Exciting work highlighted at Dental School Research Day

15 Oct 2020 | 3 mins

The UWA Dental School Annual Research Day on Friday 28 August gathered students, staff, alumni and industry to highlight the exciting research being undertaken at the School, with a focus on improving dental practice and human health and integrating research into training to enhance the skill development of well-rounded dental practitioners.

Dentistry is often underappreciated within the community as an area for health research, despite oral health being a key indicator of overall health, well-being and quality of life.

Most oral diseases and conditions share modifiable risk factors with the leading non-communicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes) and the 2017 Global Burden of Disease Study estimated that oral diseases affect 3.5 billion people worldwide.

This year’s featured speakers covered key areas such as oral lesions and cancer, innovative dental materials, dental techniques, quality assessment of radiography, dental education and scope of practice, patient satisfaction and more.

Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Professor Jon Watson opened the day with stories of his own experience as a research student and a message about the importance of resilience, collaboration and perseverance.

Later in the day, new Dean and Head of UWA Dental School Professor Hien Ngo inspired the audience to focus on research that makes a difference for patients. He encouraged students and staff to aim to commercialise innovations so that clinical practice can be transformed.

The presentations from the School’s Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) and Doctor of Clinical Dentistry (DClinDent) students, were a highlight of the day. A total of 22 DMD student groups, 6 DClinDent and 4 PhD students presented their research in short six-minute talks.

These sessions emphasised the breadth of research occurring in the School, with representatives from all seven research programs, under the guidance of their supervisors:

  • Biomaterials and Nanodentistry (Dr Amr Fawzy)
  • Craniofacial Biology (Dr Mithran Goonewardene)
  • Oral Imaging (A/Prof Johan Aps)
  • Endodontics (W Prof. Paul Abbott)
  • Periodontics and Implantology (A/Prof Leticia Miranda)
  • Oral Pathology and Medicine (Dr Omar Kujan)
  • Paediatric Oral Health (A/Prof Robert Anthonappa)

The student presentations were of a high standard and generated a wealth of interesting questions, with prizes awarded to the following student presenters.

Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) category


  • 1st place Benjamin Shih & Jainish Patel, supervised by Dr Amr Fawzy. Investigation into the physicochemical properties of 3D-printed denture-base material
  • 2nd place Emma Turner, supervised by Dr Kate Shearston, Dr Simon Fox and Prof Camile Farah. Investigating the proliferative verrucous leukoplakia transcriptome
  • 3rd place Ashleigh Furfaro & Nikki Hutchison, supervised by Prof Linda Slack Smith. Editorial boards in dental journals: Where are the women?

Doctor of Clinical Dentistry (DClinDent)/PhD category


  • 1st place Dr Sultan Aati (PhD student), supervised by Dr Amr Fawzy.  Development of 3D printed resin reinforced with modified ZrO2 nanoparticles for long-term provisional dental restorations
  • 2nd place Dr Raymond Lam (DClinDent student), supervised by Dr Mithran Goonewardene and Dr Steven Naoum. Pulp assessment of healthy and traumatized teeth undergoing conventional and mini implant supported maxillary expansion: A prospective study
  • 3rd place Dr Ravi Teja Chitturi (PhD student), supervised by Dr Omar Kujan, Dr Kate Shearston, Dr Simon Fox and Prof Camile Farah. Development of a novel 3D spheroid model for the investigation of oral carcinogenesis

We wish to congratulate the winners and all the students who presented on the day as the standard was high and our judging panel faced a challenging task.

Although COVID-19 restrictions meant that attendance was strictly limited this year, we hope that more alumni, industry and the wider community will be able to return next year to experience what is always a highlight in the UWA Dental School calendar.

We were particularly honoured to have Clinical A/Prof David Booth in attendance this year, who has made a sustained and important contribution to the training of dental professionals in WA. 

The day would not have been possible without sponsors Southern Implants, Amalgadent Dental Supplies and Colgate Oral Health. Thanks also to Dr Kate Shearston, Dr Omar Kujan and all the staff and students who assisted with making the day a success. We hope to see you in 2021!

Photos from the day

UWA's annual Dental School Research Day 1

UWA's annual Dental School Research Day 2

UWA's annual Dental School Research Day 3

UWA's annual Dental School Research Day 4

UWA's annual Dental School Research Day 5

UWA's annual Dental School Research Day 6

UWA Dental Research Day 7

Media references

Emma Buckley, Marketing Officer, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences 08 6488 4561

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