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Leap day may be a once-in-every-four-year occasion, but it became a day of excellence and scholarship on display when the UAB School of Dentistry held its 19th Scholars Symposium on February 29, 2024.

Sara Edmonds standing next to her poster that placed 2nd in the Pre Doctoral Basic Sciences categoryThe annual event showcases oral health research completed by students – dental and graduate students, residents, postdoctoral fellows, and college students – during their enrollment at UAB. This year’s symposium saw a record high number of submissions (111), a nearly 40 percent increase over the 2023 event.

Based on their posters, 2024 first place award winners were David Cruz Walma in predoctoral basic science, Logan Stone in predoctoral clinical science, Hani Ali for postdoctoral basic science, Viet Vo for postdoctoral clinical science, and Jancy Pena and Jai Shah for scholarly activity. Several students will present their research at the 2024 IADR/AADOCR/CADR Conference in New Orleans and Joshua Holsey will represent UAB at the Hinman Student Research Symposium held in October in Memphis.

In addition to the student presentations and awards ceremony, Scholars Symposium features invited lectures surrounding an annual theme. Several of the school’s five clusters of scientific expertise intersected this year’s focus on head and neck cancer.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30,000 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed yearly with 8,000 deaths annually,” says Amjad Javed, Ph.D., professor and associate dean for research. “So the afternoon talks highlighted how our speakers - two prominent oral and maxillofacial surgeons -- have contributed to head and neck cancer and how science drives innovations.”

Dr. Young and Dr. MorlandtSimon Young, D.D.S., M.D., Ph.D., FACS, delivered a talk entitled "Cancer Immunotherapy: Considerations for Oral Health Care Providers." Young is an associate professor and director of research in the Katz Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Dentistry.

Anthony Morlandt, D.D.S., M.D., served as the faculty speaker, presenting "Dentistry and Oral Cancer: Is it time for a Paradigm shift." Morlandt is the Waite Endowed Professor in the UAB Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery.

Javed credits the GC-CODED sponsorship of this annual gathering in fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and contributing to the advancement of critical knowledge.

Josh Holsey and Dakotah Sauerwald“Scholars Symposium provides an important platform for students to showcase their work and receive feedback,” he says. “We appreciate the exceptional work of everyone who presented their research and engaged in intellectual exchange. Your excellence and impact on oral health is recognized throughout the nation and around the world.”

Javed also expressed his gratitude to those who supported the event. “We deeply appreciate the contributions of so many to the symposium, highlighted by the generous financial support of our sponsors. We also extend kind thanks to the school’s Research Advisory Committee, this year’s judges, and staff volunteers for making Scholars Symposium a success.”

View All 2024 Winners