, Madison Saunders and Erik Foisy at the UPenn endodontic microsurgery course.

First year residents, Drs. Alkanderi, Foisy, Pandez, and Saunders, recently made the annual trek to Philadelphia for the UPENN micro-surgical endodontic course. They are all eager to start performing surgical procedures on their own in the graduate clinic. Second year residents, Drs. Alhaddad, Holz, Polinsky, and Sarnowski, all successfully defended their thesis and presented their research at the annual VCU Clinic and Research Day in April. They also completed the ABE written boards and are now preparing for the joint mock oral boards in conjunction with the University of Maryland and NPDS.


Looking forward, the second-year resident graduation is just a few short weeks away. This year’s event will be held at the Omni Hotel in downtown Richmond. We look forward to sending off the second-year residents while welcoming all of the new first-year residents.

On behalf of all residents, I would like to personally thank each of those who have gone before us to make this residency program great, both from your examples as ambassadors of VCU in your respective communities, and in your giving back to your Alma Mater.


Your support for us in all of the great experiences we have while learning here in the residency truly makes VCU Dentistry a special place! Thank you.

Garry L. Myers, D.D.S., assistant professor and director of the graduate endodontics program, far right, proudly poses with all endo residents.

Endodontics / radiology / oral pathology faculty update June 2019

Duane R. Schafer, D.D.S., M.S. joins oral pathology department

Dr. Duane R. Schafer joins the faculty at the VCU School of Dentistry after a 30-year career with the United States Navy. He earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from The Ohio State University and completed postgraduate training in Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology at the Naval Postgraduate Dental School in Bethesda, Maryland. Following residency training, Dr. Schafer was chosen to join a distinctive group of non-physicians to complete a Callendar-Binford Fellowship in the Department of Otolaryngic, Head & Neck Pathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.

Dr. Schafer has served as a chairman and residency program director for the Uniformed Service’s Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology training program, in addition to holding the dean position at the Naval Postgraduate School. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, and recently elected to serve as a Director and Secretary-Treasurer for the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.

Dr. Schafer’s major interests are otolaryngic pathology, lesions of odontogenic origin, and forensic dentistry.


Linda W. Baughan, D.D.S., M.Ed. returns to endodontics faculty

Linda Baughan (M.Ed. ‘78/; D.D.S. ‘83; cert ’93/HP; HS ‘00) received her bachelor’s in biology from Christopher Newport College and earned a master’s in education and D.D.S. degree at VCU. She continued her studies and earned graduate certificates VCU in both gerontology and endodontics.

She has been a dental educator since 1987, teaching dental anatomy, operative dentistry, geriatric oral health and endodontics. Dr. Baughan served as full time faculty of VCU School of Dentistry for seventeen years. She has also served as faculty in the Department of Dental Specialties at Mayo Clinic and as part of the inaugural teams of three new dental schools: University of Nevada Las Vegas, Roseman University of Health Sciences and most recently the University of New England.

As a Richmond native, Dr. Baughan is happy to return to family and friends in Virginia, and is excited to rejoin colleagues of the VCU School of Dentistry as adjunct faculty in the Department of Endodontics.


Radiology clinic update

Dr. Aniket Jadhav and family.

With the retirement of Dr. Laurie Carter, who directed the school’s radiology department during her 19 years with the school, Dr. Aniket Jadhav joined staff last spring to fill her large shoes as director of the Oral Radiology Clinic.

Dr. Aniket Jadhav earned his D.D.S. from M.G.V.’s Karmaveer Bhausaheb Hiray Dental College and Hospital in Nashik, India, in 2008, followed by a certificate and master of dental science (MDentSc.) degree in oral and maxillofacial radiology from the University of Connecticut School of Dental medicine in 2013. He served as an assistant professor at the University Of Texas School Of Dentistry at Houston (UTHealth) from 2013 to 2018 where he was actively involved in the radiology imaging center project to provide cone beam CT interpretation and imaging services. He also holds a master’s in health care administration from the University of St. Francis in Illinois.

Dr. Jadhav’s clinical interests include cone beam CT imaging, MRI in dentistry, maxillofacial pathology, radiology information management and clinical technologies. He has authored over 20 peer reviewed research manuscripts and abstracts and has served on master’s thesis committees.

