Joshua Gremillion with Dentsply (L) presented the Table Clinic Competition’s first place award to SIU SDM second year student Coleman Choate (middle), with Dean Bruce Rotter, DMD, (R) standing alongside.

ALTON - Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine (SIU SDM) Research Day keynote speaker Parish P. Sedghizadeh, DDS, MS, QME, shared his outward passion for dentistry and excitement for research with a room full of faculty, staff and students on Tuesday, April 10. He presented on biofilm microbiology, biofilm-mediated diseases and biofilm-related problems.

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“Right now, we believe that over 90 percent of infectious diseases treated in the developing world are biofilm-mediated diseases, just like plaque that we’re treating all the time, but also throughout the body,” Sedghizadeh explained. “I would argue that everything we do as dentists is basically treating biofilms.”

A pathologist by training, the scholar is an associate professor of clinical dentistry, the director of the University of Southern California Center for Biofilms, the section chair for Diagnostic Sciences, and the program director for the Advanced Education Program in Oral Pathology and Radiology.

“This year’s speaker provided insight into how research works beyond the lab—the transformation of simple ideas into clinical reality through creative and collaborative partnerships,” said Anita Joy, BDS, PhD, associate professor and director of the SIU SDM Office of Research. “Often, students are overwhelmed by the idea of getting involved with research activities, but I remind them that research drives dentistry. Researchers may be in the background, but their ideas and hard work are what eventually revolutionize clinical practice.”

While his wealth of knowledge was demonstrated throughout his presentation, Sedghizadeh hoped that his audience to leave invigorated and impassioned about research, even if they could not recite every fact he offered about science or methodology.

“I’ve never lost my passion for wanting to figure out diseases and solve problems,” he said. “As a clinician-scientist, I’m always connected to the human condition, and research helps us make sick people better.”

This constant pursuit of dentistry advancement aligns with SIU SDM Dean Bruce Rotter’s, DMD, commitment to student and faculty research.

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“Our profession is constantly improving treatment alternatives and introducing new and better options,” Rotter said. “The dental practitioner must often make choices regarding which are the best procedures and materials to treat their patients. Research forms the basis for these decisions.”

“At the School of Dental Medicine, we want our students to have a functional understanding of basic and translational research, so they have the ability to make informed decisions as practitioners,” he added.

Following Sedghizadeh’s keynote speech, SIU SDM students and faculty presented their research projects during a poster exhibit.

Second year student Coleman Choate, of Pinckneyville, was awarded first place in the School’s Table Clinic Competition for his research entitled, “Comparison of a New Generation Glass Ionomer Hybrid Restorative System (EQUIA Forte) with a Previous Generation Material.”

“My undergraduate research opportunities at SIUE sparked my continued interest in research at the SIU School of Dental Medicine,” Choate said. “I’m thankful for Dean Rotter’s devotion to the students here and the School’s dedication to valuable research opportunities. Continuing education outside of the clinic and the classroom gives us different insights to the field of dentistry.”

“Companies are advertising the strength of certain dentistry materials, and my research sought to accurately test those claims to ensure we’re using high-quality dental supplies in our work,” he added.

Dentsply Sirona sponsored the first place award, which provides the recipient the opportunity to present their work at the Annual American Association for Dental Research (AADR) meeting. Choate will present in Vancouver in June 2019.

The SIU School of Dental Medicine students manage approximately 35,000 patient visits each year at its patient clinics in Alton and East St. Louis. In addition, students offer oral health treatment, screenings and education to more than 10,000 people annually through a wide variety of off-campus community outreach events. These opportunities provide students the training they need to graduate and become highly skilled dentists. The School of Dental Medicine is a vital oral health care provider for residents of southern and central Illinois, and the St. Louis metropolitan region.

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