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Annual celebration of research crowned by presentation of postgraduate awards

Thursday 8 September 2022 12:04pm

We thank everyone who joined us for SJWRI Research Day 2022, the Faculty of Dentistry's annual celebration of the research achievements of its staff and postgraduate students.


Taking place on Thursday 8 September in the Walsh building seminar rooms, SJWRI Research Day opened with a keynote address from 2022 International Association for Dental Research Distinguished Scientist Award recipient Professor Richard Cannon, on 'Oral fungal infections – the benefit of sticking around'.

Professor Cannon's keynote led into a featured session on Dentistry in life and death, touching on the intersections of dentistry research with human growth and development, anthropology, forensic science and kaupapa Māori research.

The programme featured sessions themed around the latest research of our staff and students, including New materials, technologies and therapeutics, Oral health in Aotearoa, and Evaluating our teaching, learning and practice

The meeting was livestreamed as a Zoom webinar, enabling participants to watch live and contribute questions for the presenters.

Programme and Abstract book for Research Day 2022

Postgraduate presentation awards

Each year at Research Day, the best oral research presentations from our final-year doctoral candidates are marked with awards celebrating their excellence in research and communication. Congratulations to the following students on receiving awards.

PhD presentation awards

Prize PhD candidate Presentation title Primary supervisor
1st Shelly Arora Evaluation of IL-23 inhibitor as a pulp immunomodulating agent: an in vitro and in vivo study A/Prof Haizal Hussaini
2nd Stephanie Töpfer Heterologous expression of Candida auris drug targets and efflux pumps in Saccharomyces cerevisiae A/Prof Brian Monk
3rd Dina Abdelmoneim In vitro and in vivo investigation of antibacterial bone regenerative scaffolds Prof Warwick Duncan

This year's winner, Shelly Arora, is completing her PhD under the supervision of Associate Professor Haizal Hussaini, Professor Alison Rich and Dr Benedict Seo of our Oral Molecular and Immunopathology research programme. Shelly's PhD research focuses on a potential new approach for treating dental pulp inflammation, by blocking the effects of specific interleukins. Shelly found that inhibition of interleukin-23 (IL-23) has the potential to modulate inflammation and promote mineralization.

Also presented at Research Day was the award for the Colgate IADR NZ Senior Poster Competition, which was made to PhD student Chitra Krishnan.

DClinDent presentation awards

Prize DClinDent candidate Clinical discipline Presentation title Primary supervisor
1st Nicholas Pittar Orthodontics The effect of clear aligners on masticatory muscle activity in adults with and without high oral parafunction Prof Mauro Farella
2nd Jesslyn Praganta Oral Surgery Effects of Advanced Platelet-Rich Fibrin (A-PRF) on short-term third molar surgery outcomes: a single-blinded randomised controlled trial A/Prof Harsha De Silva
3rd Sherry Lee Orthodontics Patients’ experiences with orthodontic treatment through traditional fixed appliances, clear aligners and direct-to-consumer clear aligners: a qualitative study Dr Fiona Firth

Nick Pittar is completing his DClinDent in Orthodontics, under the supervision of Prof Mauro Farella, the leader of our Craniofacial Research research programme. Nick's research looks at investigating the short-term effect of passive clear aligners (PCAs) on masticatory muscle activity (MMA), occlusal discomfort, and temporomandibular disorder symptoms in adults with high or low levels of self-reported oral parafunction. He found that PCAs were associated with a decrease in MMA in all participants, and that people with high self-reported oral parafunction are more hypervigilant and reported greater discomfort when wearing PCAs than those with low self-reported oral parafunction.

Congratulations to all recipients of these awards, and thanks to all who helped make SJWRI Research Day 2022 such a success. Research Day will return in 2023. For more information, please keep an eye on the SJWRI website, the Research Day website or our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.

Research Day awardees 650pxResearch Day postgraduate presentation awardees (L-R): Chitra Krishnan, Shelly Arora, Dina Abdelmoneim, Stephanie Töpfer, Sherry Lee, Jesslyn Praganta and Nick Pittar,