In his new role as Director of Radiology, he is looking forward to serving the VCU School of Dentistry’s imaging needs.

Dr. Jadhav is excited to be part of RVA community and looks forward to exploring Richmond with his wife, Neelam, and his two-year old son, Aayansh.  Apart from radiology, he enjoys traveling, exploring a variety of ethnic food, cricket and Bollywood movies.


Oral Diagnostics Sciences update June 2019

From Dr. Sarah Glass (D.D.S. ’14) comes an update and news report from Oral Diagnostics and Sciences.


Simply click on the link below to read all about it.

VCUBiopsyandClinic June 2019

Endodontics news from Dr. Clara Spatafore June 2019

Dr. Clara Spatafore, department chair

It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again. The pre-doc students have just finished the semester and the 4th year dental students are heading out to residencies, private practice, and various other career choices. Graduation was held on Friday, May 10, and everything went according to plan. We graduated a combined total of over 110 new dentists and dental hygienists. Our residents are done at the end of June but they have a full slate of activities before then. Read about their experiences in news updates from Dr. Garry Myers, our graduate program director, and Dr. Adam Sarnowski, chief resident.

It was great seeing everyone at the AAE meeting in Montreal. VCU had several new diplomates pinned at the Grossman’s ceremony:

  • Husain Karashi,
  • Charlie Beavers,
  • Katie Lee,
  • Nick Schroeder,
  • Dr. Sarah Martinelli

It was a wonderful occasion.

Our annual Legacy Day Continuing Education lecture was held at the end of April with exactly 100 participants in attendance. Dr. Keith Krell, president of American Association of Endodontists was one of the speakers along with Dr. Marco Martignoni an endodontist who practices in Rome, Italy. It was so nice seeing everyone and the program went great. Next year’s program is scheduled for Saturday, April 25, 2020. Dr. Alan Gluskin, who will be AAE president at that time, is confirmed as one of the speakers. Be sure to mark your calendars and try to attend the program. It is wonderful having everyone back at the school, catching up and hearing what everyone is doing these days.

We are planning a VCU Alumni Event in Nashville on Thursday, April 2, 2020, during the AAE annual meeting. The meeting is early this year, so be sure and take a look at the schedule and mark your calendars so you can attend. The program looks great at this point and I know everyone wants to come to Nashville to check out the beautiful city, hear the great music and attend a wonderful educational program.

Plans are moving forward for the school’s new dental clinics to be housed in the VCU Health Adult Outpatient Facility now under construction across the street from the current dental school on 11th and Leigh Streets. The dean and his crew have been working on designs, equipment, and clinic space needs as well as technology and radiographic issues. It is a full-scale undertaking and will be in progress for the next year or so. VCU’s master plan includes redeveloping the MCV Campus and that involves replacing the Wood and Lyons buildings at some point. As of now, the pre-doc and graduate endodontic practices will be housed in the new outpatient facility. Stay up to date by visiting the dean’s YouTube channel.

As always, life moves at a hectic pace here at the school. We have new faculty in oral pathology and radiology and some returning faculty to the endodontics department. We’re glad they’re here and you’ll enjoy getting to know them.

We continue to strive for excellence in the Department of Endodontics; the pre-doc curriculum is reviewed, revised and updated continually, as we work to keep up with current trends in our specialty. The graduate endodontics program achieves greater heights each year and we are proud of our current and past residents. The endodontic faculty works tirelessly on behalf of the students, residents and the dental school. We are lucky to have the support of the administration and grateful for a strong alumni backing. Many thanks to the part time faculty who give their time in the clinics each month. They are a huge help and the residents enjoy working with them, as do the pre-doc students.

Thanks to each of you who donate to the Molar Fund, the Hartwell Fund or the Dodds Endowment.

Funds raised to support the graduate program director as he serves as an AAE officer. Thank you!

During the 2019 Legacy Day event we were able to raise $13,000 to honor our graduate program director’s stint as an officer with the American Association of Endodontists. We still need your support to endow the Hartwell Fund.  If you have not pledged or donated, please do so.

It is always great to hear from alumni. If you are in the Richmond area, please stop by and say hello. If you have any feedback or questions, please drop me an email or give me a call.  We appreciate all that you have done for the residents, the program and the VCU School of Dentistry and hope that we can continue to count on your support.

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